I spotted the first of the Christmas decorations going up all over the city about a week before Halloween. A little early for my liking but I made a mental note, ever aware of how I tend to let Christmas creep up on me and send me into a mini panic. Dawning on me today that this thought was one I had, had over a month ago and simultaneously trying to entertain my preschooler, I present to you our home made ginger bread cookies. The spicy sweet aroma of ginger, cinnamon and cloves has really got us into the festive mood.
365g plain flour
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
110g brown sugar
1 medium egg
4 tbsp golden syrup
1. Combine the plain flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and bicarbonate of soda and then sift into a large bowl.
2. Add the butter and combine with your fingers until it forms crumbs, then mix in the sugar.
3. In a small separate bowl, mix the egg and golden syrup to combine then add to the crumb mixture and mix till it forms a soft dough.
4. Empty out the cookie dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a little to fully combine. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
5. Cut to size, 2-4 sheets of baking paper (depends on cookie size, thickness and the size of your baking tray as to how many you will need) to fit your cookie sheet and roll out your dough to around 0.3-0.5 cm thickness depending on your preference for a thin crisp cookie (keeps truer to cookie cutter shape) or a chunky cookie.
6. Cut out your desired shapes using your cookie cutters and remove the excess dough around them being careful not to touch the cookie shapes themselves. Arrange the shapes evenly out onto the baking paper by carefully peeling the baking sheet away from the cookie shapes one at a time (like you would with a sticker on its backing paper) and letting it drop onto your hand (wrong way facing), then place back into your desired position (right way facing) onto the baking paper. Repeat till you have used up your own dough.
7. Using the baking paper to pick them up, place the cookies together with the baking paper onto the cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 12 – 15 minutes at 180 degree Celsius.
8. Let them cool for 15 minutes before moving to a wire rack to completely cool.
9. Decorate by piping on icing, melting chocolate and adding sprinkles, whatever takes your fancy.
We played with different styles and techniques and had loads of fun.
Image credit: All images Anna Hui