Slowly but definitely getting into the whole Christmas feel! This year, what with a renewed experimental baking frenzy, slight nip in the air and the billions of cute cookie cutter shapes at my local grocers, thought I’d give the famous gingerbread man and similar Christmassy shapes a spin!
Gingerbread Man & Co.
After several drool worthy searches, I came across one that’s easy and quick; both my favorite cookery words.
Here’s my version of truly the most fun biscuit I’ve attempted! Sure, the icing looks like it was laid on by an ape, but I’m not the kind to ice & tell..
Cookies; about 20:
- 115g butter, room temperature
- 100g light brown sugar
- ½ egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp thick honey
- 240g plain flour
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg or cake spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt ( if using unsalted butter )
- 50g icing sugar
- Assorted Christmas shaped cookie cutters
- Assorted Sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 180’c
- Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
- Place the butter and both sugars in a bowl and cream together using a wooden spoon or electric mixer (my choice as I’m really lazy) until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and honey and continue to mix until combined. Sift in the rest of the ingredients and stir together to form a dough.
- Knead the dough for a few seconds until it comes together-use a dusting of flour, if needed.
- Here, cling wrap the ball of dough & place in the fridge for an hour or so. Although, I’d avoided this step – it’s recommended to follow; as chilling the dough helps retain the shape of the cookie while it bakes.
- When ready, roll the dough out on your work surface, dusting with flour as necessary, to a thickness of about ½ cm.
- Next cut the dough in to Christmas shapes . Go all out with Gingerbread men, Christmas trees, stars, and snowmen or even round baubles!
Lined up for the Oven- space of about 1″ is good as the cookies will almost double in size.
- Transfer the biscuits onto the baking trays and cook in the oven for about 12 -15 minutes, until they are slightly firm, a little darker at the edges and slightly drier on top. Remove from the oven.
- Here’s a brilliant idea if you’re looking at gifting these ; use a skewer to make holes in biscuits so they can be hung from the Christmas tree as decorations. You need to make the holes while they’re still warm from the oven.
- Allow the shapes to firm up for a few minutes, then place them on a wire rack to cool. When they have cooled, they can be iced, though I love them plain as well!
Now, icing is brilliant fun, but needs tons of practice – and although I soon ran out of “experimental” cookies there’s no chance of me giving up so soon! Here’s hoping you have better luck at it..
Cookies cooled & ready for Icing
- 2 large egg whites, or more to thin icing
- 4 cups sifted icing sugar, or more to thicken icing
- Juice of 1 lime
- 3 drops glycerin
Beat the whites until stiff but not dry. Add sugar, lemon juice and glycerin beat for 1 minute more. If icing is too thick, add more egg whites; if it is too thin, add more sugar. The icing may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Add colour of your choice!
Prepare piping bag & fit with 0.2 nozzle for fine lines. This is handy for outlines etc. Break open the sprinkles & this is when the fun really starts so I’ll leave you to it- have fun!
Tip: Get a bunch of kids to help out – the messier the merrier! Plus you get to blame them for the sloppy icing 😀
Icing attempt #1
icing attempt #2 ( I don’t give up easily )