I have a soft spot for gingerbread, in any shape or form. I think within all the staple Christmas bakes this is the one that makes this festive period truly magical. The mix of perfectly balanced flavours; warming ginger and cloves, as well as fragrant cinnamon make your palate know that Christmas is finally here! Not mentioning about wonderful smell filling your home to the brim.
Internet is full of recipes for gingerbread. It seems that there is nothing new you can come up with because surely someone else has already done it. It might be a little frustrating but, hold on a second! There is something you can still experiment with and show your most creative side. Decoration! Starting from shape, finishing with coating, you can just let your inner child have so much fun.
Surprisingly, I realised I had never tried to bake an ‘elegant’ or more sophisticated looking cookies. They were always in a shape of gingerbread man or stars. Decoration was not extraordinary either, I would normally stick to pretty generic frosting in various colours. On this occasion though, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and play a bit with texture rather than colour. Hence the idea of baking ‘cracked’ gingerbread cookies and use chocolate and nuts for decoration.
Original Recipe Ginger Cookies
flour- 2 1/4 cups
baking soda- 1 tsp
salt- 1/2 tsp
ground ginger- 2 tsp
ground cinnamon- 1 tsp
ground cloves- 1/4 tsp
ground nutmeg- 1/4 tsp
unsalted butter- 3/4 cup
granulated sugar- 1/2 cup
brown sugar- 1/2 cup
egg- 1 unit
molasses- 1/4 cup
vanilla extract- 2 tsp
For the decoration- completely up to you
1. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
2. In a separate bowl cream together butter with both, granulated and brown sugar. Use electric mixer to blend both ingredients really well.
3. Mix in egg, add molasses (I replaced it with honey) and vanilla. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
4. Scoop dough out about 1 1/2 Tbsp at a time, shape into balls then gently roll out into cookies.
5. Transfer to parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven (175 C) for 8-10 minutes.
6. Cool on baking sheet for several minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
The recipe itself makes preparation super easy, but most importantly, these ginger cookies taste like heaven. They are quite chunky and way softer inside than standard ginger biscuits but it definitely plays to their advantage. Especially that after 10 minutes from taking your treats out of the oven, the outer layer gets crunchy and snaps gently when you take a bite. Combination of soft and flavourful middle and brittle outer layer makes me melt a bit inside.
As far as decoration goes, I served my cookies white chocolate bath and treated with some crushed pecans, to finish with sprinkle of golden dust. I am pleased with the final result and think that Santa wouldn’t miss the opportunity to take a bite if he found them waiting for him on the table next to Christmas tree.