I always start my Christmas baking with gingerbread cookies. For me, the wonderful smell of them baking means the festive season is here. Our family loves ginger, but if it’s not your cup of tea, just lessen it according to your own personal taste.
I don’t have the greatest piping skills, which is why I love my 3-D cookie cutters. I find it easy to follow the imprinted lines, although I’m still pretty messy doing that! But it’s all about having fun and being creative, plus if you have kids then it’s a really fun activity to do with them.
For accurate cup measurements I sift the icing sugar before measuring, that way there are no lumps/clumps. All cup measurements are firmly packed.
45ml (3 tablespoons) golden syrup
132g (4.7 ounces or ¾ cup) light muscovado sugar
126g (4.4 ounces or ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon) gluten and dairy free butter
1 large egg, at room temperature
128g (4.5 ounces or 1 cup) superfine white rice flour
72g (2.6 ounces or ½ cup) superfine brown rice flour
64g (2.3 ounces or ½ cup) tapioca starch
32g (1.1 ounces or ¼ cup) sweet rice flour
28g (1.0 ounces or ¼ cup)) corn starch
3-4 teaspoons (15-20ml) ground ginger, according to your own personal taste
¾ teaspoon (3.75ml) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) salt
1 large egg white, at room temperature
180g (6.3 ounces or 1¼ cups) pure icing sugar
Approximately 1 teaspoon (5ml) lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 160C and line 3 trays with baking paper/parchment.
First, warm the golden syrup in a heatproof jug by placing it in a saucepan of hot water until the syrup warms and softens. You can also put it in the microwave for just a few seconds.
Now sift all the dry ingredients together and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.
Add the egg and beat until well combined,
and then pour in the warmed golden syrup and beat until fluffy again.
Fold through about ¼ of the sifted flour at a time with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, mixing until combined before adding more.
Lightly flour your work surface with rice flour and gently knead the cookie dough until it becomes a smooth ball. Divide the cookie dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes to an hour.
Work with one ball of dough at a time, and leave the other in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. Roll the dough between 2 pieces of baking paper/parchment. If you’re using 3-D cookie cutters the dough will need to be approximately 4mm in thickness. If you’re using standard cookie cutters roll the dough out to approximately 3mm in thickness.
Cut out your shapes and peel away the surrounding dough, then gently peel the cookie off the baking paper/parchment and transfer to the prepared trays about 3cm apart. Gather the trimmings and re-roll.
The baking time depends on the size of your cookies. They are ready when they are lightly golden brown around the edges. Allow the gingerbread to cool on the trays for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Small shapes take approximately 7-8 minutes.
Medium shapes take approximately 9-10 minutes.
Large shapes take approximately 11-12 minutes.
To make the royal icing, beat the egg white with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Then reduce the speed and gradually add the sifted icing sugar, scraping down the side when necessary. Once combined add the lemon juice, and then turn up the speed and keep mixing until the icing becomes thick, shiny, stiff and white.
Transfer immediately to a piping bag and let the fun begin!
Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse
Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.
Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 320F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8