440g(3 ½ cups) plain flourplus more for dusting and rolling
3 egg whites
500g(4 cups) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
½tspcream of tartar
lemon juice or waterto thin the icing as needed
250g| 2 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)
2tbspwateror as much as needed
Make the gingerbread cookie dough
Preheat the oven to 170C (340F) and line 3 heavy trays with baking paper (you will need to bake the cookies in batches).
Put the sugar, treacle, golden syrup, butter, spices and salt in a large bowl. Microwave in 30 second bursts until the butter starts to melt.
Stir until butter melted completely and you have a smooth thick liquid.
Stir in the baking soda and then the egg.
Gradually add all the flour, stirring it in with a wooden spoon.
Use your hands to mix the last of the flour into the dough, adding as much as required to create a pliable, non sticky, dough the consistency of Play Doh.
You can now use the dough straight away or chill it and use later. Divide the dough into chunks, keeping any unused dough covered so that it doesn't dry out.
Roll out the dough and cut out cookies
Roll out the dough. Line your worktop with a piece of greaseproof paper, dust with a little flour and roll out to a thickness of ⅛ inch. A rolling pin with spacing rings is very useful here.
Cut out the cookie shapes using your favourite cutters. Carefully lift the cookies and arrange on your prepared cookie sheet, spaced slightly apart. Reroll any leftover dough to cut out more shapes.
Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes until the cookies just start to colour a little at the edges. You will need to bake your cookies in batches. Smaller cookies will need between 8-10 minutes.
The cookies will still be a bit soft when out of the oven. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Put the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Start whisking on low speed until frothy.
Increase the speed and once the egg whites form soft peaks, start adding the icing sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue to whisk until the icing drops slowly off a spoon. TOP TIP: always keepthe royal icing covered otherwise it will quickly dry out.
If the icing is too thin you can add more icing sugar. If too thick, thin it with a little water or lemon juice. You will want the icing to be quite thick if you are making a gingerbread house.
Decorate the cookis
Put the royal icing in a piping bag and snip a very small hole at the tip (or use a silicone bottle as I have done).
If you wish to fill (flood) the cookies, thin half of the icing with a little water and use it to fill an outlined cookie – pushing the icing to the edges using a toothpick. Leave to dry completely at room temperature.
Put the icing sugar in a bowl and gradually add enough water until you have a thick glaze that drops slowly off a spoon. Stir in the vanilla if using. Use this glaze to decorate the cookies leaving it to dry completely before storing them.
Gingerbread Cookies Tips and FAQs
- What is a substitute for golden syrup? Lyle’s Golden Syrup is a very common baking ingredient in the UK however it may be hard to source elsewhere. You can make this recipe using 100% molasses (your cookies will look quite dark) or substitute the golden syrup with light corn syrup or agave nectar. - Do I have to chill the dough? This gingerbread dough can be used straight away without chilling first but you can chill the dough if you like, it will make cutting out the cookies a bit easier.- How long does gingerbread dough last in the fridge? Flatten the dough to form a disk and wrap (or put in a silicone bag) then store in the fridge for up to three days.- How do you store gingerbread cookies?Store gingerbread cookies in an airtight tin, separated by greaseproof paper. Make sure that any decorations/icing have dried completely first!- How long do gingerbread cookies last?Your cookies will happily last for 2-3 weeks if stored properly. - Can you freeze gingerbread cookies?Gingerbread freezes well. Space the (undecorated) cookies out on a tray and freeze until solid then pack in a container, separated by greaseproof paper.