An afternoon baking gingerbread cookies
Wouldn’t we all love to bake our own bread every day and whip up some homemade soup to accompany it, but the working week seems to fly by and with it all your baking aspirations.
But at Christmas, the pace of life slows, you might find yourself happily ambling about the house for an afternoon or two. Once the luxury of sofa loafing has worn off, why not dig out your cookie cutters and try your idle hand at these gorgeous, and more importantly, delicious gingerbread biscuits. They’re great ones to make with smallies, between making shapes and decorating you’ll have whiled away a very peaceful afternoon.
For the cookies (makes 18-22)
• 350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda • 2 tsp ground ginger • ½ tsp allspice • ½ tsp nutmeg • 1 tsp ground cinnamon • 150g/4½oz butter • 150g/6oz soft brown sugar • 1 free-range egg • 1 tbsp golden syrup• 4 tbsp treacle
For the icing
• 1 egg white • ½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice • 300g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting • food colouring (optional)
• Cookie cutters of various sizes • Piping bags or Ziploc bags
To make the icing
1 Whisk the egg white and lemon juice until just combined. 2 Then gradually add the sifted icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time until all combined. If you want to add food colouring, split the icing into separate bowls and add food colouring to each and mix. Be careful not to add too much or else you’ll need more icing sugar (and your hands will be multi-coloured for day afterwards). 3 Drop into piping bags, making sure it falls down in to one corner. 4 Leave for at least 2 hours to set hard.
How to make the cookies
1 In a bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and ground cinnamon and mix. 2 In a food processor or with a hand whisk, add the butter and sugar and mix until pale and fluffy. 3 Beat in the egg, golden syrup and treacle. 4 Once well combined, slowly add in the dry mixture, a tablespoon at a time until it’s no longer sticky. On a lightly dusted surface, tip out the dough and knead until it’s smooth. 5 Wrap the dough in cling film and leave in the fridge overnight (or in the freezer for at least 45 minutes if you’re in a rush). 6 Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. 7 On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 4mm in thickness. 8 Cut out shapes using cutters until all the dough is gone and place on the baking trays, with a slight gap between them. 9 Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before decorating.
Now for the fun part! You can either dust them all simply with icing sugar, or have fun with the piped icing. Push all the icing into one corner and roll up tight until there’s no air left. Snip a small hole in the bottom corner, and try a few practice runs on some baking paper before you attempt the cookies.
And finally, enjoy!
PHOTOGRAPHY Rowen & Wren