Happy new week guys!
Hope all my friends from across the pond enjoyed their Thanksgiving and a long weekend! Seeing all the drool- worthy dishes being prepared by my fellow bloggers made me wish we've had a Thanksgiving in Europe too!
But, as they say, you can't have everything in life, so for now, I will enjoy the run up to Christmas and all of the European traditions that go with it. And that includes gingerbread. Because, if we are to believe what the internet says, gingerbread was born here. Also, for the ease of things, I'm calling this recipe gingerbread cookies, however, technically, in UK, they are called biscuits. And there is quiet a big difference between British and American biscuits. But most of you, my awesome readers, are based in US (at least in this moment), so it makes sense to stick to cookies for now...
So, I have tried MANY different gingerbread cookies recipes. The web is just flooded with different methods, recipes and tips when it comes to making this Christmas classic. I've been using the same recipe for years now, and don't even remember where it originally came from, but I know one thing- it's simply THE BEST gingerbread cookie recipe I've ever had. Just like with my chocolate thumbprint cookies, this is a vegetarian recipe, as I'm using an egg. However, the rest of the ingredients was dairy-free, and it could work without an egg, so feel free to experiment!
These gingerbread cookies are crispy around the edges, and softer in the middle, and that's just how I like them. If you prefer crunchier cookie, simply increase the baking time for a couple more minutes, and they will become crispier and harder. Perhaps I should also mention, that baking time will depend on the size of your cookie cutter (mine is about 3,5 inches). So if you have a smaller one, decrease baking time, and equally, if your cutter is bigger, you will need to increase baking time slightly.
Gingerbread cookies are so much fun to make and to decorate, and I'm not talking about kids only. Making and decorating the gingerbread men is one of my Christmas season highlights (...and I'm not sad, OK? I just really love this activity A LOT). And this year, it's even better, because I've discovered these small, squeezy bottles for icing, and it makes decorating the cookies SO much easier and neater! You can get them online or in craft/ baking equipment shops and they are cheap as chips. Goodbye piping bag and your messy surroundings!
Also, remember that the dough should be chilled for at least couple of hours (ideally, overnight). That way, it's MUCH easier to work with. And make sure you have plenty of flour while rolling the cookies. You want well floured work surface as well as rolling pin and your hands. Don't worry about flour covering your dough as it will bake off.
These gingerbread cookies will also be great as a gift or Christmas tree decorations. If you want to use them as decorations on your tree, simply pierce a hole in the top of each gingerbread cookie with a plastic straw before baking them. Once cooled and baked, place a piece of string or ribbon through the hole and ta-dah! Ready!
Have a great week ahead and until next time!
Gingerbread Cut Out Cookies
- 375 g all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp all spice
- 80 g butter (softened) (dairy- free if needed)
- 170 g dark brown sugar (I've used muscovado)
- 1 large egg (room temeperature)
- 120 ml black treacle/ molasses
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
For the icing
- 180 g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp almond milk (or any milk of choice)
- In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all the spices.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg, treacle and vanilla essence and mix until combined. Gradually, stir in the dry ingredients until all ingredients are well mixed and smooth. Dough will be a little bit sticky at this point, but don't worry, it will come together after chilling it.
- Divide dough in half, and wrap each half in cling film. Flatten the dough into a disc and refrigerate for at least couple of hours. If refrigerating overnight, bring the dough back to room temperature first before starting to roll it.
- Preheat the oven to 170 C. Place one half of the dough into floured surface. Cover your rolling pin with some flour and roll the dough into about ¼ inch thick. Cut the cookies using your cookie cutter. Re-roll any leftover dough and repeat until you have used all of your dough.
- Transfer cookies into a cookie sheet, leaving about 1 inch space between each cookie.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. Rotate your cookie tray half way through to ensure even bake.
- Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes and transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
- To decorate: mix the icing sugar with milk until well combined. If icing feels too thick, add a very small amount of milk. If it feels too thin, add more icing sugar. Transfer the icing into a piping bag or icing bottle and decorate. You can also add some festive food colouring into your icing to get different colours. Use festive sprinkles if desired.