Next thing you know, you’re standing in a supermarket subconsciously humming The Little Drummer Boy in October, wondering how it’s Christmas already. Seemingly overnight, everything undergoes some kind of festive mitosis and invades every space around. This Frosted Gingerbread Cookie recipe is a nice festive touch if you’re stuck for ideas, or don’t want to leave the house. Keep some for yourself, as you’ll be nibbling “broken” gingerbread in no time.

I’ve included two methods for icing the gingerbread as well. One is easier but less accurate and the other more challenging but neater. 

FROSTED GINGERBREAD COOKIES

Makes: 12-24 depending on cookie cutter size             Difficulty: Intermediate

BAKING EQUIPMENT:

·      Electric mixer / stand mixer

·      Cookie cutter in the shape of your choice (I had Christmas trees)

·      Spatula

·      Kitchen timer

·      Kitchen scales

·      Oven thermometer

·      Large baking tray lined with baking paper

·      Rolling pin

·      Wire rack

·      2 piping bags (optional)

·      1 small round piping nozzle and 1 large round piping nozzle (optional)

INGREDIENTS:

Gingerbread:

·      615g Plain Flour

·      1 pinch Salt

·      ½ teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda

·      1 teaspoon Ginger Powder

·      1 teaspoon Cinnamon Powder

·      1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

·      200g Unsalted Butter, softened

·      200g Brown Sugar

·      160g Honey or Golden Syrup

·      ½ large Egg plus 2 Egg Yolks

·      Decorations of your choice e.g. sprinkles, cachous

Icing option 1: The easy method, dipping the cookies in royal icing

·      315g Pure Icing Sugar

·      2 Egg Whites

·      liquid food colouring in the colour of your choice (green for the trees)

Icing option 2: The more advanced method, piping an outline then “flooding” the cookies

·      315g Pure Icing Sugar, plus

·      185g pure Icing Sugar

·      2 Egg Whites, plus one separate egg white

·      food colouring

METHOD:

The gingerbread:

  • Add the soft butter, brown sugar and honey (or golden syrup) to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is thick pale and creamy.
  • On slow speed add the 2 egg yolks and half of an egg, then add the salt, bicarbonate soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Stir the flour in one-third at a time until evenly mixed. Be careful not to overwork the dough by mixing too much
  • Separate the dough into two balls. Compact each ball, flatten to a disc, and wrap each in clingfilm. Refrigerate the dough for at least 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (150 fan-forced; 300 F). Remove a dough disc from the fridge. Knead the dough to soften it if it’s still firm.
  • Roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper to about 3mm thick. Press the cookie cutter into the dough, and transfer the cut shapes onto the baking tray. Keep at least 1 cm between the shapes.
  • Reroll the pieces of dough in with the disc and continue to cut shapes until both discs of gingerbread dough are finished. You might need to use another baking tray or bake the cookie in batches instead.
  • Check the oven is at the correct temperature. Set your kitchen time for 10 minutes. Place the baking tray of cookies on the middle rack of the oven. The gingerbread is done when the colour has changed to a deeper golden brown. Check a cookie underneath especially for the colour change as it’s difficult to tell from the top. Bake another 3-5 minutes if needed.
  • Let the gingerbread cool on their tray for 10 minutes, then transfer them to cool on a wire rack.

Icing option 1: easy but messy finish

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer beat 315g of pure icing sugar with 2 egg whites until smooth. Add just a few drops of liquid food colouring to get the colour you desire.
  • Pour the icing into a large shallow bowl. Dip the top surface of the gingerbread into the bowl of icing, wiggle it around to coat it and shake off the excess. Decorate with sprinkles or cachous while the icing is still wet before moving onto the next cookie. The icing will harden fast as it dries.

Icing option 2: more advanced but neater finish

  • Prepare the thicker icing to be used for the outline. In an electric mixer bowl beat 185g of pure icing sugar with 1 egg white. Add a few drops of food colouring to achieve the colour you want
  • Place a small piping nozzle (around 5mm) into a piping bag. Fill the bag with the icing mixture. Carefully pipe a thin outline around each gingerbread to form a neat border.
  • Prepare the thinner icing to fill the gingerbread. In an electric mixer bowl beat 315g of icing sugar with 2 egg whites. Add food colouring.
  • Place a larger piping nozzle into a new piping bag. Fill the bag with icing mixture. One cookie at a time, flood the top of the cookie with the icing until it reaches the borders. Decorate each cookie immediately while the icing is still wet.

Recipe adapted from Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook

FROSTED GINGERBREAD COOKIES

BAKING TIPS:

  • Uncooked gingerbread dough can be kept wrapped in the fridge for up to 3 days
  • Decorated cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks
  • Piping accurately can take practice. Watch some YouTube tutorials to understand the technique. If you’re not confident, you can always practice piping shapes and outlines onto baking paper first