Dec 10

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbreadmen Christmas Cookies




Christmas is approximately three weeks away and this year I have finally come to terms with the idea of making gingerbread cookies. For the life of me I have been terrified of them for the longest time. I had this idea planted firmly in my head that I would not be up to the task, and if I did attempt then I would fail miserably. Don’t ask me where I got these ideas from. Sheer ignorance would be my guess.



This happens to be the first time I am making gingerbread cookies, and look how perfect they turned out! See, not so difficult after all. No machinery needed either; just your hands and a large mixing bowl. Good news then for those of you who don’t own an electric mixer. The rewards however will be well worth the elbow grease, because your entire house will smell like Christmas. When I made these R. was taking a nap on the couch, but woke up when the tray hit the oven and the aromas of the spices started wafting through the house.



The cookies themselves are perfect if you eat them as is. I tend not to like icing on my cookies, but for the sake of making them look pretty and festive I have decided to go ahead and ice them solely for aesthetics. I have been influenced by all the pictures of Christmas cookies on Pinterest this past month; they look so gosh-darned good. Some of the creations out there are simply too beautiful to eat. Here are some of my favourites.




Christmas Cookies

Picture source: http://indulgy.com/post/MrS9PDp3V1/christmas-cookies








Picture Source: Sweet Ambs, NYC

Picture Source: Sweet Ambs, NYC




Picture source: http://www.tartasdecoradasycupcakes.com/2012/12/blue-christmas-cookies.html

Picture source: http://www.tartasdecoradasycupcakes.com/2012/12/blue-christmas-cookies.html


All of them look so gorgeous I can only hope mine will look half as good. Anyway, let’s get started.



  • 165 g butter
  • 3.5 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp dark treacle / caramel / thick maple syrup
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 – 3 tbsp cold milk
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground blackpepper
  • 2 tsp speculaas spice (or pumpkin spice)
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger



Rub butter into the dry flour as you would when making a pie crust. I didn’t even bother using ice cold butter … room temperature butter did just as well.


Then add salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and all the ground up spices. Toss everything to distribute the spices evenly.


Now you can start adding the wet stuff: egg, caramel / treacle, milk. I used a total of three tablespoons of cold milk, but this is not a set rule. You may require more or less, so feel the dough as you go along. Also don’t forget to taste test your raw dough. You may want to adjust the spices and seasonings to your liking.


Divide dough into four and chill each one in the fridge for a few hours. When ready to use remove one of the balls of dough and roll out to the desired thickness. Cut out festive shapes, place them on a lined tray and bake for about 12 – 15 minutes at 180ÂșC. Once the edges start to brown they should be done. When they first come out from the oven the cookies will be quite cake-like and soft but they will crisp up once they are completely cooled.







Allow to cool completely overnight, then ice them the next day.

For the icing I use Sweetopia’s recipe because I consider her the expert when it comes to all things cookie.



Rules to remember if you want splendid looking cookies with a nice glossy finish:

a) use very clean utensils when making the icing. Any amount of grease could potentially sabotage the icing quality.

b) cream of tartar is your friend

c) if flavouring your icing with vanilla, go for the clear version to keep the icing bright white

Since this was my first ever attempt at making these iced cookies, I went for safe decoration choices and didn’t go overboard with the designs. These were, afterall, my test batch of cookies. I have another 1.5 kg worth of dough sitting in my freezer to be used closer to Christmas. My chosen design methods incorporate both the wet-on-wet variety as well as the wet-on-dry, but personally I do prefer the former. The marbled effect is very eye-catching.






For a first attempt, I don’t think I did too bad. In fact I think I did great! The cookies were of the right thickness, and crispy all the way through. None broke. I was more organised with my icing technique and I did not crumple in a crying heap this year because everything went according to plan; I was in control of the icing situation from start to finish.



There are some great videos out there on Youtube that teach great techniques and offer insider tips on how to get the best out of your cookie decorating project. If you have never done cookie decorating before, I would strongly suggest you watch some videos to get you started. Took me a while to get my skills up to scratch and to be confident enough to pipe straight lines. One important thing I have learned from the few failures in the past: consistency of icing is key. If you do not achieve the right piping consistency to start with then the chances of you winding up in a crying heap with icing in your hair increases exponentially. However, if that happens then simply dunk the cookie in runny icing and cover the bejezus out of it in sprinkles. Problem solved.






Well I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I have had making the goodies. Cookie baking is such a fun family project, I hope everyone jumps right into it and enjoy the fruits of your labour.



~ Enjoy! ~


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