While a Christmas tree is the universal symbol of Christmas and the turkey can be the essential main dish in the dinner with family and friends, none of these have the magical power to amplify, all at the same time, the different shades of joy that radiate during Christmas. You will be surprised how seemingly small things that make Christmas what it is, so memorable. Think of something which can actually enhance the decoration of your must-have Christmas tree, while you could engage your children while you prepare them in your kitchen with messy hands and creative designs. Something which you could simply pick from the Christmas tree and eat or you can gift them to your near and dear ones as a personalised gesture of compliments of the holiday season. The Oscar for the best actor in a leading role in all Christmases goes to none other than the Gingerbread Cookies.
The sweet taste of ginger and cinnamon which is so nice during winter, captured in shapes of your choice or those of your children trying out baking, can be used to decorate your Christmas tree in the living room. You could literally pick them from the tree to eat or wrap them as gifts. A cost-effective, multi-purpose, delightfully delicious item during Christmas to tick many boxes at once– bonding of baking together, joy of decorating the tree, tea time munching and sharing the love as a gift. Why not try to bond, have joy, feast and share personalised gift (love) this Christmas? I do!
- Preparation time: 45 mins
- Baking time: 12 mins – 15 mins
- Moderately easy
- Serves: 12 – 15 people
Ingredients I Used:
– 350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
– 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
– 2 tsp ground ginger
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 125g/4½oz butter
– 175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
– 1 free-range egg
– 4 tbsp golden syrup
– writing icing (I used ready made squeeze tubes in white and pink)
You can use cake decorations as well, take full liberty the way you want to decorate.
Lets make now
Step One: Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor.
Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
Step Two: Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together.
Beat the egg and mix with golden syrup in a separate bowl
Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfim and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Step Three: Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Step Four: Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread cookie shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
Step Five: Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.
Take one round-shaped cap of your icing set and create a hole on some of the cookies before putting them on the oven so that you can put a ribbon through and hang on the tree
Step Six: Thread a ribbon through the hole and wrap up in cellophane or decorative tissue paper, if giving as a gift.
Cut the excess ribbon out
Top tips on icing and decorating cookies:
- Skip the royal icing. Skip the pastry bags and the piping tips to save time and hassle. Embrace your lazy inner baker and buy a couple or more ready made icing tubes, they are available in different colors (if you are lucky to get the stock now). I find that squeeze bottles or squeeze tubes work just as well as piping bags for decorating and are easier for non-pro bakers to work with and they’re easy to clean or dispose off.
You will always have one or two burnt cookies from first batch, don’t throw them away, use them to practice icing
2. Practice a little piping on a flat surface or unused baking sheet before decorating cookies. You can also make designs beforehand and have them ready in front of you while icing the cookies.
3. Since Gingerbread cookies are the best candidates for decorating with icing, go wild and creative in your design. Also because these cookies are sturdy enough that they won’t crumble as you work with them and have large flat areas that are just begging for a bit of decoration.
Use a toothpick to correct any imperfections
4. Make sure your cookie are completely cool before you start decorating or the icing will melt as you decorate. I usually find it easiest to make the cookies on one day and decorate them the next. Since the decorating itself is fairly time consuming. If you care to know, this post is a production of two full working days.
5. Allow the cookies to dry after icing. Leave the cookies undisturbed for at least 24 hours to fully dry. Depending on the thickness of your icing (these ones took less than 3 hours to dry as the icing was ready made) and the layers on the cookie, it may take longer. When the cookies are dry, the surface of the cookies will be completely smooth, dry, and resistant to nicks or smudges.
6. The benefit of using squeeze tube icing is, they will keep for several days. It’s best to store unused icing in the fridge and let it warm to room temperature before using.
7. If you are using readymade icing like I did, read the instructions on the packaging before starting to icing.
Top tips on packaging Gingerbread Cookies:
I can go little crazy when it comes to creative wrapping solutions. To keep this post within a readable size limit, I’m sharing only two options which can easily turn any batch of cookies into a thoughtful homemade gift for anyone one your list.
1. Putting them in a glass jar may be an obvious choice but these cookies are bigger than the usual size, hence, putting them in a paper box/bag or wrapping in gift tissue paper or ribbon tied cellophane bag are some of the best options.
2. For home use, I would put them tea towel wrapped in a crochet bread basket to serve with tea. You can use a loaf tin too.
Once you are done with wrapping them into a perfect present, keep the rest for eating at home and if you are like me, make them into Christmas tree decorations.