After hearing the awesome news that a friend was expecting her second child, I wanted to give her a little gift to say congratulations. What a perfect way to say congrats to Mumma, Dad and Baby than with home made iced gingy bread hearts! Yay! Mum and baby both get the tasty goodness!
If you follow my blog you would know that I love giving homemade gifts and especially the home baked variety. Iced gingerbread is my speciality and I love to personalise them to the occasion, such as in a previous post, I shared with you my gift to friends at their business launch with personalised ‘M & A’ dairy free gingy bread in jar, which you can see and read here.
Another earlier post ‘For the love of buttons‘ I created a gift tag, printed onto kraft brown card, as I’ve done for these baby love cookies – in this post I have included free printables of both these tags, plus a happy birthday and a cheery up gingerbread tag for you to use, these look best printed onto kraft brown card, and don’t forget to trim out the die cut heart or star! Download the pdf here.
Now today I am going to share my gingerbread recipe with you… now this is a big deal to me, as it actually took me years to perfect it after trying out soooo many and then taking the best bits from what worked and then adding and changing a few things to get it just right. I’ve previously only shared this recipe with few friends and family of those who have asked, I think the secret is the honey and the mix of spices, try it out and see what you think! I hope you love them!
This dough mix makes heaps of cookies, like 70 -80 or so small ones (like the small hearts I have pictured – I used 2 different sized heart cookie cutters, this recipe filled out one jar full, filled half a 1.75L container AND I put aside 2 bags full of approx 18 cookies each), depending how thick you cut them – if you like them hard or bready. They will keep for about 2 weeks in an airtight container.
3 1/3 cups (500g) plain flour
1 tsp bicarb soda
1tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg (can be optional if you don’t like its texture in the cookie)
150g butter softened
2 cups (175g) just level of brown sugar
1 packet of already made fondant icing
Food colouring of your choice
(or m&ms if your not icing them and would still like to decorate them)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Sift all of your dry ingredients together with a pinch of salt into a large bowl.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy, then add the honey and egg and beat until combined. Gradually beat in the sifted ingredients until it all comes together.
Divide the dough into 2 parts and refrigerate for about half an hour (or I cheat and place it in the freezer for about 10-15) its just to harden up the dough a little so its easier to roll, hence the 2 portions so you can take one out at a time so it doesn’t become too soft being out of the chill).
Roll dough out in small portions onto baking paper on a hard floured surface (flour your rolling pin too) about 3-4mm thick (these will give you softer bread like cookies) roll them thinner is you like them harder.
Cut out your shapes with a floured cookie cutter and place them about 3 cm apart onto a baking paper lined tray and pop into the oven for 7 minutes.
Colour your white pre packaged fondant icing (this can be bought in the baking section of most supermarkets), just a few drops of colour – with food colouring a drop goes a long way, so gradually add the colour as you go otherwise you may get a too intense colour and you can’t go lighter.
With floured hands just pull and stretch and knead the icing until it is an even smooth colour all over.
Roll out very thin onto a baking paper lined hard surface and use the same cookie cutter to cut out each icing top. (you may need an egg flip to help get these off without tearing if you want really thin icing)
Brush a thin layer of jam (I like using strawberry jam – heat it just a tiny bit if its too sticky to spread and try not to use one with seeds as it will create lumps under your icing) over the cookie then gently place the icing on top to line up with the cookie and voila! A pretty iced cookie – a quick and easy way for a finished look!
If you don’t like icing, leave them plain which I do usually do with the other half the batch, or cut out star shapes and place an M&M in the centre before placing into the oven to bake!
Give them ago, try them out next time you would like to give a handmade gift made with love and attention
tip – when placing them in the jar carefully place the outer cookies against the edge of the glass that will show, then place the rest of the cookies to fill the jar in the centre, this is the trick to having them sit nicely within the jar.