Thursday, 13 December 2012
Last Thursday my fridge/freezer died.
This was not appreciated.
It did make me appreciate the cold weather, as the garden became our fridge. As the weather turned even colder a few days ago, it even became a freezer - but sadly not in time to save our frozen food, which, after one last feast, went down with the leaking ship.
The timing wasn't exactly perfect as I'd wanted to make and freeze some things for the the Christmas/Housewarming party I'm throwing on Saturday. I've been overexcited about the party for months - I started a Pinterest board of inspiration a mortifying eleven weeks ago.
Thankfully these gingerbread cookies can be stored at room temperature. However, the dough does needs to be chilled overnight first. I made a second batch of these on the day it broke, so I tucked the wrapped dough into a snap-down Greg-the-squirrel-proof box and put it outside with the milk. The salvageable fridge items followed it outside the next morning and lived there for five days until I finally received the replacement yesterday. I think the delivery men thought I was a bit weird - I guess white goods don't usually inspire such joy.
I first came across moulds like this on Dolcetto Confections. I followed her link and bought this mould from House on the Hill. They're expensive but I fell in love with the idea and figured that it would last for many years to come. (They'd make a great gift for a keen baker if you're looking.)
I like that each print is slightly different - each cookie, especially each face, has its own character.
(When I put these photos through iPhoto, it tried to tag the faces on the cookies. I found this hilarious so I thought I'd share - though it may well be one of those things where you had to be there...)
You can also use this dough to make cookies with a cutter. I used some of this batch of dough to make prints and then stamped out smaller ones from the rest. I rolled them quite thin, so they came out hard. If you prefer soft gingerbread (like the moulded ones) you can roll it thicker.
I really like this recipe - which should come as no surprise, since it's adapted from Tartine. I like that you can use one dough for both hard and soft cookies. I like that they keep very well - I baked these last Friday and they'll still be lovely for the party, eight days later. I like how spicy the dough is, stuffed with ginger, cinnamon, black pepper and cloves, all rounded out by a touch of cocoa powder.
It's my favourite type of Christmas recipe: one I know I will make for years to come.
Moulded Gingerbread Cookies
(Adapted from Tartine by Elizabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson)
For the cookies:
520g plain flour
4 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp cocoa powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp finely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
225g unsalted butter
190g caster sugar
200g black treacle
100g golden syrup
For the glaze:
115g icing sugar
2 tbsp water
In a big bowl, weigh out the flour, ginger, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, bicarb and sea salt. Use a whisk to stir until the spices are evenly distributed. In a mixer, beat the butter until it is soft and creamy. Add the sugar and cream until smooth and fluffy. Beat the egg lightly then add half to the bowl. Scrape down then beat until combined. Add the other half of the egg and beat again. Scrape down again and add the treacle and golden syrup (I took the bowl off the mixer and placed it on the scales, then weighed in the syrups - much less mess). Beat until uniform and scrape down. Add the flour mixture and turn the mixer onto its lowest setting until the mixture comes together. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of cling film then wrap tightly and chill overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Take half the dough and roll it out on a well floured surface to a thickness of about a cm. Dust the surface of the dough and the inside of the mould with flour. Place the mould on the dough then press very hard (I stood on a stool to get my body weight behind it). It can help to press the bottom, then middle, then top (or any other series of sections). Carefully lift the mould off the dough. If it hasn't printed all of the details, put the mould back down and press harder. If it rips as you pull it up, place another bit of dough over the rip, dust with flour and print again. Slide a palette knife under the print then use a knife to cut it out. Transfer to a sheet. Repeat until you've finished the dough, re-rolling as needed. You can very gently dust excess flour off the prints with a soft pastry brush if needed.
Place the tray into the oven and bake for 7-12 minutes, depending on the size and thickness. They should start to brown around the edges but still be soft to touch in the middle. While they bake, whisk together the icing sugar and water. Once the cookies have cooled for 2 or 3 minutes on the sheet, carefully transfer them to a wire rack and gently but confidently brush the surface with the glaze. Repeat with any other trays. Leave to cool on the rack then keep in an airtight box for up to 2 weeks.
(Makes different amounts of different sizes... I made 8 big prints then about 35 small thin shapes)
A few related posts:
Homemade Granola (good for gifts)
Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
Clementine Ricotta Doughnuts