It does not matter whether you personally celebrate Christmas or not. In a month of holidays and partying, its just another excuse to celebrate. For the past few weeks, food blogs have been putting one Christmassy post after another. Procrastination, of course, saw me waiting till the very last for this post. At least, I got it up before Christmas!
I decided on the gingerbread theme. Its just so Christmassy.. you never hear of anyone making gingerbread biscuits, any other time of the year. It's only for Christmas!! And its a family affair, with everyone from kids to adults discovering their inner artist when it comes to decorating them.
Only one hitch .. I couldn't find any gingerbread cookie cutters, neither in Bombay nor in Delhi. Luckily, a darling sister-in-law carted these all the way from Down Under. I got the whole family, gingerbread man and woman and the kiddies, a boy and girl.
One you have the requisite cookie cutters, its all pretty straight forward. The dough is made in a food processor, then rolled out, cut up and baked. Once cooled, that's when the fun begins.
My advice to you, enlist the help of all those around you.. kids and adults alike. I did it all by myself and let's just say, I have new found respect for all the professional cookie decorators out there and their craft.
The photographs speak for themselves.. I am not the most creative nor the most patient. I did try to get creative with red accents on the clothing and red lippy for the girls. I strung all the kids together as a garland. And all my friends out there, do notice the curly hair on the women.. that's my personal touch!
And for all the observant ones out there, Rudolph the reindeer also makes an appearance, complete with his red nose. If you can't find him, look for the upside-down gingerbread boy in the garland. Go ahead and have your laugh for the day!!
Aside from all the decorating, there is also the taste of these cookies. It essentially has the texture of a shortbread with a mild ginger taste that matures with time. These would make an excellent addition to the cookie platter but they will be even better as edible Christmas tree decorations!! Engage the kids and you can imagine the fun with each one unleashing their artistic potential on these cookies.
Like I said earlier, whether you celebrate Christmas is immaterial. There is a spirit of love and celebration out there, embrace it and spread the joy. Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a beautiful festive season!!
Gingerbread Men and Women
Recipe from the book, 'Popina Book of Baking'.
- 175 gms plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 80 gms unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 40 gms demerara caster sugar (alternately you can use golden sugar)
- 50 gms runny honey
- 1-2 teaspoon water
- about 50 gms white chocolate
- gingerbread men and women cookie cutters
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 deg C (325 deg F)
- Put the flour, baking powder, ginger, butter, sugar and honey in a food processor and pulse until you get crumbs.
- Add the water and mix until a smooth ball of dough has formed.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin until about 5mm thick. Cut the people with your chosen cutters and place on a prepared baking tray.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes, then leave to cool before decorating.
- To decorate, pipe melted white chocolate on to the gingerbread people. You can even colour the white chocolate and make the decorating fun.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.