Gingerbread Cookies Recipe (video)
It wouldn’t be Christmas without gingerbread men!
Adults and children alike can get involved and spend a wonderful afternoon creating these yummy biscuits. You can also make them as tree ornaments (and hope that the children have left a few on the tree by Christmas day).
My kitchen comes to life when the delicate aromas of the warm spices fill the air and only then it feels and smells like Christmas in warm Dubai.
There are many recipes for gingerbread men out there. I have experimented with several recipes in my kitchen and have come up with a foolproof recipe to ensure a crack-free biscuit with just enough zing and just the right snap to it.
Where spices are concerned, use my recipe as a guide and add as little or as much as will please your soul. After all my motto is cooking has no rules, only techniques.
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For the biscuit:
Makes 35 biscuits
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3-4 teaspoons powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Nutmeg for sprinkling
2 teaspoons fresh ginger juice
1 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup golden syrup or molasses
1 medium egg
2 medium egg yolks
In a glass bowl, sift the flour with the salt, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger powder and set aside.
Using an electric mixer beat the softened butter, sugar and golden syrup for a few minutes on high speed until it is creamy.
Add the whole egg to the batter whilst beating on low then add each of the yolks until fully incorpo-rated. At this point lower the speed and then gradually add the sifted spiced flour to the batter in batches.
Tip the mixture on a wooden board and knead it to bring it all together. You should have a soft and slightly sticky dough. Half the dough, flatten to a disc and place between two sheets of baking paper making sure it is totally covered and place in the fridge for at least one hour. Note that the dough can keep up to 3 days in the fridge.
Preheat your oven to 170 C on fan setting. Take one of the discs out of the fridge and roll, keeping the dough between the baking parchment sheets. Ideally you would want to roll the dough to a 4 mm thickness before cutting it into the desired shapes. Remove the baking parchment sheets and cut the dough using your cookie cutters. Then, grate some nutmeg over the cut-out gingerbread be-fore gently removing the excess dough.
Gently transfer the biscuits onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper laying each biscuit 1 inch apart.
If you would like to hang some as ornaments, before baking, make a hole at the top of each biscuit using the bottom end of a bamboo skewer.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. They will be soft to touch when hot but will harden once they have cooled down.
When totally cooled, move the biscuits to your board, ready for decoration with royal icing.
In my kitchen the children squabble over who licks the spoon after preparing meringues and other raw egg based desserts or egg batter. We have never been sick but some people have concerns about salmonella when making the royal icing using raw egg white. In this case, you can substitute the egg white with powdered meringue mix or pasteurised egg whites if you prefer.
For the royal icing:
1 medium egg white
1 ½ cups icing sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice
Whisk the egg white adding a spoonful of sugar at a time using a wooden spoon (or a handheld whisk). Add the lemon juice and keep whisking until you get soft peaks.
Depending on the colors you want for your icing, divide the icing into separate bowls before adding your food color.
Place your icing in the piping bags and pipe your desired design. If you would like to flood the bis-cuits after you have created the border, just add enough water to make the icing a bit runnier.
Use a tooth pick to fill in the corners.
Run a string through the hole in the biscuits and hang on the tree, praying that your kids or dogs leave some for Christmas.
Separate the egg white from the yolk using 2 bowls one egg at a time and transfer the egg white to a storing container to use for the icing. Repeat the same with the second egg mak-ing sure the egg white is not contaminated with any egg yolk. The egg white can be frozen for later use in desserts, meringues or simply and egg white omelet.
It is best to use eggs at room temperature.
Per Serving: 139 Calories; 6g Fat (37.9% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 32mg Cholesterol; 126mg Sodium