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Nov 26, 2012 08:34 AM

Boiled gingerbread cookie dough

Last night I participated once again in our family tradition of making gingerbread cookie dough with a boiling method. You melt the fats, sugars and spices together, then add just under half of the flour while the mixture is still hot to blanch it. Then you let the mixture cool and knead in the rest of the flour by hand. Hard work!
The only similar recipe I have been able to find online is one by Martha Stewart using the trusty KichenAid.
I have two questions:
1) I know so few people who know this technique. What are other people's experiences with this kind of dough?
2) Does anyone know a tried and true way to banish flour lumps that can form when the flour is added to the hot thick liquid. I know that beating the heck out of it is the main technique, but what about sifting or quantities of each addition or some other trick?
I am hoping that during the dough curing period (put it in the fridge in a plastic bag yesterday, will let the flavours meld for a couple weeks) some of the lumps will be reabsorbed. Hoped my Mom would give me some tricks, but at 86 and doing it just once a year, she can't remember everything.

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  1. i haven't heard of this technique before, but i'm thinking that sifting or whisking the flour to fluff it would help. also pouring it in a thin steady stream, like for gravy, while constantly stirring the butter with your other hand will aid in banishing lumps.

    i really like the idea of adding the spices to hot butter -- to really make the flavors bloom. nice.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Thanks hotoynoodle. I'll have to try the gravy method next time. The hot fat, sugar and mollases mixture is thick like gravy before you even start adding the flour, so beating any lumps is tough.

    2. Does this result in cookies that have a *non* crispy texture? I love gingerbread cookies that have that firm/soft toothsome feel (like stale Peeps) and would like to know more.

      1. I have an old recipe that uses this method, but it is for making gingerbread houses - the dough bakes up very sturdy and crisp. It's also really heavy on the spices, so I think it would need some modifying before it made a good 'eating' dough.
        I haven't noticed an issue with flour lumps, but maybe it's all the kneading it requires to get the flour incorporated - it is a very stiff dough!

        3 Replies
        1. re: tacosandbeer

          tacosandbeer, when you say "sturdy and crisp" I think that crisp isn't really sturdy -- a crisp cookie would break or chip more easily than one that had a little "give" -- moisture -- would you say your recipe is pretty dry/crisp?

          1. re: blue room

            Yeah, I guess crisp doesn't go with sturdy, does it? I'd say dry and sturdy. It is perfect as a building dough, but I have noticed in humid enviroments, it does soften after a week or two. Like I said, it came from a cookbook specifically as a house dough, so I am not sure how it would need to be adjusted to make a good eating cookie.

            1. re: tacosandbeer

              In my family we traditionally only make cookies, no houses, cut into hearts, stars, scalloped squares, circles, deer and men, decorated with sprinkles, dragee, slivered almonds or plain. The resulting cookie is difficult to describe. It's VERY crispy, but also not hard or tough. When you bite into one, the pieces in your mouth break into pleasant buttery shards that resist the teeth but are in no way sharp. Very nice sensation. Also, when I was a kid I loved dipping them into milky tea, and then they turned into lovely creamy cookies when you put them in your mouth.
              We roll ours really thin, about 1/8" or 3 mm, so the counter and rolling pin have to be well-floured.
              Lots of work, but worth it once a year. They also keep very well in an air-tight container for several months. But, as tacosandbeer noted, because they are so dry they do attract moisture and soften if the container is not air tight.