I've been busy this weekend making presents; biscuits today and biscotti next week. We've put the tree up, filled up with firewood and are stocked with candles but it is isn't until the kitchen smells sufficiently festive that Christmas really begins for me.
Gingerbread dough has a certain satisfaction both in taste and texture. I love the way it can be moulded and shaped into whatever you feel like, your imagination being almost the only limitation.
I chose mittens and bobble hats because they were on my mind. I bagged them up, tied them with ribbon and am going to deliver them this week before they have a chance to soften.
Bobble Hat Biscuits
280g plain flour
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
110g unsalted butter, softened
110g granulated sugar
1 large egg
85g black treacle
For the Icing
225g icing sugar
1 medium, free range egg white
Sift the flour, ginger, and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar using, an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Add the egg. Pour in the treacle and continue beating until combined and smooth.
Gradually fold in the flour mixture to form a dough (don’t worry if it’s a little sticky to start with). Once the dough starts to come together, knead with your hands for 1-2 minutes, until smooth and combined, ensuring there is no flour left in the bowl. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for at least hours, or overnight.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a depth of 6-7mm deep. Place the template over the dough and, working quickly before the dough gets too warm, cut around the template. Place each head on a lined baking tray and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C, fan 160C, gas 4.
Once the oven is hot, bake the biscuits for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
For the icing, put the egg white into a small bowl and sift over the icing sugar, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps forming. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle (3or4mm) or spoon into a plastic freezer bag and cut a tiny corner away to serve as a piping bag. Decorate your hats as you see fit!