after the christmas holiday, i take some time to review everything i prepared and evaluate what worked and what was just average. this christmas cookie was one of the first to leave my christmas cookie plate. my daughter even asked if i had more stored in my cookie tin.
this gnome recipe has been with me for years and does not have an origin noted on the paper. it does give a history of the cookie, with its roots coming from sweden. during christmas season, every home in sweden has at least one gnome for the children. the most likely place that the gnome lives is under the porch. this gnome is said to look after the children and know when they are good or bad. mothers from sweden warn their children that the gnome is watching them.
some families tell their children that the gnomes live in the barn and protect the animals from fire and illness. since the families are thankful for the work of the gnomes all year, they fill a bowl of porridge and place it on the porch at christmas eve. the bowl is empty on christmas morning and the children find presents left from them. the gnomes tend to hide the gifts around the home and the children search for them in the morning. i really think this is a sweet story and i enjoyed making these gingerbread gnomes this year. i am certain i must have purchased the gnome cookie cutter with this information sheet during the 1980’s when my children were young. i do remember making these cookies many years ago, but have not baked them for at least 15 years. so, this year was a nice way to reintroduce them to my cookie plate. it will be interesting to see if i get a request next year for the gnomes to return.
to make the cookies:
cream 1 cup crisco baking sticks with 1 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. add 1 egg, 1 cup molasses, and 2 tablespoons white vinegar. mix with an electric mixer until well blended.
next, mix 5 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon soda, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon cloves in a bowl. gradually add to the wet ingredients in mixer.
i chilled the dough in a bowl for one hour and then rolled the dough with a splash of flour on the board. this is a very good dough. it is firm and cuts nicely with the gnome cutter. i placed the cookies on light colored baking sheets, decorated the hats with red colored sugar. then, i baked the gnomes in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 to 11 minutes, turning and rotating the cookie pans half way between baking.
these cookies look very charming arranged in a basket or a bowl during the season. i promise young children will like them and enjoy the story of the christmas gnomes.