Gingerbread Christmas Treats!

December 24, 2015

It’s Christmas Eve and I FINALLY got a chance to use my new cookie cutters!

Some of you might know that I’ve caught the baking bug this year. Nothing too adventurous.. in fact, simple is best, especially when you take into account my (lack of) culinary ability. This summer I purchased Epic Kitchen Adventures by the lovely Raphael Gomes, and although there are many recipes I’ve still to try out, there’s one firm favourite of mine that’s perfect for the winter season. For those interested in picking up Rapha’s book, you can purchase it on Amazon HERE.

The recipe below comes courtesy of Rapha, although I have made a few tweaks here and there (which I’ve detailed clearly – some of you might prefer to stick with the pro’s measurements!)

You will need:

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115g butter (ideally at room temperature – you’ll thank me later, I’ve learned this one the hard way!)
120g brown sugar
1 egg
190g plain flour (plus extra for flouring your surface and rolling pin!)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda, I had to check they were the same thing!)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

*In terms of seasoning your cookie dough, I like mine to be super gingery and cinnamony (I just made those words up, we’ll go with it). Feel free to add as much as you like, this batch I used roughly 2 tablespoons of both ginger and cinnamon, plus I added a tablespoon of nutmeg as well!

You’ll also need scales for weighing your ingredients, a big bowl for mixing them together, some cling film, a rolling pin, a baking tray, greaseproof paper and some cookie cutters. Normally I just use round ones, but since it’s Christmas I ordered some festive ones from Amazon. I also ordered Tetris ones, but I’ll save those for another day…

One of the things I love most about Rapha’s recipes is that they’re plain and simple. No fancy steps, no fancy ingredients, just simple, yummy baking. So, here’s how you make them (with added commentary from me and my newly found wisdom). I’d recommend making the dough the day before you plan to eat them, as I’ll explain in step 4…

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1. Cream together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl until smooth. You now see why I recommended leaving the butter out the fridge for a while – the first time I made these, it took me FOREVER to do this step! It also helps if you cut the butter into small chunks before trying to cream it with the sugar :) When it’s done, it should look something like this:

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2. Add the egg to the mixture. Bonus points for you if you manage to stop the shell falling in too. Once the egg has been stirred in, your mixture won’t look as pleasant as it did 5 minutes previously – but fear not!

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3. Add the rest of your ingredients and stir together until they form a gingerbread dough!

4. Cover your bowl with the cling film and chill your dough for 15-30 minutes. I sometimes find that my gingerbread dough takes a little longer to come together, so now I tend to make my dough the night before I’m baking the biscuits to make sure the dough is fully proved. If you take it out of the fridge and it’s too hard to work with, just leave it at room temperature for 15-20 minutes and it’ll soften up :)

5. Preheat your oven to 175°C (or if your oven is a dinosaur like mine, try Gas Mark 4). Then line your baking tray with the greaseproof paper.

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6. Flour your surface and rolling pin, grab your cookie cutters and cut some shapes! Also, it’s really annoying me that I only put 3 Christmas trees on the top row in that photo…

7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. I’m paranoid about food poisoning, so I tend to leave mine in a little longer. Plus, I like my gingerbread biscuits to be a little darker in colour.

8. Cool your treats on a wire rack. Try not to eat them all at once!

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Feel free to go crazy with icing if you want to jazz yours up a bit – I prefer my ginger biscuits plain, whereas I like to ice plain ones :) Make sure you let me know if you try out this recipe! And make sure to check out Rapha’s book, it’s like my new baking bible :)

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