Christmas baking, in my opinion, is the best kind of baking. I love turning on the Christmas carols, making a pot of tea and putting aside some time to enjoy the process. Gingerbread is a great option for two reasons: it is a simple recipe that is easy to multiply and the cookies keep well for up to three weeks if stored in an airtight container. Plus, they look so lovely when decorated with icing and wrapped in cellophane for handing out to friends and family. Although the scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger pair well with this time of year, by no means should gingerbread be reserved only for the festive season. These sweet love hearts would work very well as bonbonniere – try decorating the cookies with your initials, or if you are adventurous, make a gingerbread bride and groom. In any case, you will love this recipe – enjoy!
Makes approximately 36 cookies. Double if required.
You Will Need:
2 x large baking trays
Love heart cookie cutter
Wire rack for cooling
125g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup Icing sugar, sifted
1 egg white
Step One. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius, line two large baking trays with baking paper.
Step Two. Use a mixer to beat sugar and butter until light and creamy. Add egg and golden syrup and mix until combined. Fold in dry ingredients until dough consistency forms.
Step Three. Lightly flour a flat surface and tip dough out onto it. Knead gently until smooth. Press into a rough disc-like shape and wrap well with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step Four. Remove from fridge, place dough between two sheets of baking paper and use a rolling pin to roll out until the dough is approximately 3-4mm thick. Use a cookie cutter to gently cut out shapes. I used a small love heart shape and a medium sized scone cutter. Use a spatula or butter knife to transfer shapes to baking tray. Space cookies 2-3cm apart on tray.
Step Five. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browned on top. Bake in batches if required. Allow to cool completely on wire rack.
Step Six. Beat egg white until soft peaks form. Spoon in icing sugar while beating until stiff peaks form. Spoon icing mixture into snap lock bag and seal. Place in fridge until ready to use.
Step Seven. When cookies are completely cool, snip the tiniest bit off the corner of the snapback bag and use to pipe decorative icing around cookies. Try different patterns and styles and see which ones you like best. Allow icing to set for around 15 minutes then either place into cellophane bags or a large airtight container until ready to enjoy!
Recipe and image by Jessica Derrick
Ms Zigzag says: These little love heart gingerbreads get me in the mood for Christmas, for baking, and I pray the next wedding I attend gifts these as wedding favours – I wouldn’t be able to resist gobbling them up on the way home from the wedding.
About Jessica Derrick: I’m a writer and a lover of words and stories, pretty papers and flowers. I find great satisfaction in creating something beautiful from the simplest of materials. I’m happiest in a home bustling with conversation and music, sitting at a beautifully decorated table surrounded by good friends and delicious food – with a glass of champagne in hand, of course!