This recipe concludes, for now, the Christmas Cookie bake off. In total I made 10 recipes and I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did when making them. I think there will be one or two more cookie recipes later on but this is a good base for your Christmas. So, with further ado I present the German Gingerbread recipe.
Now you might say “Gingerbread is Gingerbread, where is the difference?” Well, the other day I got gingerbread man cookies in a cookie exchange and they were good but different. (Thanks Melissa for making them for us.) The ones I got were flatter than I am used to and more crunchy. I haven’t really compared recipes with the maker of said gingerbread men so I can not give any details about that difference. Check out my recipe and be the judge.
Gingerbread belongs to Christmas like lights on a tree. Fact! And in my family we done it almost every year. Sometimes my mother couldn’t be bothered because the dough takes some time to prepare and takes more time to sit. But once you have made it you wouldn’t want to miss it.
– 250g honey
– 65g butter
– 250g sugar
– 500g flour
– 8g baking soda
– 1-2 eggs (depending on the size)
– 3g salt of hartshorn (ammonium carbonate, or sal volatile)
– 1/2 bag gingerbread spice (about 15g I believe)
Heat the butter and honey so they melt together. Remove from heat, you can let it sit for a bit so you won’t burn your hands. Take all other ingredients and combine them in a big bowl. Add the honey-butter mix and knead somewhat. Dissolve the ammonium carbonate (salt of hartshorn) in a bit of water and add to the dough. Combine well and form to a lump (or ball or any shape you like). Leave the dough in the bowl and cover with a cloth.
The importance with this is: it has to sit. Sure, it is good even when you bake it fresh but the longer you let the dough sit the better the flavour will be. We had it sitting for up to 3 or 4 weeks back home in Germany. Here the longest I have done is a week.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flour dusted surface. Give it a good kneading again and roll out. Make sure it is not too thin, you don’t want burnt cookies. Now you can either use cookie cutters (like with the Children’s Cookies) or you make free style shapes. You can make rectangles, heart shapes or use it to make a gingerbread house. Bake at 180°C for about 10 min and let it cool well.
Tip 1: Salt of hartshorn or ammonium carbonate can be substituted with baking soda. The difference might be the way the gingerbread looks or tastes. I haven’t substituted yet because my mother send me some from Germany but I think it shouldn’t be a problem.
Tip 2: The gingerbread spices I use is a prepacked mixture from German. Either you get your hands on a package or two or you mix the spices yourself. All of this is in gram but I hope you’ll be able to use it anyway. You will need: 35g cinnamon, 9g cloves, 2g allspice, 1g nutmeg, 2g coriander, 1g cardamom, 1g mace, 2g ginger. All those spices are ground before they are mixed.
Tip 3: The prairies are rather dry, even in winter time. I placed a wet paper towel on top of my cloth so the moister would soak in. It much depends on the air moister where you live. Don’t worry, if it has a little crust you can mostly knead it away.
Tip 4: Once you baked your gingerbread it will be soft but while it cools it hardens. Use a rather air tight container to store your cookies and place a piece of bread or apple with the gingerbread in the container. The cookies will soak up the moister and be softer.
Just like the “Children’s Cookies” this recipe is good to use with children. It might require some more work in the beginning but when mixing the spices you can teach your children about the different smells and how it all combines to one good taste. They will enjoy taste testing the dough and have fun using cookie cutter and decorating the gingerbread afterwards.