Gingerbread!

Gingerbread
Perfect for every festive occasion: Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween…
You might be tempted to make a double batch, but DON’T — this recipe makes a LOT. Trust me. I once made a TARDIS using less than a full batch.

Recipe from taste.com.au.

Gather:
3 + 1/3 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt

150 g butter (room temp.)
175 g dark brown sugar
150 g honey*
1 egg

Royal icing, to decorate (optional)
1 egg white
1.5 to 2 cups icing mixture
Food colouring (optional)
Silver cachous (optional)

Then:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180º C.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
    Spices and flour
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until it’s pale and fluffy.
  4. Still mixing, add the honey and egg, and mix until fully combined.
  5. On a slow speed, very gradually add in the dry ingredients until fully incorporated — you should have a dry, “bitsy” kind of dough.
  6. Use your hands to finish forming the dough — grab the contents of the stand mixer bowl and squeeze it into a single lump.**
  7. Break the dough into three lumps and set two aside to rest at room temperature, wrapped in cling wrap.
  8. Lay out a big sheet of baking paper on your bench top, and dust your rolling pin with a little flour.
  9. Put the dough on the baking paper, and lay a large sheet of cling wrap on top — your dough is now sandwiched between two non-stick surfaces!
  10. Roll out the dough until it’s about half a centimetre thick — too thick and you’ll have soft, doughy gingerbread; too thin makes for crispy biscuits that burn easily at the edges.
  11. Remove the cling wrap and cut out shapes from the flattened dough — use a cookie cutter… or draw a template on another piece of baking paper, lay that on top of the dough, and cut around it.
  12. Here’s the genius part: Just lift the whole bottom layer of baking paper and plonk it onto a baking tray — no need to try and peel the uncooked shapes off one surface and onto another!
  13. Bake each batch for 5–8 minutes, depending on how thick your biscuits are. You want them to be golden at the edges and dry all over.
  14. Remove from the oven and transfer the whole sheet of baking paper, biscuits and all, to a cooling rack — they need to be room temp or cooler before you start decorating, or the icing will go everywhere.
  15. To decorate, whisk together the egg white and icing mixture (and food colouring, if you’re feeling colourful) until you have a smooth liquid, stick it in a piping bag (or a zippy bag with the corner snipped off) and pipe patterns onto the cooled gingerbread. If you’re really in the festive spirit, press silver cachous into the icing before it sets.

Notes:
*I recently acquired some tar-dark, sweetly-spicy buckwheat honey, and it works a treat. So go crazy! Forget the clear, liquidy supermarket honey and try something really rare and intense.

**The dough should be quite soft and malleable — not dry and crumbly. If it’s too dry, add a tiny splash of milk and knead it in. Repeat, if necessary, until you’ve got a workable dough.

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