I love this time of year.
My Christmas tree goes up December 1st, sharp.
I don one of my two Christmas jumpers (then cycle them throughout the month so I don’t have to worry about not looking the part whilst one is in the wash).
I dust-off my most festive Spotify playlist.
Best of all, though, my house smells permanently of gingerbread for an entire month, with the occasional Christmas Cake / mince pie interlude. I first started edible gifting a few years ago, and these are far and away my most-requested treat.
I know which loved one likes thin, crunchy gingerbread, and who prefers them soft and pillowy.
So I’ll roll a batch a little thinner / thicker, and adjust the baking times just a tad to make sure everyone’s happy. If you’re entertaining little ones over the festive season, decorating gingerbread is the perfect distraction!
They can get in on the dough-making if they’re old enough, but you can bake them ahead if the kids are really little, and leave them to run riot with a piping bag and some sprinkles. Maybe an apron, too. Last year, I made a giant, customised Gingerbread biscuit for my sister’s kids to leave out for Santa alongside the obligatory mince pie.
Honestly, this is the first year I’ve bothered! Usually a little dusting of icing sugar and maybe some edible glitter does the trick nicely.If you do decide to pipe, just don’t stress it. A little imperfection here & there is how you tell they’re homemade! Keep it as simple or elaborate as you please.
If you wanted to make decorations for the tree, simply use a straw or cocktail stick to poke a hole near the top of the biscuit before baking.
I actually had heaps of fun with this! So much so, that I thought it’d be lovely to get my other half in on the act. Sometimes I forget he’s not as into Christmas as me.
- 400 g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 180 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 medium free-range egg
- 125 g dark brown / muscovado sugar
- 125 g black treacle
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups icing sugar, sifted
- food colouring (of your choice, optional)
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, bicarb., spices and salt.
In a free-standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on slow speed until light and fluffy.
Turn up to medium speed and beat in the egg, then the treacle.
Reduce the speed to low, and add the flour mixture one spoonful at a time.
Once an even dough has formed, remove from the bowl, divide into 3 equal portions and clingfilm.
Chill in the fridge, ideally overnight.
Preheat the oven to 170C, and remove one of your dough disks from the fridge to soften for 10 minutes.
Flour a clean surface and roll out the dough to a thickness of around 4mm.
Cut out Christmassy shapes and bake on a tray lined with baking parchment for 7-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your dough and how soft / crunchy you’d like your biscuits. (Less time for soft, more for crunchy).
Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
Whisk the egg whites together with the vanilla extract until frothy. Sift in the icing sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth.
Beat on a high speed for 5 minutes until thick and glossy.
At this point, add food dye if you’re using it, then spoon into an icing bag and pipe directly onto your biscuits.
Nutritional Information per medium-sized biscuit without icing:
Calories: 38 / Protein: 1g / Carbohydrate: 5g / Fat: 2g / Fibre: 0g
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