Who doesn’t love cookies at the holidays? But preparing them can be a little daunting, even for a master baker like Jennifer Reed (right), the bubbly brainchild behind The Sugar Monkey. For those in the know, The Sugar Monkey is the place to get that sweet-tooth fix. From cakes and cupcakes, tartes and tortes to cookies and decadent brownies, Reed has created a confectionary kingdom of all things sweet and delicious. But about those holidays…
If you’re a busy bee, like all of us, those cookie exchanges can be monstrous, the family gatherings exhausting, the cookies for Santa an afterthought…trying to schedule kitchen time between all the holiday happenings can have many at their wit’s end. And what to make? Ah!!
We caught up with Reed, who knows a thing or two about managing kitchen time, for advice on how to handle the holiday crunch, her go-to seasonal dessert, and a recipe for her fantastic gingerbread cookies.
And for those who still can’t find the time, because lets face it, who can, The Sugar Monkey has you covered. And now when you order those cakes, cookies and all things sweet, you can grab a little extra when you pick up the goods: the new retail space has an array of sweets that are too good to pass up.
What’s cooking this fall?
I definitely like to start using pears, apples, pomegranates, fall spices, and ginger bread—I love gingerbread. For the holidays, a lot of apple tartes, gingerbread with orange cream cheese on them, and a gingerbread torte with orange cream cheese and poached pears.
What’s your go-to dessert for the holidays?
Cookies, I love to make cookies. I think they really bring the holiday spirit to everything, and, it reminds me of my grandmother.
What advice can you give the home baker?
Try to do things as far in advance as possible—the freezer is our friend. If you can make your cookie dough ahead of time, or your gingerbread and cut it out, put it in the freezer, and bake and decorate the day before. That way you don’t have that mess to clean up. The decorating is such a fun part, so why would you want to have to wash dishes and then decorate. That’s one of my biggest tips: do as much as possible ahead of time.
If you have a really good freezer and put the dough in really tight containers, wrapped up really well, you can keep something in the freezer for up to a month. I do not recommend prebaking things and then freezing them, but dough and cookie dough definitely.
For Jennifer Reed’s Gingerbread Cookie recipe, head to page two.
Nothing says the holidays quite like gingerbread men and women. Jennifer Reed of the The Sugar Monkey in West Palm Beach has graciously shared her recipe for baking a two-dozen batch of the winter favorite.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. ground ginger
- 1¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup molasses
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves; set aside.
- Cream butter, brown sugar and vanilla in a mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add egg and molasses, and mix until incorporated.
- Blend in dry ingredients and mix until dough forms.
- Roll dough to ¼-inch thick between parchment or wax paper and chill for at least 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- Cut dough with cookie cutters and dip bottom into granulated sugar.
- Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes.
- Cool on baking sheets, then decorate.