To start off, it’s December 14 and the recipe for these orange-scented gingerbread cookies is not only my very first Christmas cookie recipe this year, but in more than two years of The Sweetest Crumble. This is due because of two simple reasons, as I realized lately: Firstly, I would probably always choose a piece of cake over a cookie no matter what time of the year we have, because I’m just not that into the crisp texture.
Secondly, and more importantly, I’m just not that great of a cookie baker. While I love the decoration part, I seem to be subject to distraction and frequently carry burned baking sheets out of the oven. Maybe because I’m surprised about the short baking time each and every time – I don’t know. The other scenario is that for an unknown reason, star or heart shaped cookies that looked oh so beautiful on the parchment paper lose their shape and mingle to an unrecognizable mishmash by the time the kitchen timer rings. This is very frustrating and again leads to my love-hate relationships with baking cookies. Anyone here that feels the same? If I really want one, I usually buy some.
Having this said, I have to pat myself on the back all the more, because despite the obligatory first burned batch, these orange-scented gingerbread cookies turned out great. At this point I just hope your cookie boxes are already empty and you need a refill. Better late than never, they are the incarnation of Christmas feeling for me and have just the right balance of orange and usual suspects ginger, cinnamon and clove. In order to cope with my need for cookies with a softer texture, I varied the baking time and baked them only for about 7-9 minutes. Don’t worry if you think they are not done yet; they will still set a bit when they cool down.
Since I didn’t have a gingerbread man cookie cutter and neither wanted to build a gingerbread house, I rather sticked to basic shapes, which I afterwards adorned with some chocolate. I have to admit that sugar- or royal icing does a great job on gingerbread and looks very appealing, but neither me nor my better half like the taste of it, so I usually don’t use it. If you like it though, you can easily mix a cookie glaze with some icing sugar and lemon juice until you have the right consistency or you can have a look at this recipe for royal icing.
Orange-scented gingerbread cookies
- 360 g all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 100 g butter
- 140 g brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 170 g molasses (I took caramel sugar syrup)
- pulp of 1 vanilla bean
- zest of one big orange
- In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
- Take a second mixing bowl and mix butter (cut into smaller pieces), sugar and egg. Then add the molasses, vanilla pulp and orange zest.
- Slowly add the dry flour mixture until the dough is well-combined and you can form a “dough ball”.
- Wrap it up in cling or aluminium foil and place in the fridge for at least two hours. I prepared the cookie dough in the evening and then let it in the fridge overnight.
- Then, take the dough out of the fridge and set aside for about 10 minutes or until you can roll out the dough without it cracking.
- Preheat oven to about 170°C.
- Dust the countertop with some flour, start rolling out the dough (approximately 2-3 mm thick) and cut out cookies with you favorite cookie cutter.
- In the preheated oven, bake the gingerbread cookies for about 7-12 minutes until they’re golden brown. The baking time may vary depending on what oven you are using. Better check after 7 minutes in order to prevent them from burning and making the same mistake as I did.
- Let them cool down and then decorate if you wish.
I’m curious to know what your favorite Christmas cookies are. Hope you are doing fine and may the cookie oracle be on your side.