This recipe for gingerbread cookies is the one I always use for gingerbread men, gingerbread houses and gingerbread decorations cookies. This gingerbread recipe is quite spicy with a rich flavour, and is one I have tweaked and refined to make it the most delicious Christmas biscuit. I've also added some Top Tips for gingerbread baking through out the recipe.
I usually bake these early in the Christmas baking season, as for me it signifies the start of advent and celebration baking, filling the house with a beautiful aroma. Please make sure you buy fresh spices for you Christmas baking so that you'll get the best, intense flavour from your gingerbread biscuits.
Here are some super sized gingerbread ballerinas I baked for my son's ballet school as a fundraiser, they were around 34cm x 26cm and I rolled the pastry dough to 1.5 cm thick. These were fun to make, and I flavoured the icing with banana essence.
This recipe will make enough dough for one gingerbread house, about six gingerbread men and some other smaller shapes like hearts and snowflakes. I usually mix a 1.5 quantity of this dough, so that I get more of the gingerbread cookies (these always get eaten quickly ) and I use them as edible Christmas gifts to give to friends and visitors over the festive season.
Recipe for Gingerbread cookies
6 cups of self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (250g) butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salts
2 large eggs
1/2 cup molasses or treacle
1/2 cup golden syrup or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1) Cream butter and sugar. Mix in spices and salt. In a small bowl, combine eggs, vanilla and molasses and golden syrup and mix into the creamed butter.
2) Add sifted flour and baking powder, and stir with a spoon or with your beaters to combine. I actually mix the entire recipe in my Kenwood Patissiere.
3) Divide the dough into 3rds and refridgerate for an hour minimum.
TOP TIP for gingerbread cookies: It's really important to do this step because you want the gluten in the dough to relax, which will make you dough less tough. Also, rolling any cookie in small lots reduces the toughness of the cookie, you should aim to roll out you dough no more than 2 times.
4) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Prepare your biscuit trays and line with baking paper. Roll out your dough in batches, cut with desired cutters. Bake until crisp, not hard, so about 10-12 minutes.
TOP TIP for rolling our gingerbread cookies: Before you roll out your dough, dust the area with icing sugar so it won't stick- extra flour can make your dough too floury tasting. If you want crispy gingerbread cookies, roll out the dough thinner, thicker dough will make softer gingerbread cookies.
5) Cool on racks. When cold, decorate with royal icing (will post tomorrow).
I usually bake the cookies all on one day and then ice them with royal icing the following day. You could leave uniced biscuits in a cookie tin placing baking paper sheets in between the layers of biscuit and leave for up to 2 weeks until you ice them. You can also freeze the cookie dough earlier.
If you have any other special additions to your gingerbread recipes please share them, because you can always improve on a recipe Happy Gingerbread baking.