Best bets: Gingerbread boys
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
Gingerbread boys at Kay Bakery.