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 spiced gingerbread.
These gingerbread stars can easily be made into Christmas tree decorations and make wonderful gift tags presented in a clear cellophane bag tied with ribbon. 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
- White writing gel or royal icing for decorations
- Silver cachous (optional)
Preheat your oven to 180c/350f and line two or three large baking trays with baking paper.
In a small saucepan, combine the butter, golden syrup, spices and 1 teaspoon of water. Stir until the butter has melted, then remove from the heat and add in the bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. This will make the mixture froth.
Add the flour to a mixing bowl, or mixer, and slowly add and stir through the spice mixture until a dough forms.
As the dough is very buttery, it’s best to roll out the dough in between two sheets of baking paper. I like mine rolled thin at around 2 or 3 mm thickness, but 5 mm is normal. Refrigerate it for 10 minutes. I used a 5 cm diameter star cookie cutter to cut out my biscuits, but you can make gingerbread boys and girls if you prefer. Before you bake them use a skewer to make a small hole for threading through ribbon or string to turn them into Christmas tree decorations (it’s disastrous to attempt this after they have been baked).
Bake them for approximately 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. Leave them to cool completely before decorating them.
I cheated a bit by using white writing gel instead of royal icing for the decorations, but it’s up to you. I always manage to mess up my royal icing mix, so I avoid using it if I can. I added dots, stripes and snowflakes shapes and then added a silver cachous in the middle. I also rolled out some white fondant to make some mini snowflakes using a snowflake cookie cutter.
Merry Christmas 🎅🏼