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Monday, December 4, 2017

A Favorite Frugal Holiday Cookie

Our church's coffee hour servers work on a quarterly schedule. Once per quarter we each take a Sunday and prepare coffee, juice, and snacks or treats. My block comes up in December every year. Although this is a very busy month, I am always happy to work coffee hour in December. Making gingerbread men is a favorite holiday activity for me, even when I'm making them by myself.  Yesterday was my Sunday to serve. Saturday I baked the gingerbread men, then early Sunday morning I added the icing trim.

There are a lot of recipes for gingerbread cookies. Some recipes call for eggs, vanilla extract, and two to three times the amount of butter compared with the recipe that I follow. This recipe uses 1/4 cup of butter, no eggs, and no vanilla extract. As long as I have molasses in the pantry, I can always make these cookies. So, once again, I share this very frugal version of gingerbread men. Click here for the recipe.

Gingerbread men are a nostalgic holiday treat for many folks. My own grandmother was not the baking sort of grandma. Yet I still associate these cookies with a grandma's warm and fragrant kitchen on a cold December afternoon. I think several members of my church family must also have pleasant associations with them, as they were gobbled up quickly. Happy holiday baking!


  1. Gingerbread does smell heavenly when it's baking. I wish there was smell-a-vision you could include with your post. :)

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Do you ever briefly microwave an already baked cookie? My daughters like to do this. They tell me that microwaving a gingerbread cookie for a couple of seconds, just before eating, makes them even more gingery. I wish I could turn my computer into a scratch and sniff version for you.

    2. I do microwave cookies sometimes, but I'm not sure I've done gingerbread cookies. I do it because it will make a hard cookie soft. Sometimes I wrap a wet paper towel around them and the cookie is then good as new.

    3. One of my daughters loves to microwave chocolate chip cookies, for fresh-baked from the oven melty, softness.

  2. HI Lili,

    I will be trying this recipe for sure. Egg prices went up drastically over the last two weeks. They are now $1.25 at Aldi where they usually are only .59. All stores are beyond $1.99 per dozen.


    1. I have noticed the price increase with eggs, too, Alice! I was expecting a moderate increase, not the spike we have experienced.

    2. Hi Alice,
      I feel your pain. We are on egg-rations, here. I am hoping to pick up a couple of dozen eggs tomorrow on Senior Day, as I have been down to my last 2 fresh eggs for a week now. I may have some frozen ones, still, and will be scouring the freezer today or tomorrow.
      Anyways, this recipe is wonderful, IMO. With zero eggs, it's easy to halve or quarter the recipe for smaller batches.

  3. What a great post, Lili. I love gingerbread and all spice cookies on their own merits, but they are also so thrifty. (I'm with Live and Learn about the smell-o-vision, though... we need that!)

    I'm not baking this year for a number of reasons, but most years I read a lot of recipes, and am pleasantly surprised to find that there are some delicious baked goods that contain very frugal pantry staples, especially in old cookbooks.

    You know another simple, frugal treat we used to enjoy during the holidays was pie crust scraps baked with a brush of oil or butter and topped with cinnamon sugar. :)

    Have a great week, Lili! Sara

    1. My mom used to make extra pie crust when I was little, just to add cinnamon sugar on top of. Thanks for reminding me of that!

    2. When my kids were little I did the same with pie pastry scraps. I do have some scraps in the freezer right now. I may do this again later in the week, for a quick treat.
      I also save the scraps for topping meat/veggie pies. It seems that I have enough trimmings from making about 3 dessert pies to top 1 savory pie. I just keep all of the scraps in the freezer in a baggie, then thaw and mash together with a sprinkling of water. It seems to work well-enough.

    3. Hi, Kris and Lili!

      Isn't it interesting, with all the fancy, expensive things people do for their children now, when we look back on our own childhoods, a lot of the best memories are simple (and like your post today, Lili) free things, like leftover pie crust?

      Lili, we're not big pie crust folks around here, but I'm glad to find out that you can save scraps in the freezer. What a wonderful tip!!!! :)

      Best to everybody-- Sara

    4. Sara, I think our culture has gotten locked into the belief that spending more means getting more. Sometimes that's true, but sometimes, not. I've asked my kids what they loved about their childhood and one of the things they've said was just having time to play outside, build sandcastles, make forts -- the sort of thing that costs nothing.

      Yeah, the pastry scraps do freeze well. Thaw for an hour, then press together with a sprinkling of water. Because the dough has been previously worked, it isn't as tender of a crust, but my family is fine with it as a topper for a deep-dish meat/veggie pie.

  4. Neat that you don't have to use some things in your recipe. I will try it. But I love my peppakakkor recipe so much.

    1. Oh yum, peppakakkor. I love those. So thin and crispy. Do you make yours with orange zest?


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