Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Baking Gingerbread




Gingerbread-baking every year before Christmas is a tradition in my family, even though I'm now living by myself in another country I still wanted to do it. Thankfully, I have a Swedish friend here who shares my excitement for Christmas, so the two of us agreed that we would definitely do it. This past Sunday was the first of Advent (which for some reason is a pretty big deal in Sweden) and we decided that it was the perfect day for welcoming Christmas with some homemade gingerbread. 

Around lunch-time on Sunday we met up, and then spent about four hours baking, getting flour everywhere and listening to Michael Bublé's Christmas album on repeat. It was a wonderfully festive afternoon.

We ended up with a massive pile of stars, which resulted in two full cake tins for the two of us and another one for our friends. Having a tin full of gingerbread sitting in your room is both wonderful and dangerous.

I thought I'd share the recipe and technique we used, in case someone would want to try out making Swedish gingerbread. This recipe is based on this one, but slightly altered. It's a massive recipe (it makes about 120-150 gingerbread), so I'd suggest dividing it by two (or four...) if you don't want as many. 

Ingredients:

1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp ground cloves
2 tbsps ground cinnamon
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
300 grams of unsalted butter, at room temperature
225 grams of granulated sugar
160 grams of brown sugar
1 egg
the zest of 1 lemon
300 ml golden syrup
300 ml double cream
900 - 1100 grams of plain flour

Day 1:

1. Sift together the spices, the salt and the bicarbonate of soda.
2. Mix in butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and the egg, together with the spices.
3. Add lemon zest, syrup, cream and flour and work until everything is incorporated and you have a smooth, relatively firm dough. 
4. Put the dough in the fridge overnight to set.

Day 2:

5. Take out the dough and heat the oven to 180° Celsius. Roll out small chunks of dough as thin as you can and stamp out your gingerbread.
6. Put the gingerbread on a baking sheet lined with baking greaseproof paper and bake in the middle of the oven for around 8 minutes, until golden brown.
7. Take out and let cool on a cooling rack.
8. Decorate with icing if you wish, or enjoy them as they are!

If anyone ends up trying the recipe out, let me know if it worked out for you. 

Tell me - have you ever made your own gingerbread? Is there anything you always bake each year for Christmas?

Love, Mimmi.