And believe me, every time I bake these delicious Christmas treats, I wish I could encapsulate the smell into a little jar and open it every now and then to be reminded of this lovely time of year.
They are as delicious as I remembered with wonderful honey and spiced flavours. Just imagine the smell it leaves at home after baking a batch. It really is a wonderful thing!
Because they are plain biscuits, it leaves an open space to creativity when it comes to decorating: delicate little drawings with icing, butter frosting and my favourite: chocolate. Any type of chocolate will do but I really love dipping them in dark chocolate and letting it set before serving (you could obviously also draw on the cookies with chocolate icing).
I have already made a few this year (which was also a great excuse to try the cute cookie cutters I brought back from our trip to Vienna) and I plan on baking some more as we get closer to Christmas (I might even make a batch of this chocolate gingerbread version). They will not only diffuse some delicious spiced biscuit smells around the home but will also be perfect for after lunch and dinner sweet treats with tea and coffee.
Do you like baking gingerbread biscuits?
What are your favourite sweet things to make this time of year?
Ingredients (make approximately 48 biscuits)
180g unsalted softened butter
160g golden caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground star anise
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
350g sifted plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
1. Put the softened butter and sugar in a large baking bowl and cream them together until the mixture is thick and pale (use an electric mixer or a fork and a bit of elbow grease).
2. Add the egg yolk and honey and mix until well combined. Pour in the baking powder and spices then the sifted plain flour a bit at a time. Mix well and form a ball with the dough. Flatten it, wrap in baking paper (or cling film - I personally use Beeswrap instead) and leave in the fridge for at least one hour before use.
3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC Fan) and line one or two baking trays with baking paper (depending on how many biscuits you want to bake at a time - you will probably need to make them in batches).
4. Dust a large flat surface with a bit of flour and roll out the dough to 5mm thick. Cut out your biscuit shapes with cookie cutters (stars, gingerbread people, Christmas trees, snowflakes, reindeers etc.) and lay them on the trays leaving about 2cm between them (I can usually fit 12 biscuits on one tray but it all depends on the size of your tray and cookie shapes).
5. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are golden. Take the tray out, let the biscuits cool down for 2 minutes then transfer them delicately onto a wire rack. Repeat the process with the other batches.
You can eat your biscuits as they are or decorate them the way you like (I love dipping them in dark chocolate and let it set before serving). Keep them in an airtight container for up to a week (if you can resist not eating them all...).