Gingerbread is usually some of the first Christmas-related food that I make each year, so I thought that it deserved to be the first recipe I post for December.
I have cheated slightly and made these cookies using Christmas-shaped cutters rather than making them into the traditional people. That is simply because I can rarely be bothered to spend too much time decorating any baking, if I can get away with it, especially at this busy time of year. These shapes are pretty enough not to require any decoration.
I’ve slighted adapted a recipe that appeared in the the December 2005 issue of Australian Table. It seems that the magazine isn’t even published anymore so I can’t give you a weblink I’m afraid. (That explains why I haven’t seen it in the shops for a while!)
The number of cookies that you can get out of these ingredients will depend on the size of your cutters – big cutters mean less cookies obviously. My cutters are a pretty standard size, no bigger than 5-7cm (2-3 inches).
Ingredients – makes approx 40 cookies:
- 1/4 cup golden syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 and 1/2 tbsps ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 125g/4.5 oz unsalted butter, chopped and slightly softened
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 and 1/4 cups plain (all purpose) flour
- Heat your oven to 160C/140C fan forced/320F.
- Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and then spray with cooking spray.
- Put the golden syrup, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the bicarb (baking soda) and stir – the mixture will foam up slightly – then remove from the heat.
- Place the slightly softened butter in a medium bowl and stir in the ginger mixture until the butter melts.
- Add the egg and flour and mix to make a dough. You may need to get your hands into the bowl to do this.
- Place a sheet of baking paper on your work surface, turn out the dough and knead for a minute until it is soft.
- Lay another sheet of baking paper over the top of the dough and then roll it out until it is your desired cookie thickness (about 5mm/less than 1/4 inch)
- Use your cutter(s) to cut out your shapes and place on your prepared trays. They don’t spread so you can put the cookies quite close together.
- Keep re-rolling and cutting out until all the dough is used.
- Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes or until just starting to turn a slightly darker golden colour. The cookies will harden on cooling, so cool on the tray for at least 15 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely, or eat them when they are still slightly warm.