We're not big Christmas people in my house, I think if it weren't for the decorations covering the shops we'd probably forget about it entirely. That said, there is one thing I go out of my way to embrace at Christmas time; that thing is gingerbread.
Gingerbread is without a doubt my favourite biscuit. There's something utterly filling about it. The spices tantalise the taste-buds and leave me completely content. The combination of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and whatever else you put in them is delicious.
Everyone seems to have the own preference for gingerbread. There seems to be no agreement about how they should be. Some like them soft; others like them crisp. Some like molasses; others can't stand it. Some use fresh ginger whilst others use ground ginger straight from the container.
The gingerbread I made today are more gingernuts to me, they're very crisp and sweet. No decorative shapes or royal icing. They have a hint of molasses but it doesn't dominate the other flavours. They're simple and delicious. That said, this recipe is quite versitile, for more bread-y gingerbread roll the dough thick.
(adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking)
makes about 36 biscuits
375g (3 cups) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cloves
110g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
50g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
50g (1.7 oz) molasses
175g (6 oz) golden syrup
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined, then add the molasses and golden syrup and continue to beat until throughly mixed.
Add the flour in 2 to 3 batches, combining each batch lightly before adding the next. Beat until the dough comes together. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if required.
Remove the dough from the bowl and divide in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
Once chilled, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line 3 baking trays with baking paper.
Remove one batch of dough from the refrigerator and, between 2 sheets of baking paper, roll out to 3mm (1/8") thickness. Using any cookie cutters you like, cut out shapes and transfer them to the prepared trays. Bake for 7-15 minutes depending on the size of your biscuits. The biscuits will be lightly brown when cooked and will not stick to the paper when lightly tapped. Roll out and cut the second batch while the first is still cooking.
Once cooked remove from oven and cool on trays for a few minutes. Once firm, transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.