At our last fulfillment party, we were packaging our Bookroo boxes when my three-year-old found the flyers we were putting in the boxes. For those of you not familiar with our boxes or flyers, we include a flyer that has a write-up sharing interesting details about each book we include. Next to the title of each book, we also have a small picture representing the book. For our Catch that Cookie book, we had a picture of a gingerbread man. When my little boy saw this, he came running over to me, “Mom! Look! They gave us a recipe! It tells us how to make these cookies!”
Rather than disappoint him by explaining to him that it was just a description of the book and not really a recipe, I told him what it said and that we should indeed make cookies. What a great idea!
As we all know, three-year-olds do not forget promises to make cookies. So for the last few weeks, my boy has been asking if we can make our gingerbread man cookies. Since it is the season of gingerbread, I thought we better make time to do the cookies now. (In other words, you can thank him for inspiring this post :) Nothing beats settling in with some freshly-baked gingerbread cookies and warm hot cocoa while reading a book and awaiting the arrival of your next Bookroo box . . . and Christmas of course!
And since I thought many of you might be getting similar requests from your littles for gingerbread houses or cookies, I thought you might appreciate my sharing the delicious recipe I used.
The exciting thing is that the recipe I am going to share is not just any gingerbread cookie recipe; it is from the amazingly talented Tara Teaspoon! She is a gifted food styler, blogger and dear friend of ours from New York City. If you haven’t seen her stuff, you have got to check it out: tarateaspoon.com. Before starting her own company styling food and developing recipes, she worked as the food editor at Martha Stewart, then as the Entertaining Director at Ladies Home Journal. She has been featured on Food Network, KSL, Fox and Friends and the Today Show. (I can tell you she is a lot more polished than I am when she makes guest appearances for the news–many of you will remember what I’m talking about; for those of you who don’t, you can read about what not to say on the news here.)
Okay, back to gingerbread. Here is the link to the gingerbread cookie recipe developed by Tara. As Tara explains, “There are so many gingerbread recipes out there, what makes these perfect? Well I like mine slightly soft, but not too cakey! This simple recipe creates cookies that are soft with just a little crisp edge.”
My boys loved, loved, LOVED rolling the dough and cutting out the gingerbread men. Then we made eyes and buttons with little chocolates.
But making our gingerbread men was only half the fun. Once we popped them in the oven, my three-year old asked, “Do you think they are going to run away?”
For those of you that have read Catch that Cookie from our November Bookroo box, that question probably sounds familiar. Having read the book with my boys countless times already, I suspected they might ask me just such a question. And in preparation, I had worked with my husband to come up with a set of clues that would lead our boys around our home on our own gingerbread man scavenger hunt!
To begin with, while the gingerbread were in the oven I took my boys into their bedroom to get ready for the day. I didn’t set a timer on the oven but just watched the time on my phone. When our cookies were done, I slipped back into the kitchen, turned the oven off, took the cookies from the oven, hid them in the cupboard, and placed the first clue on the empty cookie tray. Then I set a one minute timer on the oven and slipped back to the bedroom. When my boys heard the timer go off, we ran to the kitchen together. Breathlessly my oldest looked in the oven window then excitedly announced, “They ran away! They’re gone!” I opened the oven door and carefully reached for the clue. “Look,” I said, “they’ve left us a clue!” Then I read them the clue:
We see you came lookin,’
But we’re already done cookin,’
We slipped away without a noise.
If you want to find us, look in your _ _ _ _!
My boys don’t quite capture rhymes yet, but with a little prompting I helped them realize the clue led them to their toys :). They ran to their room to look in their toy closet, but they almost left the room empty handed until they finally noticed some chocolates “left behind” by the gingerbread men. There was also another clue:
Playtime was so much fun,
But now we’re back on the run!
Learning lots, come take a look
At the adventures we’ve found in a _ _ _ _!
While we keep a lot of the boys’ books on a bookcase in their room, I suggested they check the pile of holiday books we have on an end table in the front room. Sure enough, there we found another clue:
Because it’s winter out,
We’ve decided our next route.
It’s time to play in the snow,
Then warm up inside with some hot _ _ _ _ _!
My boys are obsessed with hot cocoa. But before we went for the cocoa, we dressed up in our boots and coats and went outside to look for the cookies on the run. While the boys looked around the back yard, I snuck back in, pulled the gingerbread men from their hiding spot in the cupboard, and set them out with some hot cocoa. I joined the boys back outside, but when we couldn’t find them, I suggested we go back inside to see if they were warming up with some hot cocoa. Sure enough, there were those cookies, at the table sleeping on their plates after enjoying some hot cocoa.
Now, up to this point, all of this was planned out and prepared ahead of time. And I thought we were done. But after we drank our cocoa, I was moving on with the day and loaded the boys in the car for a trip to the store. All through the trip they couldn’t stop talking about the gingerbread men and wondering if they would run and hide before we got home! “Ahhh!” I was thinking to myself, listening to them ramble on so excitedly, “what am I going to do?” Well, when we got back home, those gingerbread men had managed to “sneak” back into the cupboard. I got lunch ready while the boys searched the house for them. Once I finally convinced the boys to sit down and eat their lunch, I quickly came up with another clue. As we went for naps, we found a note on the boys’ bed that said:
We fell asleep, hope you don’t mind,
Please don’t wake us, if you’d be so kind.
We need our sleep, and you do too.
When you wake up, we’ll find you!
So my boys willingly went to bed, although the oldest couldn’t get the gingerbread men off of his mind. And those gingerbread men were true to their word. They did find my boys while they slept in their beds, where they left them one last note:
We’ve had lots of fun,
But now we won’t run.
You’ve caught us this time, so we’ll be your snack,
But watch out for next year–we’ll be back!
And just like that, a new family tradition was born :). And boy did we have so much fun with it!
So I hope you enjoy Tara’s delicious gingerbread recipe. I’d love to hear how your cookies turn out, and especially where they hide and play.
P.S. Tara will be doing a Bookroo giveaway, so be sure to follow her on Instagram @tarateaspoon!