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Christmas Cookies

gingerbread Christmas cookies

 

There is something so nostalgic about the smell of Gingerbread cookies.The mixture of sugar, butter and spices baking together in the oven creates the most delicious, warming, Christmas aroma. 

So throw on a Christmas CD, plug in your set of twinkling Christmas lights, dance around the kitchen to all those seasonal tunes and get your baking vibe on!

 

gingerbread cookies

 

From the time my boys were very little, I started playing Christmas music around late November to create happy memories for years to come. Christmas can be the most wonderful time of the year, the Season of Love and Joy and although it may not always be the happiest season for everyone I believe that as a Mother it is my duty to create a happy, joyful and memorable Christmas for my children, just as my Mother did for me.  

I don’t mean buying expensive gifts, or going on expensive days out. I mean givings gifts with meaning, that don’t cost much but your time and love and which will create everlasting happy memories and traditions that your children will in turn bestow on their children. 

So entice your children into the kitchen and create something magical together from a few basic ingredients. It truly is amazing to watch the transformation and the joy your children experience when they create something. 

If there is glitter, icing, candies involved they will be even more delighted to help out 🙂

 

gingerbread

 

Family First …

 

I still recall the Christmas my Mother in Law was terminally ill.

We went to the hospital Christmas Eve.  My first son was only a small baby however, and it was bitterly cold out so I took him home while my Husband remained at the hospital. The house was chilly when we returned so I lit a fire and turned up the heat and when my son fell asleep I set out a beautiful red Christmas blanket with a miniature hand carved wooden chair placed on it that we had bought for him together with a little teddy. I made a simple meal, chilled a bottle of wine and turned off all the lights apart from the twinkling Christmas tree and waited.  When my husband returned from the hospital his eyes lit up at the sight in the room, the meal set out beside the blanket, the Celtic Tenors playing in the background singing “remember me”, a Christmas candle lighting in the window and the fire burning in the hearth. He said to me ” you always manage to make things better”. I never forgot those words and they were the greatest gift he every gave me.

We sat together listening to the music, ate a little, drank a little and cried a little , yet it was the best Christmas Eve I can recall because in that moment I realised that nothing else mattered at Christmas but the gift of love . You can have all the gifts in the world ,all the money in the world, but without love you are poor indeed.

The following Christmas morning my husband got up, smiled brightly at his first born, ate the over the top Christmas breakfast I cooked, put on his best suit and sang the Celtic Tenors song “remember me” to our baby son as we drove to the Hospital. I knew his heart was breaking but he put family first to ensure we had a magical Christmas Day just as his Mother had done for him all his life.

Whenever I hear the song “remember me” I think back to my Mother in Law and I thank her for the gift of her beautiful son,          

 

Christmas Gingerbread

 

Creating memories …

So let’s bake ourselves happy folks with these little gingerbread cookies. This is the easiest recipe and it creates a lovely crisp thin gingerbread biscuit which is exactly how gingerbread cookies should be! You can get as creative as you like using any shaped cutters. As you can see,  I usually go a bit OTT with the cut outs!

I did make an attempt at a gingerbread house one year and let me say I don’t think I will be doing that again! Far too much effort and icing involved and I still remember shouting at my son when the poor roof collapsed as he helped me put it together. What’s that I was saying about creating happy memories 🙂 …well in fact it did create a happy memory as he’s now a teenage boy and loves to say ” remember the time Mom went nuts over her gingerbread house collapsing” and doubles over laughing.

I might add, we did manage to get it to stick together eventually, so it was at least a lesson in teamwork and it took pride of place that Christmas on a mirrored plate surrounded with sparkling tealights on the sitting room cabinet. Lots of icing and candies and that house was stunning 🙂 and received endless compliments from visitors! 

 

Christmas gingerbread

 

These biscuits cook up a pale golden brown but you can replace the golden syrup with black treacle to obtain a darker biscuit which is also delicious and very festive looking.The tiny  shapes don’t require the same baking time but opening the oven door to remove these earlier had no effect on the bake of the larger biscuits.

Once baked and cooled I created a Christmas Scene with all the little shapes. If you have small children you can spend endless time creating various Christmas scenes with icing sugar shaken over to replicate snow. I used half the dough for this bake and the other half I will bake and freeze to recreate this scene for my Polar Express Family Movie night. (That’s an annual event in my house!)  The details of which I will have on another post soon , so keep an eye out for that so you can recreate this fabulous family night for your family. You won’t regret it!

 

Gingerbread Christmas Cookies

gingerbread cookie Christmas scene

 

Gingerbread cookie Christmas Scene

 

The two little gingerbread women below were the stars in my Instagram post on the “Positive Powers of Baking”. These gingerbread women represent “Soul Sisters” and you can pop over to my Instagram account to read the story behind this. It was inspired by the incredibly talented @Julie_Jones_UK who is the author of “Soulful Baker ” She constantly advocates the positive powers of baking and does incredible work to promote awareness around dementia and it’s devastating effects . She’s an all round Super woman!

 

Christmas gingerbread scene

Christmas gingerbread

Christmas gingerbread

Christmas cookie scene

 

Edible Gifts … 

If you want to gift these biscuits at Christmas you can place them in a nice little tin and wrap with a festive ribbon. I bought these gorgeous little tins in Søstrene Green in Dublin, How sweet are they! I love this shop and I love their prices even more! No paid advertising here folks, I just like a good bargain 🙂 

So get baking folks and bring out that Christmas Spirit! I guarantee your children will thank you for your time and love and when they are big teenage boys like mine now are, they will tell you so :_)

Recipe is at the end of this post .

Happy Baking ♥

 

 

gingerbread Christmas cookies

Christmas Biscuits

Yield: approx 24 biscuits

Serving Size: makes about 24

Christmas Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 75ml/2 1/2 fl oz golden syrup ( or black treacle if you like a dark gingerbread)
  • 60g /2 oz dark soft brown sugar
  • 60g/2 oz butter, softened
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 egg
  • About 325g/11oz plain flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees / 350 degrees F / gas 4
  2. In a large bowl combine golden syrup (or black treacle), brown sugar, butter, bicarbonate of soda, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, egg and 100 g/3 1/2 oz of the flour.
  3. With an electric mixer beat ingredients for two minutes, frequently scraping bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add enough of the remaining flour to form a stiff dough ( I used almost all of the flour)
  5. Shape dough into a ball and cut in half . You can use the dough immediately or store in the fridge to use within two days.
  6. On a lightly floured surface roll out half the dough with a floured rolling pin to 3 mm / 1/8 inch thick.
  7. With desired pastry cutters, cut out as many biscuits as possible.
  8. With a fish slice lift onto a large baking sheet, placing biscuits about 1 cm apart. ( I use a silicone mat on my baking tray. They are fantastic)
  9. Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are firm ( keep an eye as ovens vary)
  10. Once cooked, use a fish slice to transfer to wire racks to cool.
  11. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings.
  12. Can be made up to one week before and kept in an airtight container.

Notes

Once cooled you can freeze these biscuits . Wrap in freezer paper or foil, seal , label and freeze. Remove from freezer when required, unwrap and thaw for one hour. Freeze prior to decorating.

Recipe adapted from Mary Berry's desserts and confections book

https://lifesastew.com/2017/12/03/christmas-cookies/

 

 



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