22 Dec 2014

Gingerbread Cookies

I almost never bake cookies, except on Christmas. (But actually, for me gingerbread cookies don't count as cookies, they are their own "species". Maybe that's because of my mother tongue). This dough is perfect for making gingerbread houses, too. This year I didn't make a gingerbread house and actually I've broken my tradition of baking a gingerbread house for two years in a row now. It seems I don't have time for that anymore and maybe I'm discouraged by my skills not meeting up with my dreams.

The dough doesn't rise much while baking so the parts stay in their measurements quite well. And what is most imporant if you're making only cookies: it tastes good too ;) I don't like eating gingerbread houses, they ALWAYS taste bad :D (I guess it has something to do with the fact that they are not eaten straight away).

Btw, never trust anyone who prefers gingerbread to gingerbread dough (I should have trusted my instincts haha). I really really like the dough, cookies not so much LOL. I usually leave some dough unbaked and eat it later just like that. And while cutting the cookies I really have to order myself to NOT eat the dough as otherwise there would maybe be two ready cookies and me feeling not so great (have you ever eaten too much gingerbread dough, yuck...).

Gingerbread Cookies

adapted from the book Piparkakkutalot by Norman&Grane.

200 ml dark syrup
350 g sugar
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp ground bitter orange peel
200 ml water
250 g margarin (or butter), cubed
600-700 g wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking soda (if you're making houses, use only 2 TSP)

Measure syrup, sugar, spices and half of water in a pot. Bring to boil. Take from heat and add margarin and stir until it melts. Add rest of the water and let the mixture cool until room-temperature. Mix baking soda with some flour and stir that to the cooled spice/syrup-mixture. Add more flour until it becomes dough-like. At this stage it should be too soft for rolling, but it will definitely harden while it rests. If you put too much flour, the dough will tear very easily and the cookies will taste dry. Cover the dough with plastic wrap (or wrap in it completely) and let rest in fridge for 1-2 days. 

Take a piece dough and soften it a bit by rolling it in your palms. I always roll my gingerbread on top of a baking paper and then cut the figures straight onto that. That way the figures stay as they should (which is crucial if you're building a gingerbread house). You can then just slide the paper and cookies on a baking tray and bake them in 175 C oven for anything from 5 to 20 minutes (it depends how big your cookies / house parts are). They burn very easily!!! Bake only same sized parts at a time. 

The cookies will still be slightly soft when taking them from oven: if the parts have swollen or gotten otherwise distorted you still have some time to cut them into correct shapes or straighten them. 

 Foxtail loves gingerbread cookies, and dough, too.

 "Can I finally eat it?"

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