Best bets: Gin­ger­bread boys

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - GO EAT - By Michael Don­ahue

I re­mem­ber one time back in the 1950s when my mom made gin­ger­bread men. She used an alu­minum cookie cut­ter and added raisins for the eyes, nose and mouth. I don’t re­mem­ber her making any more af­ter that. I re­cently tried the made­from-scratch “gin­ger­bread boys” at Kay Bak­ery. They’re per­fect. They even use a vin­tage cookie cut­ter.

They use a recipe that dates to the 1950s, said owner Queo Bautista, who bought the bak­ery and all the recipes and equip­ment 20 years ago. They dec­o­rate the gin­ger­bread boys ex­actly the same as they’ve al­ways been dec­o­rated: dots for eyes, nose, but­tons and feet, a line for the hat and line for the belt and a cres­cent curve for the smil­ing mouth — all done with red ic­ing. They never de­vi­ate from that de­sign or color, Bautista said. “Since 1932, this is the same dec­o­ra­tion,” he said. One of their bak­ers was at Kay Bak­ery be­fore Bautista bought it, so he knows they’re made the way they al­ways were.

The six-or-so-inch gin­ger­bread boys, which cost 99 cents each, are avail­able all the time, but they’re “es­pe­cially pop­u­lar this time of year,” he said. “I be­lieve they also hang them on the Christ­mas tree.”

One man or­ders them ev­ery year for his clients. Bautista re­cently re­ceived an or­der for 27 dozen.

The ap­pro­pri­ately named Gin­ger Owings or­dered 200 gin­ger­bread boys for a hol­i­day party. She gives “some­thing with gin­ger it like a gin­ger­bread house or gin­ger cook­ies” as presents at Christ­mas, she said. Owings said. “They’re a clas­sic gin­ger­bread. There are all kinds of gin­ger­bread, but this has gin­ger in it. They’re not real sweet. They taste good, but they’ve got just enough spice in them. That’s why I give them.”

The dough is made with gin­ger, brown sugar, cake flour, bak­ing soda and thick honey. The gin­ger­bread boys are very soft and break­able when they come out of the oven. When I tried one three hours later, it had hard­ened al­most to the con­sis­tency of a gin­ger snap cookie, but still was a bit on the soft side.

Gin­ger­bread boys are avail­able ev­ery day un­til they run out, but if you plan on or­der­ing some, make sure you place your or­der by Dec. 22, Bautista said. They’ll sell at least 30 dozen next week, he said.

I’m go­ing to hang six of the gin­ger­bread boys on my tree, but I’ll prob­a­bly eat them all be­fore Christ­mas.

To see a video of Bautista making gin­ger­bread boys, go to com­mer­cialap­peal.com/food.

Kay Bak­ery is at 667 Avon Road; 901-767-0780

MICHAEL DON­AHUE/THE COM­MER­CIAL Ap­pEAL

Gin­ger­bread boys at Kay Bak­ery.

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