Gingerbread Biscuits Perfect For Christmas
I can’t resist beautiful Christmas biscuits and not only are they delicious; they also make fantastic presents too. Wrapped up in paper and placed in a tin, they show a great deal of care and love. I have a particular soft spot for intricate icing, but if you’re short on time or don’t fancy the finessing, these taste scrummy just as they are, too.
I’ll also admit that, despite baking for years and years, I’ve never made royal icing before. I had it in my head that it was tricky and not worth the effort, but those thoughts were definitely unfounded. Royal icing surprised me with its ease – it’s basically the same as glace icing but using egg whites instead of water, and a splash of lemon. The positives of royal icing vs glace icing is its solidity. Unlike glace icing, it doesn’t crumble if another biscuit is placed on top and also is a beautiful white, rather than being transparent. If you’re looking for an even easier method, you can buy the egg whites in a carton now, so you don’t have to separate the eggs yourself.
Hopefully that has convinced you to make royal icing for these biscuits, but of course you’ll also need a relatively steady hand and a bucket load of patience. Some of the designs I’ve done are more intricate than others, so you can totally scale it back depending on what you have time for. One thing that will make icing a whole lot easier is the consistency. Make sure you add enough lemon juice to make it smooth and pipable, because if it’s thick it will be really difficult to pipe. Not too runny though – it has to hold its shape!
The best part about this gingerbread is that it doesn’t need to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. I always switch off the recipe whenever I read that, so the fact this dough only needs to chill for 15 minutes is a big bonus.
Simply sift the flour, bicarb and spices together, add butter and blend in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. Now I don’t have a food processor, so I just used my mixer, but be sure not to mix it too far. You really only want it to come to breadcrumbs otherwise it’ll mean the dough won’t come together properly in the next step. Stir in the sugar. Combine the egg and golden syrup together, and then add to the mix and beat until the mixture clumps together. Take it out of the bowl and knead the dough briefly until smooth.
Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prep the trays with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 180c. Once your dough has chilled, roll it out onto a floured surface until it’s ¼ inch thick. Cut out your shapes using the cutters and place on to the lined baking trays. This dough makes plenty of biscuits and I filled three trays worth in total. Bake them for 12-15 minutes, then leave to cool.
Now is the time to whip up that simple royal icing and pipe away! I found this really therapeutic so it’s a great activity to do if you need to wind down from the stressful Christmas shopping and get into the festive spirit. Once iced, store them in an airtight container before devouring or giving as gifts. Enjoy!
350g plain flour
4 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarb
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
175g light soft brown sugar
2 egg whites
500g icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice