Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ginger DeadMen and the Ancient Curse

Welcome back to our truly scarifying MLK Halloween Week!  You know our slogan:


We interrupt this TERRIFYING recipe to offer congrats to the winner of the Cat Hat: Grandma Cootie!  

And now (and about time too) , GINGERDEADMEN  creepily  presented by Victoria Abbott, aka Mary Jane Maffini and Victoria Maffini:  


Life is short and then they eat you!

MJ here: This post started off as Chocolate GingerDead Men and Bat Buddies. But that was before I knew about the Ancient Curse that had afflicted my baking and indeed, my entire kitchen.  

You ask: How bad could it be?  Bad enough that when Victoria tasted the first sample of Chocolate GingerDeadMen, she screamed, kind of like these pumpkins.

That scream was totally appropriate and seasonal, but not the response I’d wanted. 

Then she said, “I can’t believe you made something that tasted like that.”

 I couldn’t either. In retrospect, some of the ingredients did seem a little unconventional, especially that one ENTIRE tablespoon of baking powder. 

But I did check it several times in case I was reading it wrong. What do I know, I said. It must do something for the recipe. And it did something all right.   
So, all to say, while the Chocolate GingerDeadMen and their companion Bat Buddies looked pretty good and they were a chance to play with my new cookie cutters,  you won’t be seeing that recipe here.  It should come as no surprise that the photos didn't turn out either.  Was the camera possessed too? Why else the out of focus shots? The full memory card? The icing on the lens? You tell me.

Never mind.  This version of gingerbread cookies tastes really good and will reappear in gentler form for Christmas around our house. 

But that’s not the end of my story. The Ancient Curse continues with my icing and cake decorating kit.  That icing was so runny that I worried it would ooze outside and get the pumpkins. Why else would they have those expressions?   Hey, what's that red puddle on the floor.?

 Did I mention the smoke alarm kept going off?  Yes, the smoke alarm that we have to get on a ladder to turn off. That one.  And there was the mysteriously empty but new containers of ginger and cloves.  So let’s not doubt that something’s afoot, my friends.  Before you know it, your icing may begin to drip and run away too.  Be very afraid.  


We can help get rid of the cookies. We're not afraid of chocolate.

But back to business at hand.  We’re very keen about Halloween around here. All of us. Including the dogs, who have asked to make cameos and are insisting that they’re better looking than the cookies. Who am I to argue? 



1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg, room temperature
2 tablespoons water
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp fine lemon zest

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses, egg, vanilla and water. Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and lemon zest; add by thirds to your creamed mixture and mix well. Divide the dough in half. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350° (I used 335 for Convection) .
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. 

My heart was in my mouth as I wondered if the ancient curse would continue with these: 

Bake 8 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as gruesomely as you can.  

Keep away from children, if you don't want them to cry.

Victoria Abbott is a spooky collaboration between Victoria Maffini and her mother, Mary Jane.  They'd like you to know that there are some very scary scenes in their latest book collector mystery: The Wolfe Widow. Just ask Walter the Pug.   Too frightening.

But why not see for yourself?  

Treat yourself: ORDER IT HERE!   That's no trick.


  1. Mama said there'd be days like this... Is Mercury out of retrograde yet?

    I was hunting for a squeeze bottle to use for tomorrow's recipe, and I knew we had more than one in the house. I finally found it well-hidden on the bottom of our pantry closet (yes, a whole closet)--filled with fake blood. You never know when you'll need it! And it keeps really well. Mystery writers are just a little strange.

    1. Thanks for the laugh, Sheila! The whole post was such a nightmare with things going wrong that finally I just had to post it as is.

      Very jealous about your fake blood.



  2. Yes, Sheila, mercury has moved on. We can't use that as our excuse.
    Glad to hear you survived the curse. Wonder if there is some cleaning thing you can do? Burn cloves? (Just kidding)
    One addition to your deadmen--break off parts of the arms and legs. Bwa-ha-ha!

  3. Sounds like you need a visit from the Ghostbusters! But your gingerdeadmen turned out so cute!

    1. Thanks, Peg. They are kind of cute and people are eating them. Is that so wrong?



  4. Oh my that sounds like a very scary time in the kitchen. I myself do not spend much time there as I know the evils that can lurk in every corner of that mysterious place. If I did though, I would surely take a chance and make these gingerdeadmen. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Thanks, Kayt18. I should learn that lesson - evils lurking indeed. And yet, I'm addicted.

    Glad you came by!



  6. Hysterical. I'm so sorry things went awry, but yes, sometimes creepy weird creatures are afoot. Love the post. Love the cookies and how they're decorated. Love the dogs slipping into the pictures! So cute.

    Daryl / Avery

    1. Thanks, Daryl! It's a good think the post didn't pick up my comments when this was going on. Now, I can laugh.



  7. Funny! (Sounds like what happens in my kitchen!)

    1. Thanks, Patricia - I can only laugh after - never during.



  8. Wonderful post, Victoria! What a great story. I have no doubt that the Princesses were more than willing to assist you in getting rid of those spooky cookies!

  9. Thanks, Krista. And I may have eaten quite a few of the new ones in an effort to test the recipe. You know.



  10. What better way to celebrate Halloween (and vent the frustrations of the week) than to rip the heads off those delicious Ginger Dead Men. After all, they're dead already. Love this post and love the brilliantly spooky twist on a classic. May your Halloween give you nothing but treats from here on out!

    ~ Cleo