Thursday, 13 December 2012

Father Christmas Gingerbread Cookies


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
1 egg
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

107 comments:

  1. There is something so old-fashioned, and magical about a moulded cookie. I remember my grandmother had a rolling pin that created the patterns, and cut out the cookies at the same time. Enchanting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really want one of those rolling pins! The shop I mentioned above has some. I think moulded cookies are so classic and beautiful.

      Delete
  2. What do you think about replacing black treacle with molasses? Is the consistency close enough? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just made them with blackstrap molasses (same quan. as the black treacle) and they're really nice.

      Delete
    2. I'm so pleased it worked! Sorry I didn't reply in time. I think blackstrap and black treacle are pretty similar.

      Delete
  3. Black pepper sounds like a great addition to gingerbread. I like mine to be quite spicy. I really like the mould, it’s nice to have something in your kitchen that you know will last…maybe not like your old fridge though. I’m giving your salted caramel brownies a try tonight for my trip home this weekend, I have no doubt they will disappear very quickly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It adds a nice punch with the ginger - they're wonderfully spicy, you get that kicky aftertaste. I like having things that last. I made the brownies last week too - I hope yours went well too!

      Delete
  4. Oh the joys of a broken freezer! Hope you have an absolutely amazing party this weekend Emma - these cookies look absolutely gorgeous (the name tagging thing made me smile too) and can't wait to see what other treats you make/blog about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such joys :) As you'll see later, it wasn't the last complication!

      Delete
  5. Excellent news on the new fridge/freezer just in time for your party - I hope you have a wonderful time! When we were in Belgium last year, I wandered around a shop selling various gingerbread/speculoos moulds and I'm kicking myself that I didn't pick up one while I was there; it makes for such an interesting looking cookie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How annoying! I was impressed with the service from the online shop, so it's worth a go if you want one. I like that they don't need any thick icing or other decoration.

      Delete
  6. Wow, stunning cookies. I've never come across moulds like that before!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't seen them before I came across that post either. It's beautifully made - so carefully carved and heavy.

      Delete
  7. These are fantastic, they add a beautiful, traditional, elegant & interactive (if hung on a tree) element to christmas. Your food is always amazing & stylish. I also like that sometimes it has interesting almost gothic twist. This is the best food blog I've ever read. Thanks a million.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I don't think I've ever been described as having a gothic twist before.

      Delete
    2. Yes 'almost gothic twist' doesn't quite nail it. 'The Beautiful and the Damned' Cake was the first I saw/read on your site and there's something there (style, visual & taste) which flows through into the Father Christmas Gingerbread Cookies and even the Salted Caramel Brownies. You have a really interesting edge which makes my tastebuds sing when I read the recipes & see the photos of your creations.

      I'm going to try my hand at the gingerbread cookies & maybe the brownies.

      Delete
  8. Reading this in the office and I just snorted quite loudly at your laptop's overzealous face-recognition...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha - I thought I'd already shown you!

      Delete
  9. It seems really interesting with black pepper and cocoa in the gingerbread dough... In Sweden we call gingerbread "pepparkakor" even though there's usually no pepper in them here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's interesting. It does give it a great kick - and the cocoa gives it a really interesting flavour. I definitely recognise the flavour of the dough from somewhere but can't work out where I've had it before - I have a hunch it might of been at my grandparent's house.

      Delete
  10. Love this mold and the cookies look divine. So sorry about the fridge, been there done that ( as they say) Hugs P.S. I invite you to add this yumminess to my Thursday Favorite Things hop ( it's still open for links to be added)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like them. The fridge was pretty annoying but oh well! Fixed now.

      Delete
  11. What charming moulds and cookies, Emma! I'll bet if you ever have kids or grandkids they'll love to eat these.

    That sounds really frustrating about your fridge. The weather's been so fickle around here lately - don't know how our food would fare out in the elements. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that idea! It's very solid and heavy, I think it'll last well. I was very lucky with the weather - I hope your fridge stays healthy over Christmas!

      Delete
  12. These look so good, very vintage style and I love the pictures, good luck with the freezer situation too, nothing worse!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like how traditional they are - simple and classic. Thanks for the good wishes, I'm so pleased it's all sorted now!

      Delete
  13. This is the only gingerbread cookie recipe I have seen on the internet that honestly looks promising!
    I have been on the hunt all month!
    Thank you for sharing,
    Do you have any tips for halving the recipe?
    Em x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so pleased you like the look of it! I made a half recipe the first time I tried it - I used half an egg (lightly beat the egg, then measure 25g), the rest is easy to halve.

      Delete
  14. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:22

    I really want one of those rolling pins! The shop I mentioned above has some. I think moulded cookies are so classic and beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  15. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:22

    I'm so pleased it worked! Sorry I didn't reply in time. I think blackstrap and black treacle are pretty similar.

    ReplyDelete
  16. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:23

    It adds a nice punch with the ginger - they're wonderfully spicy, you get that kicky aftertaste. I like having things that last. I made the brownies last week too - I hope yours went well too!

    ReplyDelete
  17. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:25

    I'm not entirely sure what molasses is like - a lady below tried it with blackstrap molasses and it worked (maybe you're the same person?). Is that what you were thinking of using?

    ReplyDelete
  18. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:25

    Such joys :) As you'll see later, it wasn't the last complication!

    ReplyDelete
  19. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:26

    How annoying! I was impressed with the service from the online shop, so it's worth a go if you want one. I like that they don't need any thick icing or other decoration.

    ReplyDelete
  20. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:26

    I hadn't seen them before I came across that post either. It's beautifully made - so carefully carved and heavy.

    ReplyDelete
  21. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:26

    Thank you! I don't think I've ever been described as having a gothic twist before.

    ReplyDelete
  22. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:26

    Haha - I thought I'd already shown you!

    ReplyDelete
  23. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:27

    That's interesting. It does give it a great kick - and the cocoa gives it a really interesting flavour. I definitely recognise the flavour of the dough from somewhere but can't work out where I've had it before - I have a hunch it might of been at my grandparent's house.

    ReplyDelete
  24. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:27

    Glad you like them. The fridge was pretty annoying but oh well! Fixed now.

    ReplyDelete
  25. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:27

    I love that idea! It's very solid and heavy, I think it'll last well. I was very lucky with the weather - I hope your fridge stays healthy over Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  26. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:28

    I like how traditional they are - simple and classic. Thanks for the good wishes, I'm so pleased it's all sorted now!

    ReplyDelete
  27. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:28

    I'm so pleased you like the look of it! I made a half recipe the first time I tried it - I used half an egg (lightly beat the egg, then measure 25g), the rest is easy to halve.

    ReplyDelete
  28. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:28

    So pleased it worked - that's good to know!

    ReplyDelete
  29. poiresauchocolat26 December 2012 15:29

    I hope you enjoy the cookies and maybe the brownies! & thank you for your lovely words.

    ReplyDelete
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