Thursday, 18 December 2014

Our Secret Family Gingerbread Recipe - Countdown for Christmas Part 1

Hey Everyone! Good news: I'm going to make a series of three posts before Christmas: two cookies you can make days or weeks before the holidays (this is the first) and the perfect Christmas morning breakfast. Here we go with number one - Our Secret Family Gingerbread Recipe!

Not a secret anymore I guess.
This recipe has a cute story - our kitchen at home (and mine here in Scotland as well) is tidy and clean - but not organised at all. I mean the recipes - despite that I bind books myself and we have so many pretty recipe books and planners, the most important recipes are just circling around - 'it's on a piece of paper in the big red cookbook'; 'I've seen it in the wooden spoon drawer' ; 'I saved it in a draft on one of the computers' and so on. However, we never had problems with that - except maybe an additional half an hour looking for the recipes. But a couple of years ago, we lost the gingerbread recipe. It was gone.
It was literaly nowhere, so we decided to go back to the bottom. Where was it from? A back of a gingerbread spice mixture. Ten years ago. Great.

We tried every gingerbread recipe from every single brand of gingerbread spice mixtures - but ended up disappointed all the time. We had an entire Christmas period with a kitchen full of hope and half-decent cookies.
And then my mom found it. 
It was indeed on the back of a spice mixture, and it was the same. The same old, lovely perfection. 
Obviously we copied it to every single book and electronic device we have. And now I share it with you guys - so if it gets lost again, you can save me.
This recipe is the best gingerbread for me, ever ever. The only thing I changed from the original one is that back home we don't use separate spices, just buy the readymade gingerbread spice mixture. For some reason, I could not find any of that in Glasgow, so I made my own. 
The baking part of the gingerbread takes time because of the amount of cookies - I find it the best to do it together with someone - one is handling the oven and the other is cutting the cookies. For example, it is a brilliant kitchen activity for kids. When I was little I spent most of my december evenings cutting little angels and Christmas trees.

25 dkg honey
10 dkg butter
10 dkg sugar
0,5 kg flour
0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
0.5 tbsp ground nutmeg
0.5 tbsp ground cloves
0.5 tbsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tbsp ground ginger
1 egg
2 egg yolks

Melt the butter in a saucepan with the sugar and honey. Set aside and let it cool (I normally put it outside for some minutes). Mix the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and the spices. Whisk the egg and the egg yolks for a minute and add it to the flour. Mix it together, then add the sugar, butter and honey. Knead together with your hand until the dough is smooth. If it is still a bit warm, let it cool completely then put it in the fridge for overnight (this part is crucial - otherwise it won't be soft). 
Flour a bigger surface and roll 1/4 of the dough each time. Roll it to any shape, it should be around 4-5 mm thin. Cut the cookies out with gingerbread cutters - if you don't have these, you can use a cup as well. 
Put them in a tray (you can put baking paper but it won't stick without it either) and bake on 180 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Keep checking on them - the best is when the edges are crunchy and the middle is still soft. Let it stand for 5 minutes before putting them into a box. 
In a box, they could be kept forever.
Okay, not forever, but for a long time - so you can make it in advance for Christmas.

From this amount of dough, a normal metal cookie box will be full. 

For the icing, you may use the egg whites remained from using the egg yolks in the gingerbread - or if you freak out from eating raw eggs, you may use water. Start adding icing sugar, constantly mixing. It will be ready if it's thick but still spreadable - like the consistency of nutella or mustard (great examples huh). Put it in a small plastic bag and make a tiny hole on it - and you can start icing. 
If you want to make colourful icing, you can add food colouring at any point.

We also made a gingerbread house. We made our own templates and of course that I forgot to write down the measurements (food blogger...?). However, we used the gingerbread house of Kara as an inspiration, and I realised she actually put some templates on her blog. You can find it in the link with her instructions.

From my recipe, there was only a little bit of dough left after the house - so if you want to make it, my advice is to double the measurements - but it this cake, have plenty of time for it!


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