The Cooking Chook does Christmas – Gingerbread
My plan for the month of December was to post a few recipes leading up to Christmas. This plan kinda went out the window when I picked up a contract position to work during the Uni holidays, and with the many social events that tend to pop up this time of year, my free time to cook or bake has been limited. Despite this, there is one recipe that I really wanted to share with everybody before Christmas. I’ve always wanted to make gingerbread, not just because I love to eat it, but it also makes for a great foodie present, which fits in with my Uni bum budget. My favourite type of gingerbread is soft not hard and has a decent amount of that spicey, gingery taste to it. Amazingly, I’ve only ever found one place that sells gingerbread like this, my favourite bakery Perryman’s (if you ever get to visit Adelaide, make sure you stop by this bakery). So, the aim of the game was to try and find a recipe that recreates that taste and texture of gingerbread I like because, ultimately, I’m not going to give someone something that I don’t like myself. Now, there are tons of gingerbread recipes out there on the line (for those who have seen The Internship will understand what I’m referring to), so finding one that I would like was not going to be an easy exercise. Thankfully, the trusty Taste.com.au site was the perfect place to begin my search. It took me a little while to sift through the recipes and read all of the comments from people who had reviewed the recipes to find the ‘one’, but the results were well worth the effort. This recipe makes about 24 biscuits.
Nommy Nom Gingerbread
125g unsalted butter, softened
½ firmly packed cup (100g) brown sugar
½ cup (115g) golden syrup
1 egg yolk
2½ cups (385g) plain flour (I used Lighthouse Biscuit & Pastry Plain Flour)
1½ tbs ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup (150g) icing sugar, sifted
Assorted sugar decorations
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar using an electric hand beater until thick and pale in colour. Beat in the golden syrup and egg yolk, then use a spoon to fold in the flour, ginger, mixed spice and soda until a crumbly dough forms. Then use your hands to gently work the dough until smooth. Don’t be too concerned if this part takes a bit of time, just keep working the dough and it will eventually come together. Form the dough into a disc and cover in cling wrap. Chuck the dough into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Bring dough to room temperature, then divide in half. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper to 5mm thick. For this batch, I used a gingerbread man and a Christmas tree cutter to cut out the shapes. Space the cut out dough on the lined trays. Bake for 8 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a rack.
Stir icing sugar with 2-3 tsp of warm water to make a stiff icing. Transfer to either a piping bag with a small plain nozzle, or a snap-lock bag, and then snip off corner. How you pipe the icing will depend on the shape of your biscuits. For the gingerbread men, you could pipe 3 small dots down the centre of each biscuit, then press in silver sugar pearls to form buttons, then pipe some facial features. For the trees, pipe an outline of the tree, then press in coloured sugar pearls to form baubles and a sugar star on at the top. You can keep the biscuits for up to 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container.
Note: I’ve made some slight amendments to the original recipe, if you would like to see the original recipe, click here. I’m actually quite happy with how this recipe turned out. I can’t wait to unleash these tasty morsels on the family on Christmas Day!