Saturday 19 December 2009

Gingerbread Christmas Cookies

I love baking a batch of gingerbread cookies every Christmas. There is something so exciting about hunting out the Christmas cutters which make an appearance but once a year and cutting out all the fun shapes. The house fills with festive aromas as they bake, treacle and spices, and then spending a happy few hours decorating them to your hearts content. Getting creative with icing, sprinkles and glitter while Christmas songs play on the radio. It also snowed for the first time this week, so I really was in a highly Christmas mood. It was almost cliqued!

Although the cookies look lovely baked au-natural, it’s amazing what a little icing can do to really bring them to life and make them look special. I found a very easy way to decorate the Christmas tree cookies, simply pipe on a zig-zag of icing and then press the cookie lightly into a plate full of coloured sprinkles. Give it a little shake and you end up with a tinsel stream of sprinkles and no mess! Simple yet so effective.

I got an early Christmas present of some snowflake cutters last week. My mum found them and couldn’t resist giving them to me early so I could get use of them before Christmas day. Thanks mum! You can cut out a snowflake shape, but then cut out a middle design using special inside cutters to produce your own unique shaped snowflakes. So much fun!

I decorated the big ones like giant lacy snowflakes and the mini ones got a little sprinkle of some blue edible glitter for a magic frosty touch.

There were also angelic angels, smiling stars and bells.

I put little holes in the top of some of the cookies before baking which enabled me to thread a some ribbon through the tops and hang them on the Christmas tree. I was sitting next to the tree last night while watching television and the warming gingerbread smell drifting off the cookies was making me hungry.

They would also make great gifts, packed into little cellophane bags or just to have on hand for when friends call round. This is also my entry to Food Blogga’s Eat Christmas Cookies event. Click here to see the other entries.

Gingerbread Christmas Cookies
185g butter
200g soft brown sugar
350g plain flour
1 egg
2 tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp black treacle

To Decorate
Royal icing
Spinkles, glitters etc

Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg followed by the black treacle.
Add the spices and sift over the flour. Using a spatula, work the flour into the batter until a dough is formed. Use your hands towards the end to bring the mix into a dough. It will seem too dry as first but don’t be tempted to add any liquid as it does suddenly come together.
Kneed it gently until smooth. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and flatten slightly into a disc. Place in the fridge for 30minutes to firm up.
After 30 minutes, preheat your oven to 175C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Cut the dough in half and working with one piece at a time, roll it out on a floured surface until 3-4mm thick. Cut out a variety of shapes using festive cutters and place on the baking trays. They don’t spread so you can place them quite close together.
Bake in the oven for 8 minutes until golden and crisp.
Allow to cool for 2 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Once cooled, decorate with royal icing and sprinkles as desired.
Makes 45-55 cookies depending on size.

Note: If you want to hang some of the cookies on the Christmas tree, cut out a small hole at the top of each cookie using the tip of a small piping nozzle before baking. Tread through a piece of ribbon when cool.


Susan from Food Blogga said...

Katie, I have to say that these are some of the most enchanting gingerbread cookies I have ever seen. You are gifted! Happy Holidays, my dear!

Caroline said...

They are so beautifully decorated Katie - wonderful. I love the idea of dipping the christmas trees in coloured balls to get strands of tinsel, I may have to borrow that if you don't mind! The snowflake cookie cutter set is amazing too - I bet you had lots of fun with that!

Chele said...

Wow - how fantastic are these cookies. You are so clever!

Monica H said...

Those are gorgeous cookies! I love the contrast of the rich warm brown against the white. Glad you got to use your cookie cutters early!

Angela said...

Oh, they're beautiful, Katie! I love the Christmas trees with tinsel. I may have to make a batch with Lucas if I gete time.

Merry Christmas!

Unknown said...

O they are so pretty! Congratulations!

Johanna GGG said...

they are gorgeous - I am in awe of your control of the icing gun/piping bag - I just wish I could wield it so masterfully

Katie said...

Wow, how neat is your work! They look beautifully professional.

Anonymous said...

Your cookies look perfect - you piped them wonderfully!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

lovely! the snowflakes are so beautiful-- i'd love to have a tree full of those! merry christmas!!

BumbleVee said...

your snowflakes are beautiful !

Nic said...

Stunning Katie!

Anonymous said...

Dear Katie,
This gingerbread is just beautiful. Could you please let me know where the cutters came from?
Many thanks, Sophie

Katie said...

Hi Sophie,

The cookie cutters are ones I have gathered over the years. I got the snowflakes one from my mother 2 years ago. She picked them up at a food show. I belive you can get some on Amazon if you look for snowflake cutters. Good cook shops should have some too.
Best of luck