“Christmas! The snow’s coming down. Christmas, I’m watching it fall.” The snow might not be falling down just yet, but a sprinkle of icing over gingerbread can feel just as magical. And a lot less cold.
Christmas season is pretty much here. The first of December is just around the corner, no one can argue with the decorations and music when the date hits. Which means we have to make sure we are ready to enter the season from the moment December starts. Advent calendars at the ready, decorations poised for the tree, and the fridge stocked.
Oh, for the Christmas treats. Mince pies, shortbread, gingerbread. How we all love gingerbread, I do! In all its forms and it is indeed versatile. From gingerbread houses to be made and decorated, to Christmas tree decorations and then just the biscuits themselves.
Dunked in a mug of hot chocolate, iced and decorated or covered in chocolate they are a Christmas treat you can’t do without. And one that is so easy and fun to make that it becomes part of the Christmas experience.
You’ll want some Christmas-themed biscuit cutters to get the wonderfully Christmassy shapes. They can be surprisingly hard to find at times (let’s not talk about the number of supermarkets I’ve left disappointed) but the good news is, that once you have them, you’ll always have them. And if you can’t find any, (it was a really unsuccessful shopping trip) you can always cut your own stencils out of paper and use those.
So, turn up some Christmas music, heat up the oven and start baking.
100g unsalted butter
100g of light brown sugar
85g of golden syrup
1 large free-range egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp of ground ginger
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
375g of plain flour
1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake
Place the butter in a large bowl and use a wooden spoon to soften it. Pour in the sugar and cream together until completely combined.
Pour in the golden syrup and egg into the mixture, along with a tablespoon of flour. Mix thoroughly until a smooth, wet mixture is formed. Then add both the spices and mix in completely.
Sift 200g of the flour along with the bicarbonate of soda into the bowl. Use the wooden spoon to combine, until the mixture starts to form a soft sticky dough. Sift in the rest of the flour, at this point it will become harder to combine with the spoon.
Once it reaches this point pour the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead the remaining flour into the dough. The dough should be an even golden-brown colour and smooth in texture.
Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.
Once the dough has been chilled, remove and place it onto a floured surface. Using the rolling pin, flatten the dough to one centimetre in height. Use the biscuit cutters to cut out any and every Christmas shape you want and place the dough shapes onto a baking tray covered in greaseproof paper.
Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. When you remove the gingerbread, it will still be soft so leave on the tray for five minutes to harden before moving to a rack to cool completely.
Decorate with white icing, melted chocolate, sprinkles and whatever else you can find. And enjoy!