Happy Week Before Christmas!!
Now I know that everyone is making gingerbread houses, gingerbread men, ladies and dogs, but how about some stuffed gingerbread cookies?!
Yes. Stuffed I say, and it gets better. How about filling your cookies with lots and lots of caramel? How about some homemade dulce de leche?
Step aside my gingerbread people; you’ve got a new boss in town!
Ever since I was little, my mom would always make absolutely fabulous gingerbread houses, that we would then decorate incredbily hideous—covering them with every color gum drop, candy cane and chocolate—and then eventually give them to the animals a couple of weeks later so that they could, also, get a nice sugar rush. While the stress of building so many houses (now I believe we are at 10 each year!) is rather overwhelming the day before, come Christmas day when it’s time for the, now, Gingerbread House Contest, we all go crazy! One year my brother decorated it completely in cereal squares; my nieces and nephews usually make theirs the most functional; I like to just coat it in spicy cinnamon candy that I’ll later pick at all night as a snack.
The entire thing is a rather fabulous ordeal, and I would never want to give this tradition up for anything! The endless bowls of candy options and both my mom and I hysterical the day before when the roofs keep falling off lead me to keeping these cookies simple—yet packed with a cooked, sugary goodness!
I like to start with a very simple gingerbread cookie dough recipe. There is just the right amount of spiciness in this cookie, not anything too overpowering, so that you can truly taste each and every spice. While I could have coated these in some shiny white icing and glorious decorations, I decided to put that extra sweetness inside of the cookies!
Yes, like actually inside.
As you all know, keeping a jar of easy, homemade dulce de leche sauce in my fridge is as much a staple for me as are butter and eggs. It is oh so quick, and can be used in a multitude of recipes—like my Ginger Apple Cake, or Semifreddo, or even an insanely perfect topping for Apple Crisp!
Anyways, it also bakes just marvelously inside of these gingerbread cookies, adding just enough sweetness without giving anyone a toothache!
Do I sound old or what...
Don’t have dulce de leche? Want to sub caramels instead? Go for it! Homemade or store-bought works just fine—even chocolate fudge can make an excellent filling. Heck, you don’t even have to stuff these cookies, but I know you won’t regret it if you do!
Gingerbread people and houses will forever have a special place in my heart, and my tummy come Christmas night, but these Stuffed Gingerbread Cookies are a new tradition that I’m starting right now!
Butter—8 oz, or 1 C
Brown Sugar—5.5 oz, or ¾ C
Molasses—3.25 oz, or 1/3 C
Vanilla—0.1 oz, or 1 tsp
Flour—18 oz, or 3 2/3 C
Baking Soda—0.25 oz, or 1 ¼ tsp
Salt—0.15 oz, or ½ tsp
Dulce de Leche—1 can, recipe shown here
Cream together the butter and sugar.
Once light and fluffy, add in the molasses.
Add in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.
Sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.
Slowly add in the dry ingredients to your mixer.
Once the dough has formed, wrap it in plastic and allow to chill for about an hour.
When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 350˚ F.
This is when it gets fun!
These cookies are delightful without a filling, but adding a caramel or dulce de leche brings them to a whole different level.
You may use store bought caramels, this dulce de leche recipe here, nutella, whatever your little tummy desires!
To fill the cookies: take two equal sized pieces of cookie dough (1 oz for me!), and roll into balls.
Take one of them and make into a small bowl, this is where you will put your caramel.
Take the second ball and make it flat, this will be a cover for your bowl.
Pinch the sides together to seal in your filling, roll to make a seamless ball.
Do this until you have used up all of the dough—should make around 15-18 cookies depending on what size you decide to make, as well as how much of the dough you eat!
Put your cookies on a pay that has been sprayed with nonstick spray, about 3x3, because the cookies will get rather large.
Bake for 13-15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for just a few minutes before eating for a gooey center.