Gingerbread Trees and Snowmen Bakes
There's nothing quite like the comforting taste of gingerbread to warm your insides. The flexible dough is super easy for you and your little ones to make, and great fun to decorate. It is so satisfying to push the cookie cutters into the dough and to then see your gingerbread shapes bake into the most delicious cookies. To save some pennies, homemade gingerbread could be given as a gift and even sent to loved ones in the post. We'll be sharing our top tips for the most delicious gingerbread and what to avoid, below, as well as some gift wrapping ideas.
Let's get started...
What you'll need
For the dough
- 125g of butter, chopped
- 350g of plain flour, plus a bit extra to dust
- 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
- 2 heaped teaspoons of ground ginger
- 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 175g of light brown muscovado sugar
- 1 medium egg
- 4 tablespoons of golden syrup
For the decorations
- 250g of icing sugar, sifted
- Food colouring for some of the icing (optional)
- Edible silver balls (optional)
Here's how to make them...
- Sieve together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon into a large bowl (or food processor if you have one). Slightly warm the butter in a microwave for a few seconds, being careful not to melt it, and add in. Blend all together so that it looks like breadcrumbs, and then stir in the sugar.
Top tip for the next step: Don't overwork your biscuit dough when bringing it together or rolling it out. Overworking will result in a tough biscuit.
- Beat the egg lightly with the golden syrup until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, then knead it briefly until it feels smooth. Once done, wrap it in some cling-film and place it in the fridge for at least 30 mins to chill.
Top tip: At this point you could cut the mixture in half and freeze in cling-film (wrap twice) for future use. It lasts for up to a month, and can be defrosted overnight in the fridge.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Cover two baking trays with greaseproof paper in anticipation.
- Now for the fun bit. Lightly flour the surface and a rolling pin, and then roll the dough out to an approx. 0.5cm thickness. Using Christmas tree or snowmen, or other, cutters push into the dough to cut your gingerbread pieces. Place them on a baking tray, leaving at least 2 cm of space between each.
Top tip: Pre-plan where your cutter will be placed each time in order to optimise the surface area of the dough.
- All you now need to do is bake them for approx. 12–15 minutes, or until they start to turn a lightly golden-brown. Leave to cool on the baking tray for a further 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack. When completely cooled it’s time to decorate.
- To decorate, mix the icing sugar with 5/6 tablespoons of hot water for a thick icing. Scrape all into a piping bag (disposable ones are fine to use too if you snip a very small piece off the end). Now your little ones can create their works of art. Allow to fully dry.
Top tip: For gift-wrapping and longevity, wrap each gingerbread piece individually in cling-film. If sending by mail, place each gingerbread piece between wrapping paper that has been cut into lots of fine strips, then pack inside a box tightly so the pieces can't move around.