Friday, 24 December 2010

Gingerbread

I always make gingerbread men at Christmas time – there’s something about the warming spice of ginger that seems festive. This year, I decided to give my trusted recipe a rest, and try a new version; mainly because my recipe is more of a biscuit and I wanted to find a truer ginger-bread.


This recipe intrigued me because of its unusual method; it doesn’t require you to melt the butter and syrup/treacle, and the flour is self raising. It also includes an egg. Using dark treacle (my usual recipe uses the paler golden syrup) produced a darker, spicier biscuit that I particularly enjoyed. I also found the dough easier to work with than some gingerbreads:


Wherever I travel I’m always likely to return with biscuit cutters and cake tins! Salzburg was no exception and I came back with two rather unusual biscuit cutters in my suitcase: a Krampus cutter ...


...and a cutter in the shape of the Stiegl brewery logo...


....oh yes, my Christmas biscuits can be filed under “e” for “eclectic” this year! Just to balance out the weirdness I did go for the more standard Christmas cutters:


It pains me to type this next sentence, but I’ve noticed that – over the Christmas period – people don’t always seem to want cake whereas they’ll always gladly accept a biscuit. Do you think I made enough?


Happy Christmas to you all – I hope your Christmas is filled with sugar and spice and everything nice!

Ingredients

325g self raising flour
3 teaspoons ground ginger – I used a lot more, but this is a guideline amount
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
85g unsalted butter, from the fridge
115g dark brown sugar
85g black treacle ( I tried a second batch with 45g golden syrup and 40g black treacle and preferred it)
1 egg

To decorate: whatever you choose!

Method

Place the flour, ginger, cinnamon and butter in a food processor and blitz until you have something akin to breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a food processor rub the butter into the flour, then stir in the spices – it will stop your fingers getting stained with the spice!

Place the brown sugar, black treacle and egg in a mixing bowl and beat until runny and well combined. I always place the mixing bowl on the scales when weighing out black treacle as it saves you having to scrape it out of the scale's bowl.

Tip the flour mixture into the treacle mixture and beat until the dough forms clumps.

Tip the dough onto a large sheet of clingfilm and use the clingfilm to help you bring the dough together – I recommend this for three reasons: firstly it saves you over-handling the dough, secondly you don’t get dirty and thirdly, you don’t have to add extra flour to the dough to stop it sticking so the finished biscuit will be softer and moister.

Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/fan oven 160˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4.

Line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Roll out the dough between two sheets of clingfilm – don’t add flour unless necessary – I needed a little flour when I used solely black treacle as I had sticky treacle patches in my dough; it definitely made it harder to re-roll. You’re aiming to roll it about 0.5cm thick. When I used a blend of black treacle and golden syrup no flour was necessary and re-rolling was a dream!

Use the cutters you have chosen to cut out the dough.

Re-roll the scraps and keep on until you have used all the dough. If you’ve dusted the surface with flour, it may be hard to get the gingerbread back into a ball; try wetting your hands a little and kneading the dough – it should do the trick!

Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the biscuits feel firm to the touch.

Leave, in the trays, for 10 minutes to firm up, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Decorate as desired.

Gingerbread gets better with age – make this several days in advance for a biscuit that packs a punch with its flavour!

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.

Eat.

7 comments:

Victoria said...

CC...yum yum yum!! i've finished wrapping all my goodie bags and barely have enough left over for me :( next year....double the gingerbread...triple the shortbread....have a fantastic holiday!!! i love the birdies! :)

Katie said...

Awww I love the robin gingerbread, so cute! Have a wonderful day!

Cakelaw said...

I love the Krampus ones - I know that they aren't supposed to be adorable, but they are. Merry Xmas Crusader!

C said...

They look delicious - and I love the way they're all smiling so happily, unaware of the terrible fate that awaits them.... Love the novelty cutters too!

Do you think that on balance you preferred this year's recipe or last years? How much ginger did you end up using? I love strong ginger but don't want to blow heads off....

Baking Addict said...

Happy (belated) Christmas! I hope you had a good one. I agree with you about people accepting biscuits over cake, you definitely cant have too many gingerbread! The robin is my favourite :)

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi C

I ended up using 10 tsp of ground ginger - it was too hot for some. In hindsight, as the gingerbread matured I think it was a little too much. Next time I'd use 6 tsp.

I preferred this thicker, more bready gingerbread.

C said...

Thanks for the reply - I'll bear those quantities in mind!