All lined up waiting for Santa to arrive: Gingerbread cookies
All lined up waiting for Santa to arrive: Gingerbread man cookies

As a child I would make sure I was taken to all the places that would host gingerbread houses. I was in awe of the magnificent structures, some made with sugar, some from candies and still others from cookies. It was a human marvel. And then came Santa, the big man with a red clothes, a flowy white beard with a bagful of lovely gifts. He charmed me off my two little pink boots. I hated growing up and losing Santa to reality. But the love for the gingerbread man only grew with time. And then I learnt to bake these wholesome warm and crisp cookies on my own. The best day of my life!

This time the first batch of cookies was baked for a niece and nephew’s Christmas party. It was a Saturday afternoon in the first week of December, when the aromas of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves emerged from the oven as the cookies started to crisp up. And then came the pleasure of  icing the gingerbread men and giving them some colour and style to meet the kiddies pleasure.

I've used typical Christmas colours, but you could use just plain white icing too
I’ve used typical Christmas colours, but you could use just plain white icing too

Sure enough the cookies were gobbled up faster than they took to be baked. I’ve used an eggless recipe here and used hand powdered spices to give it their wholesome flavours and texture. I’ve also not powdered my brown sugar to fine, so my gingerbread man are full of freckles. What’s more as we don’t get molasses too easily in Mumbai, I’ve used organic honey instead.

Makes: 25 cookies

Total time: 2 hour

Cooling time: minimum 60 mins

Prep time: 30 minutes

Baking time: 12 minute per tray

Skill Levels: Basic, icing may need a bit of practise though 

Equipment needed: Hand held blender, Oven

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (you can use self rising flour too, in that case do away with the baking powder and baking soda)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed fine brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 50 grams of butter (if using salted butter, avoid adding salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Spice Mix:

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon power
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

Royal Icing

Method:

1 Cream the butter. Add the sugar to it and beat till light and fluffy.

2. Add the honey and blend it in.

3. Sieve in the flour and mix the hand pounded spice into the mix. Now use a wooden spatula and mix it well. You should have a non-sticky dough.

4. Flatten the dough into a disc. Cling wrap it and cool it for at least an hour.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree centigrade.

I like my cookies crisp and thus have rolled them out tad thinner
I like my cookies crisp and thus have rolled them out tad thinner

6. Pull the dough out of the fridge and roll it between 2 butter papers till you get a 0.5 cm thick disk. Use a cookie cutter to cut your cookies and place them on a tray to bake. Make sure to keep enough space between the cookies. Roll the remaining dough into a disc again and cut out the second lot of cookies. Make sure you get the most number of cookies out in each roll as the texture will change, as you re-roll the dough.

They are ready when the edges start to brown
They are ready when the edges start to brown

7. Bake for 12 minutes at 180 degree centigrade till the edges are nice and brown. Cool the cookies on a wire rack and store till you are ready to ice them.

Let the cookies cool off before you start dressing them up with the icing, or you will have icing all over your cookies
Let the cookies cool off before you start dressing them up with the icing, or you will have icing all over your cookies

To make the royal icing:

8. Make as many colours of icing as you wish in this manner. I’ve used red, white and green colours. Dress your gingerbread man and let it cool till the icing sets.

9. Your gingerbread man cookies are ready!

Can't wait to sink my teeth into these yummy gingerbreadmen.
You can’t eat just one: the gingerbread man cookies.

 

 

 

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