I don’t often make gingerbread. I tend to be more likely to succumb to a rich chocolate or salted caramel kind of recipe, rather than sticking to the classics. I can’t remember what prompted me to give it a go, probably a quantum of Christmas spirit penetrating my Grinchiness.

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I used an American recipe but I weighed the ingredients so people without cup measures can try them more easily. I substituted black treacle for the molasses stated. To my taste, the treacle flavour is a bit strong so I recommend half golden syrup and half treacle. I will test these out on the people at work and see if they agree. Update: the test was inconclusive as they were all rated by parties unknown.

Ingredients

Note: This makes a LOT of cookies. Like, at least 60. Or enough for a gingerbread house.

Second note: Add whatever spices you like. Leave out the zest if you want. Don’t go out and buy any spices especially for this recipe.

  • 5 cups (725g) plain flour
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda (leave this out if you’re building anything with the gingerbread)
  • 1/4tsp salt (add 1/2 tsp if you use unsalted butter)
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 cup (250g) butter
  • 1 cup (250g) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) black treacle
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) golden syrup

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Method

1. Sift together the dry ingredients and spices. Add the orange zest.

2. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, golden syrup and treacle and stir until completely blended.

3. Gradually add the flour mixture until it is all combined.

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4. Divide dough into three portions. If you want to freeze some, do so at this stage, wrapping in a double layer of cling film, or a single layer of wrapping inside a freezer safe container.

5. Roll out one portion of dough between two layers of baking parchment until 1/4in (5mm) thick, using cookie slats if you have them. Leave to chill in the fridge.

6. Preheat oven to 180C (350F)

7. Cut shapes out of chilled dough. Leave about 1cm between each cookie to account for any rising in the oven. Top tip: a gingerbread man upside-down makes an acceptable substitute for a bunny rabbit

8. Bake for 12-16 minutes, until firm and just beginning to darken at the edges. Keep a close eye after 12 minutes as these cookies can burn very quickly.

9. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

10. If desired, decorate your cookies. As you can see in the pics, I used a wide variety of sprinkles and writing icing as I was too lazy to make royal icing.

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