I adore gingerbread biscuits and I feel as though December is the month of the ginger spiced foods and I thought I might as well make gingerbread Christmas tree biscuits; just to make it that little more festive! I don’t know about you but I do not have the time to make a gingerbread house only for it to fall down in five minutes and/or smear white royal icing on every service of my kitchen – no thanks. I decided to simply cut out triangles in the dough that way you won’t need any stencils and you can whip these biscuits up in no time at all. The base of these biscuits is vegan if you use a vegetable fat margarine which is what I do and it tastes exactly the same. I have also added fresh ginger to this recipe as I think it makes it taste TEN times better!
Gingerbread is a sweet food-product flavored with ginger and typically using honey or molasses rather than just sugar. Gingerbread foods vary, ranging from a soft, moist loaf cake to something close to a ginger biscuit. The different types likely share a common origin.
Originally, the term gingerbread referred to preserved ginger. It then referred to a confection made with honey and spices. Gingerbread is often used to translate the French term pain d’épices (literally “spice bread”) or the German term Lebkuchen or Pfefferkuchen (pepperbread, literally: pepper cake). The term Lebkuchen is unspecified in the German language. It can mean Leben (life) or Laib (loaf), while the last term comes from the wide range of spices used in this product.
Gingerbread was brought to Europe in 992 by the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis (Gregory Makar) (Grégoire de Nicopolis). He left Nicopolis Pompeii, to live in Bondaroy(France), near the town of Pithiviers. He stayed there seven years, and taught gingerbread baking to French Christians. He died in 999.
70g golden syrup
90g light brown sugar
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
100g butter (or Olivani)
1 tbsp vanilla paste
1 tsp baking soda
240g plain flour
Royal Icing – via Chelsea website
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon strained lemon juice (no pips or fibre)
2 ½ cups icing sugar
In a medium to large sized saucepan measure the golden syrup, light brown sugar, ginger, fresh ginger, cinnamon, vanilla paste and margarine/butter.
Heat on a medium to high heat until the butter has completely melted and mix until fully combined.
Measure the flour and baking soda – add to the butter mixture stirring until a dough forms.
Once you have a ball of dough flatten it into a circle and cover with clingfilm – refrigerate for one to two hours.
Take the dough out of the fridge 30 minutes before rolling for easy rolling.
Preheat you oven to 170 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays with baking paper.
On a well floured surface roll out the dough until it’s 5mm thick and begin cutting triangles.(image six)
Place triangles on the baking trays with at least 1cm of space between them for growth.
Bake for 15 -25 minutes or until golden.
Leave to cool completely on a wire wrack before icing.
Mix all of the ingredients together for the royal icing on a medium to high speed for 5-8 minutes. Once the mixture is stiff separate it into four bowls if you’re going to do the example 2 Christmas trees I would go with five bowls and add drops of gel food colouring to each mix. One bowl for the stiff green icing, white stiff icing, yellow stiff icing, red stiff icing and green runny icing (add more water/lemon juice to achieve a runny consistency). Example one is simple enough, using a small straight nozzle simply zig zag the stiff green royal icing over the biscuits and dot the red & white icing over the biscuit. Now example two is a little bit harder; you want to line the cookie using the stiff icing and then flood the biscuit using the runnier green icing making sure the runny icing covers the entire biscuit – leave to dry for a good few hours before piping on the white tinsel and the red and yellow Christmas ornaments. Leave to dry overnight and store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.