"Run, Run, as fast as you can. You can't catch me, I am a gingerbread man!" That is what comes to my mind when I think gingerbread cookies! A quote from the gingerbread man story we all read in childhood. Funny how some stories stay with us! Even funnier how these little cookies provoke lines of the same story to my children as well! My daughter had been reading this book at school, and she came to me saying: "we have to start baking ginger!" Not knowing she meant the cookies, I asked her, why ginger? She said: "because Santa is on his way, and ginger man is very fast, we can't catch him!" Bless their little hearts, these little ones are just so sweet!
Making gingerbread cookies is a very good place to get the children to help in the kitchen. They love the whole mixing, and kneading, then they rave at rolling and cutting out the shapes. This is an activity that you can do together as a family, in the festive spirit. After all, the festive season is all about family, about gathering together and celebrating together. Making gingerbread cookies with the little ones is a very good place to start. When the kids help you make these cookies, you are also giving them a chance to be proud of themselves and feel important. As they will want to show the world what they have done, and will want to make sure that their favourite auntie knows its them who made the cookies. It is important to provide children with a chance to be proud, to feel a sense of achievement and this is one. As you are baking, you can recite quotes from the gingerbread man story, you can even read the story for them as the cookies are baking, and ask them if they think your gingerbread cookies are going to run away as soon as you open the oven door. Make it exciting and involve them in every step, and you have got yourself some very happy children!
Gingerbread cookies do not have to be cut only in the shape of men and women. You can go for any festive shape you like. You can even go for making edible tree ornaments out of these cookies. Once baked, decorated and tied with a ribbon, your children will love nothing more than hanging them on the on the tree. This also gives you a chance to change your tree decoration and theme every year, as there is no limit to the designs and colour schemes that you can come up with. Edible ornaments are so fashionable at the moment, and they never fail to delight.
To create tree ornaments, all you need to do is make sure there is an opening in the cookie dough to insert a ribbon in order to hang on the tree. If you are cutting a shape that does not have an opening, just create one using a straw, a piping tip or the bottom of a paint brush.
|Christmas Dinner Party favours for kids|
For decorating these cookies check out my post on Royal Icing
Gingerbread Cookie Cutouts
560g all purpose flour
250g butter, cold, cut into cubes
210g brown sugar
zest of 1 orange, finely grated
1 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp water
3 tbsp black treacle
3tbsp golden syrup
3 tbsp ground ginger
4 tbsp Dima's Pumpkin Pie or Cake Spice Mix
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
In a deep and heavy saucepan, mix orange juice, water, treacle, syrup, brown sugar, and spices together, and place over heat. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Once the mixtures boils, remove from the heat and gradually stir in the butter cubes. Once all the butter had been incorporated into the mixture add the baking soda and whisk the mixture through to incorporate.
Pour this mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer - or into a large bowl if you are using a handheld mixer. Set the mixture aside to cool to slightly warm (don't start mixing and adding the rest of ingredients hot).
Once the mixture is slightly warm, sprinkle the flour on top and turn the mixer on speed 1, or low. Beat until the mixture forms a wet, sticky dough. Turn this dough onto plastic wrap and cover tightly. Place in the fridge and chill overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, briefly knead the dough. Cut into 4 portions and work with 1 portion at a time, chilling the rest wrapped with cling film. Roll the dough into desired thickness and cut out shapes using cookie cutter. (for tree ornaments, roll out the dough slightly thicker than usual for a stronger cookie)
Bake in preheated oven 375F for 10-20 minutes. Time depends the size. When done the cookies are firm to the touch. Transfer cookies to wire wrack and cool completely, before decorating or hanging on a tree.
These gingerbread cookies will stay in perfect condition for 3 months, if stored in a airtight container. The unbaked cookie dough will keep for 3 months in the freezer (tightly wrapped with cling film).
Here are some Festive Gingerbread Cookie Inspirations...
|Glow in the Dark Ornaments|
Do you like gingerbread Cookies? Do you use treacle, golden syrup or both in your cookies? Do you usually bake and decorate cookies during the Festive Season?
Has this post inspired you to bake some gingerbread cookies? Share with us, leave a comment...