Christmas tree decorations have always fascinated me. My daughters loved the ritual of decorating the tree and getting presents which they then thought Santa had left them. When you bake all the ornaments that go on the Christmas tree, the fun doubles up because the house fills up with the holiday spirit as the sweet smell of ginger, cinnamon and cloves coming out of the oven spreads . And decorating the cookies with the icing makes you so cheerful!
The texture of the Gingerbread cookies can be to your liking. If you want them as an embellishment on the Christmas tree, then they need to be firmer so that they don’t break. The spices added to the dough gives them the characteristic flavour along with molasses or honey. You can used the cookies cutters to impart them the traditional shape of the tree, snowflakes, stars, hearts, stockings etc and decorate with a nice glaze. Here you go with the recipe…
- All purpose flour – 100 g
- Almond Meal – 30 g
- Cinnamon powder – 1/4 tsp
- Ginger powder- 1/4 tsp
- Cardamon powder – a pinch
- Cloves powder – a pinch
- Salt – a pinch
- Baking Soda – 1/8 tsp
- Baking Powder – 1/8 tsp
- Brown Sugar – 40 g
- Honey – 65 g
- Water – 2 tbsp
Mix into Icing
- Water 2 tsp
- Icing sugar – 60 g
- In a sauce pan, heat honey, brown sugar and water only till the honey and sugar melts. Cool.
- Mix the rest of the dry ingredients in a bowl and pour the honey mixture in it,
- Bring it together into a dough with a wooden spoon or spatula. Knead lightly with hand or stand mixer.
- Roll out the dough to the desired thickness between lightly dusted baking paper sheets. Cut out the desired shapes and place them on a tray lined with silicon baking mats about an inch apart.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees for 18-20 min.
- Cook on the tray for a couple of minutes and remove on to wire racks to cool further.
- Once cooled, decorate the cookies with the simple icing filled in an icing bag as per your liking.
Note that you need to remove the cookies from the hot tray as soon as you can as they keep cooking on the hot tray and turn a shade darker due to the presence of honey.
The texture achieved with the above recipe is slightly tougher as I use them to adorn the Christmas tree. Advantage is that they do not spread too much while baking and are able to keep the shape perfectly well. This cookie dough can also be used to make gingerbread house. If you want a lighter texture, use a quarter cup of softened butter and beat sugar and honey with it. Fold in the rest of the ingredients.
The possibilities to decorate the cookies are endless. Firstly, if you are going to hang them on the tree, then you need to punch a hole in the cookies at an appropriate place before you bake them. Secondly, you can add colours of red, green, gold and silver to the icing mix for a colourful effect. You could use edible sprinkles and glitter on the white icing. You can also stick M & Ms. Seriously sky is the limit for the decking up the cookies! Royal icing can be used in place of the icing recipe I have give.
You could replace honey with molasses or treacle to get the darker colour and the flavour.
There is no doubt that Gingerbread cookies are the best way to add festive cheer. With Christmas around the corner you can definitely try your hand at them. Believe me if you have small kids, you will have a great time with them making and decorating the cookies.