As we head into winter, there’s something about the evenings drawing in that makes me seek out home comforts. I love to make the house all cosy, so as the light fades, I turn on the fairy lights and light all my candles. But what I find most comforting is filling the house with the warming aromas of gingerbread spices. Cinnamon, ginger and cardamom and combined with a gentle zing of orange. Heaven to the senses!
My children love baking with me and they never tire of making gingerbread biscuits. We try and make extra to hang on the tree. It does look pretty and the house smells amazing but they tend not to last very long! This recipe that I’m sharing with you is easy to prepare and needs minimal chilling time. Sometimes I prepare the dough in advance, the night before so that it’s ready for little hands the following day. The recipe itself is based on a traditional Swedish pepperkakor (gingerbread) recipe recommended to me by a friend. I’ve tweaked some of the spice combinations and added some orange zest as I just love that combination. The dough is so easy to work with and is perfect for young and old. The dough can be rolled out nice and thin, so that when baked it has a lovely crunch to it and snaps beautifully in your fingers. Or you can roll it out a little thicker so that the biscuits have a chewy texture to them when baked.
I have a lot of cookie cutters, and my children love going through all the tins to find their favourite cutters as well as discovering new ones. Because of course, it’s always a growing collection! Anyway, if you’d like to have a go, here comes the reipe:
Ingredients for the dough (makes around 50 medium-sized biscuits)
150g light muscovado sugar
50ml golden syrup
450g white plain flour
2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamon
11/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Zest from 2 unwaxed oranges
pinch of salt
Additional items: baking sheet, baking paper, icing nozzle, cookie cutters, ribbon, palette knife
First, in the bowl of a food mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and golden syrup until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Using a bowl big enough to contain all of the ingredients, sieve the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, bicarbonate of soda and orange zest. Add a good pinch of salt.
Add half of the flour mixture into the food mixer, turn the food mixer onto a low speed and combine. Add the last half of the flour mixture and pour in some of the water. Again combine slowly in the mixer, adding more water if the dough is dry. Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured worktop and gently knead until you have a supple dough. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to chill. The dough can be left overnight but I find it handles well after 30 minutes of chilling.
Gather all your cutters. If there are biscuits that are going to made into tree decorations, I also have a little circular cutter, for making holes in the dough shapes before baking.
Line a baking sheet with baking paper and preheat the oven to 180degC. Now roll out the dough to a 0.5cm thickness (maximum), ensuring the worktop is lightly floured to prevent the dough sticking. And cut out your shapes using cookie cutters of your choice. Baking time takes around 6-12 minutes but can vary from oven to oven. Larger and thicker biscuits will take longer to bake. When baked, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. These biscuits will keep for several weeks if stored in an airtight container – they never last long in my household though!
If you fancy taking your gingerbread skills to another level, you could always try making cute gingerbread houses to top your Christmas cake. The traditional fruit cake has never been popular in my house, so I always bake a more modern style of cake for Christmas – red velvet layer cake is always a popular one especially with that festive colour! I really hope you enjoy making these recipes with your loved ones. Happy December! Xx
Festive baking is for everyone as you can see from this video with all the cuteness and all the festive feels: