Every December I make a huge batch of gingerbread cookies. It’s become an accidental tradition of mine and I love it. Besides homemade gingerbread being all kinds of yummy, it’s also really fun to make. Sometimes my friends and I have gingerbread making days where we just hang out for hours, baking and icing away. It’s such a festive activity and I feel like it would be a great thing to do with kids as well! These cookies also make great Christmas gifts… if you can stop yourself from eating them all.
I’ve tried a few recipes, but I think this one is my favourite. It’s from a book called Baking for Pleasure & Profit – which would actually make a fab Christmas gift. I love this particular recipe because it makes super spicy cookies using pretty simple ingredients. Just a heads up, this recipe makes A LOT of cookies which is ideal for gifting purposes but maybe not so ideal if you struggle with portion control! If you don’t want to make so many, just halve the recipe or freeze half the dough – then you can pull it out closer to Christmas and make another batch.
What you’ll need for the cookies:
250g softened butter
180g brown sugar
2 egg yolks
240g golden syrup
25ml ground ginger
10ml mixed spice
Pinch of salt
10ml bicarbonate of soda
What you’ll need for the icing (you can make any royal icing of your choice – this is my fave one):
1 egg white
1 tsp lemon juice
1 ½ cups sifted icing sugar
Food colouring (optional)
Small sandwich bags
Here’s what you’ll do:
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl
- Add in the egg yolks and golden syrup and mix until properly combined – don’t forget to save one egg white for the royal icing!
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour, ginger, mixed spice, salt and bicarb together
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients to form a dough – it’s easier to add the dry ingredients in a little at a time
- Knead your dough until it’s nice and smooth and then cover it with clingfilm and refrigerate for about 30 minutes (I separated my dough into two sections and popped one in the freezer to bake another time)
- Once your dough has set, preheat your oven to 180 °C and line two baking trays with baking paper
- Flour a surface and knead the dough a little bit to warm it up and make it workable
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it’s about 4/5mm thick – make sure your surface and your rolling pin are nicely floured
- Using whatever cookie cutters you like – I usually keep mine Christmas themed – chomp out some shapes
- Space out the cookies on your prepared trays and bake for 10 minutes or until they’re golden brown
- Re-roll your dough and cut out as many cookies as you can – some bakers say you should only re-roll your dough once or twice, but I hate wasting so I just use as much of it as I can!
- Use an egg lifter to remove the warm cookies from the tray and place them onto a board to cool
- Reload your tray with unbaked cookies, using the same baking paper as many times as you need to
- While your cookies are cooling, start making the royal icing by beating the egg white and lemon juice together until lightly fluffy – for about one/two minutes
- Add in the sifted icing sugar little by little, beating thoroughly with each addition
- You can leave your icing white or you can split it evenly into two or three bowls and colour it as you like – red, green and white is a great combo
- Transfer each colour of royal icing into a separate sandwich bag – be careful not to fill them up too much
- Twist the top of the bag and snip off the end to create a make-shift piping bag
- Apply a slow and steady amount of pressure to the piping bag and ice away!
Store your finished cookies in a tupperware or tin out of the fridge or package them up as a Christmas gift. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! Happy baking.