Dark and robust, with an intense flavour of ginger, a subtle hint of spice and the sweetness of molasses; that’s exactly what you want your perfect holiday gingerbread to be! You could be biting off someone’s head, nibbling your way through a Christmas tree or gluing together an elaborate gingerbread house, as long as it tastes delicious you can experiment all you want. It’s a quick recipe to put together and a whole lot of fun cutting out shapes and icing them with your loved ones. And the best part of it all, it fills your house with the heavenly fragrance of freshly baked gingerbread!
PREPARATION TIME: 2 hours
INGREDIENTS (approx. 45 cookies)
For the cookies:
- 3 1/4 cups plain flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsulphered molasses
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg*(optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
For the icing:
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons cold milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven )
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the unsalted butter and light brown sugar for a few minutes until it turns pale and fluffy. Next, add in the egg and whisk until incorporated.
Pour in the molasses and whisk through thoroughly until combined.
In another large bowl, sift in all the dry ingredients; plain flour, baking soda, salt and the spices. Stir though with a fork until combined.
Mix the dry ingredients into the batter and fold through using a paddle mixer. Alternatively you could use your hands towards the end if there’s still bits of flour popping out through the dough.
Once the dough comes together nicely, divide it into three portions and wrap each one in clingfilm. Place to chill in the fridge for an hour or even overnight.
Let the cookie dough rest for about 5-10 minutes at room temperature before you start to roll it out. this endures that it’ll be much easier and quicker to work the dough.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Roll the dough out evenly onto a baking paper to about 1//4″ thick. Using cookie cutters of your choice cut out christmas shapes and pull away the excess dough.Place the sheet on a baking tray and return the the fridge to firm up for about 10 minutes.
Place in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your cookie. Once out of the oven, let them cool completely before icing. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
Decorating the cookies with icing:
To make the icing, whisk together the icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth. Transfer the icing into a piping bag fitted with a round tip nozzle of your choice and ice away!
Note: Remember the rule when icing (if you’ve never done it before) is to keep it simple! This was the first time I’ve ever iced gingerbread cookies, so attempting intricate designs and a myriad of colours wasn’t for me. I prefer a simple minimalistic approach and trust me, it’s much quicker too!
If the pastry tears while rolling it out, bring together with your hands and should come together nicely.
While cutting the gingerbread shapes out, it works best to roll out the pastry onto a baking sheet in order to retain the perfect shape of the cookie without having to transfer it. this is a must especially with intricate Christmas shapes, you want them to look just as lovely without the icing.
If you give this recipe a go, I’d love to see how it turned out. Leave a comment below and share your pictures on Instagram using the tag #thecookbooklife!
Happy festive baking!