Ginger ale, ginger snaps, gingerbread people, gingerbread houses. Around the winter holiday season, it’s difficult to make it to January without sampling at least one of these tempting, gingery treats. And with ginger quickly becoming one of my favorite warming spices (you can check out the history of the ginger rhizome here), I’m just as inextricably drawn towards these spicy confections as the average baker. However, this year I wanted to try a ginger recipe that breaks away from the traditional. You see, I’ve always taken slight issue with the gingerbread cookie’s tendency to, well, snap. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older (and the cost of dental work is a terrifying new reality), or it’s because I’m tired of losing parts of my gingerbread men to cups of ginger peach tea, but I decided to adapt my classic gingerbread recipe to a form that is less suited for candy architecture, but much safer to sink your teeth into!
Now, if you’re looking for a classic recipe for gingerbread men, women, or siding, the recipe below is, in fact, perfect for that purpose as well. Simply roll the dough, cut into shapes, and bake as directed to enjoy the classic crunch of gingerbread cookies!
Cream Cheese Gingerbread Tarts
Yields approximately 3 dozen tarts
Ingredients for Gingerbread
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups all-purpose (or white whole wheat) flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon dried ginger)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Ingredients for Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 ounces of cream cheese
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in the molasses and egg yolk.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and blend until smooth. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for one hour.
- While your dough is cooling, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until they reach a smooth consistency. Place mixture in a piping bag and refrigerate until needed.
- When your dough has chilled, roll 1 Tablespoon sized balls of dough, and place in a mini-muffin tin that has been prepared with muffin liners.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F / 175 C
- Using the back of a teaspoon or your thumb (I found that a floured, wooden muddler works perfectly), press each ball of dough to form a well.
- Fill each tart with the cream cheese filling, and bake for 10 minutes, or until an inserted cake tester comes out fairly clean.
- Let cool completely in the tins, and then enjoy a few tiny gingerbread tarts!