Hello Everyone! I apologise in advance for not posting yesterday as scheduled. Long story short, I didn’t write my post yesterday (I have my reasons) and I just wanted to go to bed when I got home from a work event yesterday. Anyway, if you read my last post on the Gingerbread Muffins, you would’ve know what tonight’s recipe will be about. I wanted to do something nice for my colleagues in the office for my last week before the Christmas/New Year holidays, so I decided to bake batches of Gingerbread Cookies. Actually these cookies inspired me to try out and bake Gingerbread Muffins on Monday to stick to the festive theme. I packed them into little plastic bags and tied them up with Christmas tags that I bought from the Christmas Markets at The Grounds of Alexandria.
I think, if not all, most of them loved my cookies. My boss had the best reaction hands down when he saw his bag of goodies on his desk when he came into work; he let out what seemed like a squeal of excitement. I also managed to change my manager’s view on gingerbread – she normally doesn’t like gingerbread, but mine were an exception. I genuinely believe that she wasn’t just saying that because I was there; she apparently went on for about 5 minutes about the cookies to her sister. Also, one of the interns didn’t come in at all so he didn’t get his bag of goodies, so the other manager said that he was tempted to just open his bag for more. Towards the end of the day I saw the bag closer to his desk and opened. Yesterday I asked him if he ate all of the other intern’s cookies, and he said he gave some to his housemates!
Some of my cookies ended up on Instagram as well:
Like the little gingerbread men that was featured on Tuesday’s post, I made my own cookie cutter using aluminium foil, which meant that each time I pressed it on the rolled out dough, it would slightly deform. I would then reshape it, but that meant that I had men that differed in shape – some were fat, some skinny. Some had one leg longer than the other, one arm higher than the other, big heads, small heads, etc. but to quote Jialing (as well as from the previous post), “everyone is different in their own way and we don’t discriminate!” Also, a special thanks and shoutout to my main girl Jialing for decorating my cookies while I frantically tried to do some many things at once in the kitchen. They look absolutely stunning!
Before I move onto the recipe, please do visit the site where I originally got the recipe from: Food Network. As usual, I used slightly different ingredients only because some I didn’t have on me – or I wasn’t up for buying let’s say a bottle worth $30+ of orange liqueur when I only needed half a teaspoon of it. Making my own orange liqueur crossed my mind, but then I only thought of a week before making these cookies. I still wanted to add a hint of booze to my frosting though, so I ended up getting a tiny bottle of vodka for this. Again, I didn’t want to buy a big bottle of vodka because I don’t drink vodka. If you are making these for the little ones, just remember to exclude the vodka from the frosting!
PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 8-10 MINS | SERVES 3 DOZEN
For the gingerbread dough
- 4 cups plain flour (plus 1/2 cup additional for rolling, if needed)
- 170g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large free range eggs
- 1 large navel orange, zested
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 & 2/3 cups caster sugar
- 1/2 cup dark molasses (or honey in my case)
- 1/4 cup milk*
- 1 tablespoon ground dry ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
For the easy orange frosting
- 1 cup soft icing sugar
- 1 large orange, zested and juiced
- 1 tsp vodka (optional)
*I don’t know what I did wrong but when I was rolling out my dough after I had chilled it in the fridge for about 15-20minutes, my dough it felt a bit dry and crumbly. I fixed it by adding some milk and putting it back into the fridge before rolling it out again. It seemed to have worked this way! I’m not sure if I did something wrong or just looking at the recipe, maybe the ratio between dry and wet was a bit out of proportion.
- Preheat oven to 180C. Add the unsalted butter, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl and beat using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle at medium-high speed until smooth; about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, dry ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Whisk to blend and then set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, molasses (or honey), and lemon juice.
- When the butter and sugar mixture is smooth, lower the speed of the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Then add the egg mixture until well blended. At this point, if you feel your mixture is too dry or crumbly, add the milk in.
- Divide the cookie dough in half. Wrap each half with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes. This step will make it easier to finish rolling out the dough when it has chilled. It will also mean you only have half of the dough getting warm as you roll it.
- Lightly flour a flat surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the first half of the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Lightly flour the cookie cutter(s) and cut the shapes, making as few scraps as possible. Got scraps? Form the scraps into a ball, press it flat and chill in the refrigerator. These cookies may be a little more “tough” because the dough will have been worked a little more than the others.
- Transfer the cut out cookies to a tray lined with baking paper. Leave room between the cookies as they can spread a little. You’ll end up having to bake them it batches depending on the size of your cookies and how many can fit into a single baking tray. Bake until brown around the edges; about 8 to 10 minutes. While your first half of your batch of dough is cut and baking/waiting to bake, work on your second half of cookie dough. Once your cookies are done, set them aside to cool down and get started on making your easy orange frosting.
- Easy Orange Frosting: In a medium bowl add all of the ingredients and whisk together to combine. If the consistency is too thick, add a touch more orange juice (or vodka if you prefer) to thin it out. Transfer the frosting into a party bag (or if you are like me and don’t have one, you can use a zip lock bag and cut a hold at the tip, OR even use a ketchup bottle as you will see in one of the photographs below).
- Work on and decorate the batch of cookies that went into the oven first as these would have had enough time to cool down before the others. The work your way through the batches of cookies.
I guess, if you want it to look more festive you can go with green/red decorations but our local Coles only had blue or pink. Of course, cookies are best served fresh but you can store these cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
– Ally xx