When it comes to looks, the spiced gingerbread cookie is decorative enough to double up as a tree decoration, but best of all, cooking this recipe will fill your kitchen with a festive aroma. The source of this great smell is also the source of their great taste - golden syrup or molasses. Mmmmmm....
Depending on how brave you're feeling, you can get the kids to decorate them although I completely understand why you wouldn't. Just remember – it's all sugar and washes off easily!
Speaking of clearing up, I also like to make life hard for myself by making my own decorating icing. This is largely because the list of ingredients in the shop-bought stuff is a bit scary – diglycerides, titanium dioxide, glucono delta to name just three of the long list of mystery ingredients. So what's another bowl to wash up after the kids have turned your work surfaces into a sea of sugary stickiness?
Anyway, on to to recipes...
Spiced Gingerbread Cookies
5 oz unsalted butter, cubed and softened
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup treacle (Lyle's golden syrup if possible, otherwise molasses)
2¼ cups plain flour - sifted
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground cloves
¾ tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg white
½ tsp lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
Food coloring if you wish
Grease and cover two baking pans with parchment paper. Beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy, then beat in the treacle and egg.
Fold in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough in half and roll out between 2 sheets of parchment paper to ¼ “ thickness. Lay the dough on the pans and chill for 15 minutes until just firm. Or at this point you can freeze, if you want to make the dough ahead.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut out the dough using a heart-shaped cutter. Using a straw cut a hole in the top of the heart (You can thread these later).
Lay on the pans and bake for 10 minutes. Leave for 5 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
To make the icing. Whisk the egg until foamy. Add the lemon juice and sugar and stir until glossy. Tint any color you want and decorate by spooning into a piping bag.
Makes about 24 (using a 3” heart cutter)
Lisa Davies previously enjoyed a career in marketing and as a brand strategist and is now filling her days taking care of her twins – The Ladies™ just outside of NYC in suburban wilderness.
Her love of food started at home as her mum made sure they ate very well. Later on as a student in France and Spain, she discovered cheese. More recently she took La Technique course at the French Culinary Institute in SoHo, NYC where she really enjoyed dressing up in my chef’s whites. Lisa has a food blog www.thislittlepiggywenttothefarmersmarket.com and writes a column What's for Dinner? on Barista Kids. She can be found tweeting @lilysiand.