If there’s something I always make the effort to bake at Christmas, it’s gingerbread. Chewy, soft and deliciously spicy, they are perfect with a cup of tea or as a sweet treat after dinner.
You can quite easily leave this recipe uniced – the biscuits carry enough flavour and are sweet enough to be moorish even without the extra sugar. However, if I’m giving them away as gifts, or serving them to others, I’ll generally do a squiggle of royal icing (as pictured below). It cuts through the richness, and also looks very festive.
If you have children at home over the school holidays, these biscuits are also great to ice and decorate. Let your imagination run wild with coloured icing, sprinkles, silver cachous and mini M&Ms.
Gingerbread biscuits, adapted from Taste.com.au
- 100g butter
- 200g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
- 330g (1 cup) treacle or golden syrup
- 2 eggs, lightly whisked
- 600g (4 cups) plain flour
- 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 2 egg whites
- 420g (2 2/3 cup) icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Place the butter, sugar and treacle in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, sift together the flours, spices and bicarbonate of soda.
- Combine the butter and egg mixture in a large bowl. Add the flour mixture and stir until well combined. Use your hands to bring the dough together and ensure the mixture is smooth.
- Split the dough in half, and cover each portion with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to rest.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 2-3 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Remove one portion of dough from the fridge and split into manageable portions (I usually do 2-3). Roll out each portion on baking paper or a lightly floured surface until 5mm thick. Use Christmas cookie cutters to cut shapes from the dough. Place on the lined trays and bake for 8 minutes or until golden, but still soft. Set aside on trays for 5 minutes to cool, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
- To make royal icing, place the egg whites in a bowl and use a whisk to beat the egg whites until foamy. Sift the icing sugar over the egg whites and stir until smooth. Add lemon juice and stir until well combined. Colour icing if desired before placing into piping bag fitted with 4mm plain nozzle. Pipe icing onto the biscuits, adding decorations if desired. Set aside for 1-2 hours to set. Serve. Makes approximately 60 biscuits.