I love Christmas and the decorating work. Every year I'll make some gingerbread as gifts for friends (and for myself). However when I think about this year, if I can only make one cookie dough, but make cookies, gifts and ornaments all from it, wouldn't that be just cool?
And it's totally successful! So in this Instructable I'll teach you how to make gingerbread cookie dough and how to make stained glass cookie ornament.
Step 1: Gingerbread Cookie Ingredients
You will need:
Plain flour - 400g
Brown Sugar - 140g
Lemon - 1each (lemon zest)
Molasses (or golden syrup) - 170g
Butter - 85g
Salt - pinch
Ginger powder - 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/4 tsp
Clove Powder - 1/4 tsp
Also you will need some crushed hard candies. I'll explain more in the Tips.
You can adjust the amount of ginger powder, cinnamon powder and clove powder depends on your own taste.
Step 2: Prep Dry Ingredients
First you need to crush your candies. You can do it either by hand (like me), or you can use a food processor. However don't make it too fine, otherwise the sugar will burn before the cookie is ready.
Then combine all the dry ingredients (plain flour, salt, ginger powder cinnamon powder and clove powder) into a mixing bowl.
Step 3: Combine Wet Ingredients
First, soften butter till it's like a paste form. Whip it a little bit with a spatula until the butter is slightly fluffy and pale in color (don't overwhip to incorporate too much air).
Add brown sugar into butter, keep mixing until they incorporate into each other.
Then add eggs and molasses (or syrup) gradually, stir it well before adding more liquid.
Add lemon zest at last to give the cookie an extra kick of flavor.
Step 4: Combine Dry and Wet Ingredients
Put flour mix into the butter mix in 3 times. Combine well after each addition. After adding all the dry ingredients, you'll be able to knead the dough slightly and shape it into a smooth ball.
Roll out the dough into 5mm thickness. If the dough was too soft, chill it in the fridge for about 10-15 min before using.
After roll out the dough, chill the dough again before cutting. This will help the cookie to remain shape when cutting.
Step 5: Bake the Cookie
Use your own cutters to cut out shapes that you wanted. Then use a smaller cutter or a small round cutter to cut in the middle to make a space for the hard candies.
If you want to make ornaments, don't forget to pinch a hole at the top of the cookie.
Spread crushed hard candies in the middle of the cookie. Make sure the candies are levelled, and not too full (otherwise it will come out during the baking process).
Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for about 10-12 min. Now the cookie is actually pretty nice as a gift already! Kids will definitely love it!!
Step 6: Ingredient for Royal Icing
As you can see, the cookie is already looking good. However if you want to make it prettier, or you want to draw your own pattern, you can use this royal icing recipe.
Egg white - 1each
Icing sugar - 240g
Lemon juice - a few drops
I used eggs that can be eaten raw (imported from Japan) so that I don't need to pasteurise the egg white. However if you are using normal eggs or you plan to eat cookies with this icing, you need to pasteurise the egg white by holding it in a bain marie (double boiler) at 150°F for about 3 minutes before using.
Step 7: Make Royal Icing
First whip the egg white a little bit till there are some bubbles. Then sift your icing sugar to get rid of lumps.
Add icing sugar into egg white gradually, mix well before the next addition. In the end, the icing should be fluid, but can hold its shape. Then the icing is ready to use.
If it's too thin, add more icing sugar; if it's too thick, you can add tiny bit of water.
Step 8: Pipe With Your Icing
Use a piping bag (I just made one with baking paper), use a #2 or #3 nozzle (I left my nozzle at work so I piped without nozzles, which I shouldn't), draw whatever you like on the cookie.
After you finish, don't forget to put a thread into the hole to make it an ornament.
Step 9: Tips Before You Enjoy Your Cookie and Your Ornaments!
1. For hard candies, you can use any cheap brand colorful hard candies.
2. If you are good at baking or have a lot of experiences, you can use isomalt instead of hard candies to achieve the perfect look (even, no airbubble, no overfill). Just boil isomalt to 330°F and add food coloring and pour into the hole after you bake the cookies. However, isomalt is hard to control the temperature and is sensitive to the moisture as well, so if you are not that experienced, just use crushed hard candies to make your life easier.
3. When you pipe royal icing, it's professional to use a nozzle. Because it'll be easier to control and won't change shape as piping bag does. I left mine at my workplace so this is not my best work, but hope it will still inspire you somehow and you can create your own beautiful design.
4. I bagged some of these cookies and gave to friends as gifts, and I hang some ornaments on my Christmas tree, and then I baked all the leftover dough into normal gingerbread to be enjoyed during Christmas!
Step 10: Now Enjoy!
Hope you will like this instructable! If you do, please vote for me in the "baking" contest.
Wish you all have a Merry Christmas!