Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Guido, Our Christmas Baker (Gingerbread Cookies)

December 18, 2013, delivering Gingerbread Men to
his friends at Snap Fitness, where he faithfully worked
out every single week day.
This is our first Christmas without our Dad.  While there have been many tears, there have also been many laughs as each of us has shared our memories of this man; this wonderful, funny, witty, intelligent man!

In honor of my dad, Roger Beidler, former mayor of Amherst, and the best dad and granddaddy we could have had, I am going to share his Christmas recipes with you today.  He started baking when I was a young adult, and my sister Natalie was just a little girl.  Our family will want to have these recipes, so I'm going to save them here to share with you all.

His specialities were Stöllen, a traditional German Christmas bread with fruit, and Gingerbread Men. My stepmom emailed me Dad's recipes on December 21, last week, making note of the original cookbooks. 

When I talked to Dad last Sunday, I asked him about his baking.  He makes no substitutions; he simply follows the recipe.  (So I obviously don't take after HIM in the baking department.)  

My favorite Christmas pictures of him are in his Santa hat.  He always wore his hat when he delivered his Christmas goodies to friends and neighbors.  He had a beautiful, fluffy red hat, and a nice Redskins' Santa hat.  Dad loved Christmas. We all do.  I am bound and determined to make this a sweet Christmas memory today, in his honor. There is mourning taking place, you can count on that, but he would hate to think of us, all mopey and weepy.  Join us on this Christmas, his favorite holiday, in remembering him with a smile, a laugh, and maybe a tear or two.

Gingerbread Men

Blend 3/4 cup butter, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
Beat in 1 1/2 cups dark molasses
Sift in:  10 1/2 cups all purpose flour
resift with  3 tsp. soda, 3/4 tsp. cloves, 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 3 tsp. ginger, 1 1/2 tsp. salt
Add sifted ingredients to butter in about three parts, alternating with 3/4 cup water
Bake 8 minutes at 350.  
Makes approx. 100 small (2 1/2 inch) men - we use cutter that imprints facial features so they don't have to be iced.

My little sister Natalie, Dad's sous-chef
Natalie has many fond memories of Dad's Christmas baking.  I know it meant a lot of work for Jackie, as his "head bottle washer."  There were several Christmases we were the recipients of these yummy treats, and we appreciated the efforts of all three of them so much.  

One of my favorite Christmases was one of the simplest. We received a box of Gingerbread Men, and both of my older children received a letter from Granddaddy, describing Christmas when he was a little boy.  The kids have the letters in their scrapbooks. 

Natalie told us that their tradition included making one big Gingerbread Poo to leave on the floor, "so Mom would think the dog had been naughty."
Gingerbread Poo, a little known Beidler tradition

Natalie took over the torch from her big brothers and sister in keeping him well-
stocked on Old Spice.  That fragrance will always be one of our favorites.
I would like to thank my sister Natalie for all of these wonderful photos.

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