Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread cookies are my all time favourite treat to make for Christmas - everyone in my family is getting some these this year! The recipe is from The City Cake Company cookbook. The City Cake Co is an Auckland bakery and they make some of the most beautiful cakes you'll find. The cookbook is a real gem with recipes for all sorts of deliciuos sweet treats; their 3D chocolate cake -deep, dark and dense - is the best ever.

 Gingerbread Cookies

250g butter, softened
1/3C brown sugar
3T golden syrup
1 1/2t baking soda
1 1/2t boiling water
2 1/4C flour
3t ground ginger
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 150C an bake and line a cuple of baking trays with paper. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in syrup. Dissolve the baking soda in the water and mix into butter cream. Add in the flour, ginger and salt and mix until combined. (At this point you can wrap your dough up and refridgerate or freeze it.)

Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness. It is best to either flour your bench or roll it out between sheets of baking paper to stop it sticking. Using either a palette knife or cookie cutters, cut your dough into variuos shapes. I used a gingerbread man, stars, trees, candy canes and plain rounds. If you like you can also emboss your cookies once they're cut, but if you plan to ice them there's probably not much point.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until nicely golden. They should be a little soft when they come out since they'll harden up as the cool. Keep in mid that if you ice them they will soften.

Royal Icing 

There are a few points to keep in mind when using royal icing. Most important is that if you want to layer up the colours wait until the bottom layer is set. My star is a great example of what happens when you don't - as you can see the icing have melded together - fail! The other thing is that it's best to use a real piping bag as the icing is super sticky and will glue the sides together.

To make the icing, beat an egg white until thick ( though not meringue thick). Gradually add 2 cups sifted icing sugar and the juice of half a lemon. You have the right consistency when a line icing dribbled along the surface takes about 4 seconds to sink in. If it's not right either thin or thicken it with more icing sugar or lemon juice.

Seperate the icing into small bowls and mix in food colouring as you want.