A manager once said to me that one of my greatest strengths was that I knew where I excelled and where I didn’t. I could bask in the glory of my natural talents, but was also the first to admit my shortcomings.
Well, baking is one of my shortcomings.
Baking requires precision measuring, however, my kitchen style has been referred to as ‘rip, shit and bust’.
Second to this, I also belong to the camp of women who eat their feelings. Therefore, if there is an entire tray of chocolate muffins freshly steaming on the counter, they will not make it through a tough week at work. I will eat them all. And then hate myself for it.
The other day Matt was gifted a huuuuge baked chocolate brownie. I pushed and pushed for him to freeze it, reasoning that we would never get through it all and it would be wasted. All the while knowing that I would eat it all – but a rock-solid, frozen brownie would provide enough of a barrier to me at 11.30pm – with luck I may resort to an apple instead.
Anyway, I’m off home to Christchurch this week and my cuzzy and I have decided to make gingerbread cookies. I’m excited, because this feels so Christmassy. Also, because she ain’t all that good at baking either and I’m hoping two wrongs in Christmas jumpers can make a gingerbread right. I had a look online and found the easiest gingerbread recipe I could. I will include the recipe below and try to vlog it when I get home. Merry Christmas!
- 6 1/2 cups (815 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups (283 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (220 g) light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup (220 g) cooking molasses
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- In large bowl, sift together flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl between additions. Add molasses and vanilla and beat until completely incorporated.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Dough should be soft (not dry or crumbly) but not sticky. If sticky, add a few tablespoons of flour until desired consistency is achieved.
- Divide the dough in 2, place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap, press down with the palm of your hand and make a disc about 2″ thick. Finish wrapping the disc with the plastic wrap. Chill the discs of dough for at least 2 hours.
- Remove one disc and remove plastic wrap. Place on top of a large piece of lightly floured parchment or wax paper (I use a silicone rolling mat underneath to ensure it doesn’t slip while rolling, but you can even dampen counter so the parchment sticks a bit.), then place two 1/4″ wooden dowels on either side of your dough, then another sheet of parchment paper.
- Roll dough (this will require a bit of elbow grease for the first few minutes until it softens up a bit) so it’s flush with dowels–they will ensure that your dough is even thickness.
- Slide your parchment paper and dough onto a board, then place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or freezer for 15 minutes (or more).
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two or three baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment. Remove the rolled dough from fridge, and cut your shapes using the cutters or template of choice, placing them on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the edges just start to brown, about 8 minutes for medium cookies, and 10 minutes for larger cookies (such as those in the photos).Be careful not to over-bake, or cookies will be dry. Collect remaining dough and re-roll once, repeating cutting and baking steps. Dough rolled out more than once will be a little tough, so it’s best to keep it to a 2-time roll-out maximum.
- Cool sheets on wire racks for 20 minutes, then gently remove cookies and place on wire racks to finish cooling. If cookies are too fragile, you can cool completely on trays.
- Decorate with royal icing, candies, sprinkles, and more.