Gingerbread

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By Darren Purchese

The intoxicating scent of baking gingerbread brings sheer joy. The air is filled with the rich aroma of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and the other delicious spices. This spicy and sweet fragrance unmistakably declares, "It's Christmas," evoking nostalgic memories and a comforting sense of warmth, even amidst the summer heat.

Gingerbread offers versatility in shapes, ranging from houses to people or simple cookies, either plain or adorned with icing, candies, or other embellishments. For gingerbread houses, we recommend extended baking to ensure crispiness and structural stability. In contrast, gingerbread people can be baked slightly less for a chewier, softer texture.

My spice mix recipe is generous, as I prefer to keep it on hand for subsequent batches of gingerbread and for other culinary creations, such as adding a pinch to hot chocolate or a Christmas cocktail. Adjust the recipe if you find it too much or store it in the fridge or freezer until needed again.

Time

1

hour

30

minutes

Degree of Difficulty

Easy

Save

0

Portions

servings

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Ingredients

Servings

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GINGERBREAD SPICE

18g cinnamon powder
14g clove powder
8g nutmeg powder
18g star anise powder
14g ginger powder
18g cardamom powder

GINGERBREAD DOUGH

800g plain flour sieved
28g gingerbread spice
225g caster sugar
15g bicarbonate of soda
125 ml water, hot
375g honey
50g unsalted butter
1

For the gingerbread spice… mix all of the spices together and sieve. Store in a sealed container in the fridge until needed.

 

2

For the gingerbread dough… Add the flour, sugar, gingerbread spice, honey, salt and butter to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on a low speed until you have a fine sandy texture and there are no lumps of butter. Stir the bicarbonate of soda into the hot water and add that to the mixture. Mix until all the ingredients have come together as dough.

 

3

To roll the dough… turn the dough out onto a bench and bring together into a ball with your hands. Take two large sheets of baking paper and lightly dust one with flour, add the dough ball to the paper and flatten out with your hands. Lightly dust a little flour and lay the other piece of paper on top. Use a rolling pin to smooth and flatten the dough, lift the paper and put it back on top if it starts to crinkle. Flatten and roll the dough to 1 cm thick and place the rolled sheet with the paper attached into the fridge to rest for 1 hour.

 

4

To cut the gingerbread… remove the dough from the fridge and release it from both pieces of paper. Lay it back onto a lightly floured bench and use festive cutters to cut shapes from your dough. After each cut make sure your cutters are clean and you can dip the cutter into flour before each cut to ensure it comes out cleanly. Cut all of the dough and reroll any scraps (see above) for more festive cookies.

 

5

To bake the gingerbread… pre-heat the oven to 170ºC and line flat baking trays with baking paper. Place cookies well-spaced apart onto the trays and bake in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. Once cool they should be hard and crunchy. Bake all of the biscuits and leave all pieces to cool on a wire rack.

 

1
0 hours 0 minutes

For the gingerbread spice… mix all of the spices together and sieve. Store in a sealed container in the fridge until needed.

2
0 hours 0 minutes

For the gingerbread dough… Add the flour, sugar, gingerbread spice, honey, salt and butter to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on a low speed until you have a fine sandy texture and there are no lumps of butter. Stir the bicarbonate of soda into the hot water and add that to the mixture. Mix until all the ingredients have come together as dough.

3
0 hours 0 minutes

To roll the dough… turn the dough out onto a bench and bring together into a ball with your hands. Take two large sheets of baking paper and lightly dust one with flour, add the dough ball to the paper and flatten out with your hands. Lightly dust a little flour and lay the other piece of paper on top. Use a rolling pin to smooth and flatten the dough, lift the paper and put it back on top if it starts to crinkle. Flatten and roll the dough to 1 cm thick and place the rolled sheet with the paper attached into the fridge to rest for 1 hour.

4
0 hours 0 minutes

To cut the gingerbread… remove the dough from the fridge and release it from both pieces of paper. Lay it back onto a lightly floured bench and use festive cutters to cut shapes from your dough. After each cut make sure your cutters are clean and you can dip the cutter into flour before each cut to ensure it comes out cleanly. Cut all of the dough and reroll any scraps (see above) for more festive cookies.

5
0 hours 0 minutes

To bake the gingerbread… pre-heat the oven to 170ºC and line flat baking trays with baking paper. Place cookies well-spaced apart onto the trays and bake in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. Once cool they should be hard and crunchy. Bake all of the biscuits and leave all pieces to cool on a wire rack.