Following on from my recent snowflake gingerbread ideas post, I thought I would share with you my favourite gingerbread recipe. This is the one that I use every year and it has never failed me. It makes a very strong, sturdy cookie so it is perfect for gingerbread houses where you need to know that your walls are going to stay rigid.
You can tweak the spices to your own taste and sometimes I like to add the grated zest of an orange in there. The smell when it bakes is irresistible and so Christmassy.
210g dark soft brown sugar
3 tbsp ground ginger
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground cardamom
Pinch of ground black pepper
5 tbsp water
3 tbsp treacle/molasses
3 tbsp golden syrup/honey
250g salted butter, in chunks
560g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Place the sugar, ground spices, water and syrups into a saucepan and heat through until melted and near the boil.
- Take off the heat and mix through the butter until it’s all melted and combined.
- Allow the mixture to cool until just warm and then whisk through the bicarbonate of soda.
- Using a stand mixer or good old wooden spoon, add the flour and combine into a thick dough. It will be quite sticky but don’t worry, it will roll out.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.
- Once the dough has firmed up, roll it out between two sheets of greaseproof paper, or on a lightly floured surface.
- Cut out snowflake and star shapes and place on a flat baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. You can re-roll offcuts. Chill the cookies in the fridge for 30 minutes to help them keep their shape when they bake.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200c/180c fan, for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the cookie. Be careful as the edges catch and burn quite easily with gingerbread.
- Allow to cool completely and then decorate with royal icing!
In an air tight container the cookies will keep for 3 months happily, if you hang them on the tree they will start to soften over the weeks, but are fine to eat- assuming they haven’t been man handled by all your guests and pets!
Decorating the snowflakes with royal icing can be as simple or complicated as your skill level and time allows.
This video shows a mini snowflake with a basic design in royal icing piped on with a medium plain tip and a larger star shaped cookie turned into a snowflake with piped outlines.
This video shows how to outline and then flood (fill) the cookie with a slightly thinner royal icing, for a solid design. Once it has dried, you just pipe your detailing on top with a medium plain tip. Simple!