Making gingerbread is great fun for kids of all ages – all you need are some pastry cutters and a steady hand for the decoration. You do need to prepare the dough a day in advance, though! Gingerbread is traditionally made and eaten in the run up to Christmas. We usually bake the biscuits at the end of November – stored in cake tins in a cool dark space they stay delicious until Christmas, or so they say. Ours have never lasted that long.
The following recipe is an adapted version from my trusted cookery book ‘Backvergnügen Wie Noch Nie‘ published by GU, one of the most popular baking books in Germany.
- 200g unsalted butter
- 500g honey
- 250g caster sugar
- 15g ground cinnamon
- 15g ground spices: cardamom, cloves, allspice, nutmeg
- 15g cocoa powder
- 1200g plain flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
Heat the butter, honey, allspice and cocoa powder in a cooking pot, stirring continuously. Once it boils switch off the hob and leave the mix to cool.
Mix the flour and the baking powder and add it, together with the rest of the ingredients, to the honey mix. Stir with a wooden spoon, then knead it on your work surface until it is well mixed. Wrap it in tinfoil and cover it with a bowl. Leave it to rest overnight.
The next day pre-heat the oven to 200C and prepare two baking sheets with baking paper. Roll out a portion of the dough to a bit less than half a centimetre and cut out shapes using your cutters. Once you have filled a baking sheet (you don’t need a lot of space between the individual biscuits) bake it for 15 minutes while filling the next. The biscuits should ideally seem a bit undercooked rather than dark brown. Leave them to cool on a wire rack.
- 2 egg whites
- 300g icing sugar
- food colouring, hundreds and thousands, etc. for decorations
Beat the egg whites till stiff, then slowly add the icing sugar, using a sieve. Fill the mix into a small freezer bag, close it with a knoow of a tight food clip, and cut off a tiny bit from a corner to create an decorating bag. Slowly draw on your finished biscuits and add hundreds and thousands etc. You can colour the icing using the food colouring. Leave to dry before storing in a cake tin or similar.