Saturday, December 19, 2009

What I'm baking this Christmas

This is the second Christmas I've been addicted to gingerbread.. and I'm pretty sure that's enough to officially call it a tradition.


This is a reliable recipe for firm gingerbread biscuits which keep well, and makes about 20 full-size biscuits.  The royal icing sets to an attractive finish that takes quite a beating without knocking off.  Credit goes to an Australian Woolworths magazine, which I discovered via Google and (hey, don't let me be accused of not giving full credit to all involved), and the original link is here.  I'm reproducing it here, because there are a few points which I feel I can add to the experience (other than saving you the trouble of hunting through all of the available recipes to find a good one).

You will need:
125g butter, at room temperature
100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) golden syrup
1 egg, separated
375g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Plain flour, to dust
150g (1 cup) pure icing sugar, sifted
Food colouring, M&Ms etc to decorate

Preheat oven to 180°C, and prepare 2 baking trays with baking paper r silicon baking mats
Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and beat until combined.
Stir in the flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. The dough will be very light and soft, so be prepared to flour the outside to make it more manageable.
Press dough into a disc, cover with clingwrap, and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to rest.  This also cools the dough and makes it much easier to handle and cut.

While you wait, use an electric beater to beat the egg white in a clean bowl until soft peaks form.

Gradually add icing sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
I divide the icing among 3 bowls: add red colouring to the first, green to the second, and leave the third white.  You can, of course, use any colour your heart desires.. I'm just going with the Christmas theme, and the fact that I only have two colours in the pantry!

Stir it in, and add more until you get the colour you want.  The icing will set to a slightly paler colour.

Transfer to small zip-lock bags (I use the tiny snack-size ones), and pop in the fridge for later (I leave these for up to a day before I get around to icing the cookies)

Once the dough has rested, roll out until about 4mm thick. Again, use flour to stop sticking.
Use the cutter of your choice to cut out shapes, and place on the baking tray immediately (if you let them get warm, they're impossible to handle).

If they stick, I use a thin silicon icing spatula to peel them off the board and transfer.  Don't worry about spacing them too far apart on the tray: these don't really spread when they cook.  1cm apart is plenty.

Bake in oven 10-12 minutes or until brown. You'll see the colour change, but I don't let them get too brown or they have a little too much crunch for my liking. 
Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

Once cookies are completely cold, cut a small hole in a corner of each icing bag. Pipe icing over gingerbread men to decorate. Finish with M&Ms, silver cachous, or whatever you like (they're your cookies, after all!)

These are silver cachous.  No, I didn't know what they were callled, either - but I read the packet and Mum has confirmed that it's true.

The icing takes at least an hour to set completely - make sure the icing is hard before you stack the ones you haven't already eaten in an airtight container.

Others I'm going to have to try:

Tiny 3D gingerbread houses designed to fit on the edge of your mug, by Not Martha.  Gorgeous!

Soft and chewy gingerbread cookies at My Kitchen Cafe

To see what Jason did to my gingerbread (well, to the one he didn't eat!), click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment