There's always a first time: this year for me came the first time of gingerbread christmas cookies (the famous Gingerbread cookies). Since I've been working from home for months, I had a lot more time than usual to devote to cooking and experimentation. And I decided to try the traditional recipe of these much-loved spicy cookies in Northern Europe, but also in America. Is, since gingerbread cookies are not a tradition that belongs to me, for the recipe I was inspired by that of the blog Sally’s Baking Addiction. These cookies, dark and fragrant, are very, very different from our CHRISTMAS SHORTCRUST PASTRY COOKIES : you know that with a single dough you can prepare 12 types? Look at VIDEO RECIPE. Is, if you want to make cookies even faster, try the CHRISTMAS COOKIES IN PUFF PASTRY. With this recipe I wish you a merry Christmas of heart.
Let's say right away that the dough and the baking of cookies are not at all demanding: these are simple cookies with butter, eggs and enriched with spices. They are very good, even my 19-month-old niece loved them: so you can just stop at the cookies and they'll be a success. If you want to complicate your life but only a little, you can buy a rolling pin to decorate shortcrust pastry: calibrando well the strength to be imprinted, you'll get decorated Christmas cookies in a heart flash. What is instead a little’ more complicated is the decoration with icing: i've never used the real ice, except to prepare the cassata and with imperfect results. So I've documented in depth, both on cookies and on icing. And the result you see: not perfect, but full of love and more than acceptable to be a first time. How about?
Molasses and how to replace it
A few small considerations. One of the most important ingredients of gingerbread Christmas cookies is the molasses typical of gingerbread cookies, a product obtained from the centrifugation of cane sugar. In Italy it is not very easy to find, but its intense taste and liquorice aftertaste are indispensable to prepare these cookies. I have seen that in Italian recipes it is often replaced by honey: the lightest cookies you see in the photos are made like this, using honey instead of molasses. They are yummy but the taste is far from gingerbread cookies.
So I suggest you buy the real american black molasses on Amazon. If you prefer a similar product but Italian, always on Amazon you will find the fig molasses, produced in Calabria: I tasted it and it's great. I also experimented with these cookies using the sapa, the cooked wine must made by my father-in-law. In this case, instead of simple brown sugar I used muscovado sugar (you can easily find it in supermarkets), which is added with molasses: the liquorice aftertaste typical of these spicy cookies was perfect.
Gingerbread cookie spices
Gingerbread Christmas cookies are tasty, fragrant and very, very spicy: inside there are cinnamon and ginger powder, pounded cloves and a pinch of nutmeg. Ginger powder can be found in all supermarkets. Don't be afraid for quantities, are correct. The texture of gingerbread cookies must be crunchy at the edges, slightly soft and almost chewy in the middle. And their scent must be felt at length throughout the house.
The Royal Ice
If you have decided to decorate the cookies, you have to prepare and use the real ice. Due le alternative: prepare the royal ice in the house with egg white, lemon juice and icing sugar. And I give you the ice recipe with pasteurized egg whites, to avoid any problems and to eliminate that annoying egg smell typical of unpasteurized gravel.
The second alternative is to always buy on Amazon the Royal Icing, London, in my opinion the best real ice on the market. In this case you just have to add little water to get a very white and perfect textured ice. The choice is yours. If you want to start a path in cookie decorations, you can also buy the tips for sac to a few special for icing decorations and food colors. I have purchased on Amazon the same products that I recommend: it is a safe haven for those who love pastry, since you really find everything. And now go and make the cookies. Merry Christmas to all!
I remind you that to find inspiration you can take a look at all my Christmas menu and recipe collections on the subject:
- MY CHRISTMAS MENUS 2020: IDEAS AND RECIPES
- 5 DELICIOUS APPETIZERS FOR THE APERITIF, all made from puff pastry (even in VIDEO RECIPE)
- 20 STARTERS CHRISTMAS TO PREPARE IN ADVANCE, Easy and elegant
- LASAGNE FOR CHRISTMAS 2020: 10 EASY AND DELICIOUS RECIPES
- EARLY CHRISTMAS: 15 BAKED PASTA RECIPES
- 25 FIRST FISH FOR THE HOLIDAYS Christmas and New Year's Eve
- 15 DESSERTS BY THE SPOON greedy and unmissable, always loved
- CHRISTMAS COOKIES, 5 very easy recipes (even in VIDEO RECIPE)
- CHRISTMAS SWEETS WITH RICOTTA: 14 RECIPES
450 grams of double zero flour
150 grams of butter at room temperature
150 grams of brown or muscovado sugar
200 grams of molasses
a big egg
organic vanilla extract, to taste
a teaspoon satin tea of baking soda, yeast or tartar cremor
a large pinch of salt
a pinch of nutmeg
a tablespoon of ginger powder
a tablespoon of cinnamon powder
5 finely pounded cloves
30 grams of egg white
150 grams powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice coffee
if you prefer you can use the Royal Icing ready-made following the instructions on the packaging
Gingerbread Christmas cookie recipe is very simple. You can prepare the dough in a food processor or even by hand. The rest in the refrigerator of at least 6 hours is fundamental: I suggest you prepare the dough for the cookies a day in advance and leave it in the refrigerator all night. As you can see from the photos, in half of the cookies I put molasses, in the other half the honey. The overall doses and the rest of the ingredients do not change.
First put in a large bowl the flour sifted with the yeast, cinnamon, Ginger, the cloves pounded. Mix well. In another bowl, work with the electric whips the soft butter until it becomes soft and frothy. Add brown sugar and molasses (or honey) and continue to work at low speed until you get a creamy and homogeneous compound. Finally, add the whole egg and vanilla. Don't worry if the compound looks uneven, is normal.
Add the butter mixture to the flour with the spices, kneading until you get a glossy dough, dense and slightly sticky. If you do it in the food processor it will be very easy, if you work by hand you will have to have a little more patience because at the beginning the dough will be very sticky. Once you get a homogeneous panetto, flatten it as much as possible and wrap it in food film. Store it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or rather all night. Since this dough is a bit sticky because of molasses
Once the dough is cold, spread it quickly on the lightly floured work top, at a thickness of about half an inch. Cut out the cookies with the form you prefer: the classic gingerbread man, Christmas trees, Star, snowflakes, snowmen, Leaves, Reindeer, Houses. Place the well-spaced cookies on baking trays covered with baking paper and refrigerate again for 30 minutes. Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes, then let the cookies cool completely on a gratella.
As you spread the dough, this will warm up and become less workable. I suggest you spread it out in a half-centimeter puff pastry, wrap it in the food film and put it back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or even in the freezer for 15 minutes, before you cut out the cookies.
FOR THE ROYAL ICE, if you use a ready-made ice you will only have to dilute it with boiled and cooled water in the proportions indicated on the package to obtain a more or less fluid glaze depending on the type of decoration you intend to make.
If you make the real ice in the house, put the egg white in a bowl and cook it in a bain-marie by blending with the electric whips at low speed. For bain-marie cooking, the bowl with the egg white should be contained in a saucepan with boiling water, being careful that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl with the egg white. While editing the egg white, add slowly the sifted icing sugar. The compound must turn white, polished, and above all must reach a temperature of 65 degrees and no later than, otherwise the egg white will cook. If you've done everything the right way, you'll get a durable icing, glossy and easily workable.
At this point you just have to put the icing in the pastry bag and start decorating your cookies. You can also color the glaze with food dyes. Once the cookies are decorated, let them dry for a couple of hours. Gingerbread Christmas cookies are stored for a very long time, up to 10 days, if stored in a tin box and in a cool, dry place. Merry Christmas!