The smell of freshly made gingerbread is quintessentially Christmas for me. The combined smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves is magical in the way it can summon fond memories of distant family Christmas gatherings and of my first winter Christmas. Though funnily enough I wasn’t too fond of eating gingerbread as a child, just smelling it.
Thankfully I now love a good spiced gingerbread biscuit. This recipe comes from the Just Add Spice cookbook by Lyndley Milan and Ian Hemphill and is a wonderful spiced gingerbread; not the sad so called gingerbread you buy from the grocery store. If you are looking for a good gingerbread recipe, I thoroughly recommend this one.
- 2 tblsp golden syrup
- 2 tblsp soft brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 120g unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line large baking trays with baking paper.
Sift the flour in a large bowl.
In a saucepan, add together the golden syrup, sugar and spices with 1 teaspoon of water. Stir until all the ingredients combine and then bring it to the boil. Remove it from the heat and stir through the butter, bicarb of soda and the baking powder.
Add the hot spiced mix to the flour and blend until a dough is formed. Roll out the dough. As the dough is a bit buttery and wet, I find rolling the dough between two pieces of baking paper makes life easier. Place it in the fridge for 5 minutes to firm up before getting out the cookie cutter shapes.
I used a star, an angel and Christmas tree cookie cutters, but you can use a gingerbread man or woman, or any genderless shapes you fancy! With the help of a little elf, we cut out over forty biscuits, though how many you get is dependant on how thick you roll out your dough. I like my gingerbread biscuits quite thin and crunchy.
Bake the biscuits for between 7 to 10 minutes until they are slightly browned (but not too dark). Cool them on a cooling rack and store them in an air tight container.
You could decorate your biscuits with royal icing in a piping bag, but I’m not too fond of either piping bags, which leak icing everywhere, or having to make perfectly smooth royal icing. Therefore, I prefer melting white chocolate, adding food colouring and adding soft sugared pearls for decoration.
To get around not having to use piping bags, melt the chocolate in plastic zip loc sandwich bags in the microwave and add a few drops of food colouring and mix it through. Snip off a very small corner of the bag and pour over the biscuits. Too easy.
My whole house is now deliciously smelling of Christmas and I couldn’t be happier 😊