A little sugar, a lot of spice,
A woman shaped him...Oh so nice!
He’s made of dough, and golden tan,
The closest thing to a perfect man!
To be honest, we don't have a genuine gingerbread cookie making tradition in our family. That is, there were never at least a few home-made gingerbreads resting on a counter and desperately tempting to be filched when I was little. No prolong afternoons deeply infused with clove-y cinnamon song. No floured sleeves dancing with each movement of a gentle roll.
- Did I miss this?- Well... I don't think so...
However, that's not the point.The point is, that since we don't have this beautiful and delicious yearly tradition, we don't possess a trustful recipe either. The one that we I could count on every time there is a need for sureness. The reliable one. The recipe that could erase all the possible signs of somehow unfortunate finale. The perfect recipe for those short times lacking the length and a chance for experimentation.
Isn't that the way old family recipes supposed to be?
So, beginning at the beginning, with a transparent blank page in my hands, last year I took the first relatively appealing recipe I could find and made these double flavored gingerbreads. They were perfect to me. Spicy, crunchy and so full of Christmas.
No wonder, I repeated them this year, and they are still perfect. Still crunchy. Still brilliantly spiced. Still speaking the most beautiful words of Christmas. However, just as you try 10 types of brownies before you reach that viceless bitersweet spot, or just as you experiment with those 20 different ways to make the most amazing chocolate chip cookies, I decided not to stagnate either. So, I eliminated all-spice and went for some more nakedly pure flavors: freshly ground cloves, fresh ginger and fresh orange zest. Without a surprise, this triple freshness gave a stunning result - high orange notes and a delicate ginger zinc created a marvelous taste in every perfectly crunchy bite. Pure Christmas taste. And guess what? Once again it was perfect!
Just in a different way, I guess...
Just in a different way, I guess...
Gingerbread men - The Perfect Men. Dark, sweet, and you can bite their head off when you get mad!
Orange-flavored Gingerbread Men
1/4 cup (150 g) light brown sugar (you can use white, but I love that crumbly effect brown sugar gives)
1/3 cup (80 ml) golden syrup
5.3 oz (150 g) butter
2 small eggs, lightly beaten
zest from 1 orange
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 Tbsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp baking soda
3 1/5 cup (400 g) all-purpose flour
In a small pot, boil together sugar and syrup. When the mixture starts bubbling, add butter and let it melt. Then mix everything thoroughly. Take this caramel from the heat and let it cool completely.
When it's chilled, mix in the eggs, orange zest, spices, baking soda and flour. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. You might need to add a little bit more flour until the dough comes nicely together and won't be unbearably sticky.
Roll it into the ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a few hour, or overnight (which is best).
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) temperature.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until about 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick. Using gingerbread man cookie cutter, cut out the shapes and place them on parchment paper-lined trays about 1-inch (2 cm) apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until cookies get nicely golden brown.
Transfer to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
Now, you can decorate these cookies with some icing.If not, just store them in a dry air-tight container for about a month.
Last year's gingerbread cookies:
- Gingerbread Cookies with Spiced Glaze