Gingery gingerbread - the real thing
I've found that my baking go-to consist of Lili Vanilli's Sweet Tooth, and The Violet Cafe by Claire Ptak. Both are brilliant books with lots of suggestions on how to go about baking the most delicious cakes, biscuits, puddings and of course the basics. If you like to bake, and you don't have copies of these books, I think it would be a good idea to put them in your letter to Santa - if you've been good enough this year!!
If you haven't been good enough, at least add them to your Instagram feed, and - like going shopping - don't look when you're hungry! It will only lead to trouble in the kitchen.
So back to Gingerbread. There are lots of pretty average recipes out there, calling for ground ginger and such pretender ingredients, when the real deal goes back to basics and brings out a fresh new flavour. In my version, I used jaggery - and that means there's a beautiful caramelised flavour coming through. It can also mean that there's a tendency for the biscuits to bake with little dark patches, because jaggery isn't always the easiest to disperse evenly, but I felt like it added to the interest of the bake. I also added some royal icing decorations which I thought were fun - and would be useful if you're making these for the Christmas tree.
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
200g unsalted butter at room temp
200g jaggery or dark brown sugar
115g golden syrup
80g root ginger, grated (it's easier to do if you have frozen whole ginger)
/2 fresh mild or medium red chilli
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5g ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
560g plain flour, sifted
1/2 tsp fine salt (omit if you've used salted butter)
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
In a bowl, lightly beat the egg yolk and egg. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the butter, jaggery and syrup together until it's all light and fluffy. This should take around 7 minutes, perhaps a little longer with the jaggery. Scrape down the bowl and then gradually add the beaten eggs until they are combined. Scrape down the bowl.
ix together the ginger, chilli and spices, and add to the batter. Scrape down the bowl Then add the dry ingredients - the flour, salt, and bicarbonate of soda. Beat until it forms a dough, then remove, and put into clingfilm. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to soften at room temperature until you can roll it out to about 1cm thick.
Cut out using your favourite biscuit cutters and transfer onto trays that are lined with baking paper.
Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.