Christmas is in the air when it’s cold outside, when the scent of pine needles fills the air, and when gingerbread snowflakes are baking in the oven.

It may only be October, but it is a crisp cold day and the fire is roaring. This calls for gingerbread to be baked.

A gingerbread snowflake (the gingerbread could be a tree, a star, a reindeer or any other Christmas related shape!) is a simple thing of beauty. Whether you like the biscuits very spicy or a little bit more on the cinnamon side, you can make the dough using whatever flavours you’d like. I’m a fan of a very spicy dough, filled with double the amount of ginger than suggested, spoonfuls of cinnamon and a few gratings of nutmeg.

The texture of the perfect gingerbread is slightly crunchy on the outside whilst being softer with a little chew on the inside.

There are three key moments in the gingerbread process. The first is the smell of ginger that travels through the house when the biscuits are baking. The second is the decoration, whether you want to precisely pipe the icing in a delicate pattern or spoon it over in a haphazard manner, now’s the time to experiment. The final key moment is, of course, the eating. Gingerbread snowflakes are best eaten sat in front of a roaring fire, with a mug of mulled wine in one hand, and a gingerbread snowflake in the other.

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gingerbread-snowflakes

The Recipe (Originally from Jamie Oliver Magazine)

300g plain flour
1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
125g unsalted butter
100g soft light brown sugar
3 tbsp. golden syrup

A few tbsp. icing sugar
Enough water to make a thick icing

– Place the flour, bicarbonate, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl.
– Place the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan and heat until melted.
– Mix the butter mixture into the flour mixture until it forms a dough.
– Wrap in greaseproof paper and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
– Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
– Place a piece of greaseproof paper on the work surface and sprinkle with flour.
– Roll out the dough so it’s 1/2 cm thick.
– Using cutters of your chouce, cut out the gingerbread shapes and place on the baking tray.
– Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden brown.
– Leave to cool slightly.
– Place the white icing in a piping bag or tube and decorate as you would like.