So this is a first for me – gingerbread “things”. As it's the season, there are those who always make their Christmas thing. Be that rum balls, Pavlova, turkey, trifle, shortbread or <insert your signature Christmas thing>. See! You know what I mean. For me, I'm a bit fickle. Some years it would be turkey, or ham, or some new random recipe. One year it was pineapple and coconut truffles. This time, I'm putting to use my cookie cutters and my latest obsession – PANDAN.
As I'm sure you know, there are millions of gingerbread recipes out there. Most of them very similar. For me, I like them chewy. So I modified this American recipe from Brown Eyed Baker and for the icing, this recipe was the first one I found that was sound. Many Australian recipes call for golden syrup and American ones call for molasses. I decided to use treacle – something in-between.
Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
3 cups plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger (or 1.5tablespoons if you like the gingery taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
170g butter, cut into pieces and softened slightly (room temp)
3/4 cup treacle (you can also use molasses or golden syrup – depending how rich and dark you want it)
2 tablespoons milk
1. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and baking soda. stir in the sugar. Using a cake mixer with dough hook, add butter and mix at medium-low speed until mixture is sandy and resembles fine meal.
2. On low speed, with mixer running, gradually add treacle (quarter cup at a time) and milk (tablespoon at a time) alternating, starting and finishing with treacle. Mix until dough is evenly moistened then increase speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds.
3. Turn dough onto a clean work surface and divide in half. Working with one portion at a time, roll half a centimetre thick between two large sheets of baking paper. If you want them chewier – make them thicker, if you want it crispier, roll them thinner. (repeat for second portion)
4. Leaving dough sandwiched between baking paper, stack them on a cookie tray and freeze until firm, 15 to 20 minutes. Or, refrigerate dough 2 hours or overnight.
5. Preheat oven 175oC.
6. Remove one dough sheet from freezer. Peel off top baking sheet and place on a cookie tray. Cut dough into gingerbread people or things. Transferring shapes to the just line cookie sheet spacing them slightly apart. Repeat with remaining dough until cookie trays are full. Bake cookies until set in middle and dough barely retains imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, 7 to 10 minutes, rotating trays from front to back halfway through baking time. Do not over bake! Cool cookies on tray for a 2 minutes, then move to wire rack; cool to room temperature.
7. Gather scraps; repeat rolling, cutting and baking in step 6. If the dough gets too soft to handle, roll it out on the baking paper and freeze it for a few minutes. Repeat to use all the dough.
8. Once cookies are cooled to room temperature, you can decorate them.
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tspn vanilla essence
1/2 tpsn Pandan essence
a few tspn water (only if necessary)
1. place the egg white in a small bowl & beat with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually adding the icing sugar ½ a cup at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add vanilla and continue mixing. If the mixture gets too dry, add a few teaspoons of water.
2. If you want other colours, portion out some of this icing now. With remaining mixture add Pandan and stir to mix thoroughly.
3. TIME TO DECORATE! Pipe, spread – whatever takes your fancy. Allow icing to set (about 15 to 30 minutes).