Last week the British royals placed this lovely ginger bread biscuits recipe from the royal pastry chefs on their website. It looked so easy that even a non-baker like me thought it didn’t look too difficult, apart from the icing. How wrong can you be!
- 200 Grams Self-Raising Flour
- 1 teaspoon of Ground Ginger
- 1 teaspoon of Mixed Spice
- 100 Grams Unsalted Butter
- 75 Grams of Dark Brown soft Sugar
- 25 Grams Granulated Sugar for dusting
- 45 Grams (45 milliliters) Milk
- Icing to decorate
It wasn’t too difficult finding the ingredients, apart from the mixed spice. But I did find some cookie/”speculaas” spices that came rather close. Mixed spice is a British blend of sweet spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, eventually added are cloves, ginger, coriander seed, caraway, mace). When you’re in the USA you could use pumpkin pie spice.
But before baking I tell you, do a bit of research when you’ve never done this before. And do research what else you need: for sure a sieve, shape cutters, a measuring cup, a dough bowl, cling film and a rolling pin or something similar. You of course need an oven too. And some extra flower and eventually parchment paper. If you have a tiny combi-oven like me without a baking plate, a silicone mat can be handy too. I also accidentally had some Christmassy shape cutters …
Sift together the flour and spices, add the diced butter and crumb together with your fingertips.
Although not mentioned in the recipe, as it seems they take it for granted: SUGAR is a spice, so also add your dark brown soft sugar immediately. I forgot and only added it after completing the dough, and included a tiny bit more milk to get that done. That also might explain why my cookies didn’t have that lovely consistency in colour.
Add the milk to form a paste. Wrap in film and allow to rest for minimum 2 hours (best left over night). You can also roll out the dough, cut the shapes and put them in a freezer for an hour. This ensures they keep their shape nicely.
That wasn’t too difficult, wasn’t it?
When starting pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Roll out to approximately 3mm (but depends on the size of the cookie you wish to make), cut shapes out and lay on to greaseproof paper or silicon mat sprinkle with a little granulated sugar before baking at 180 degrees until set.
For roll out the dough you need a flat surface in your kitchen. Flour the surface lightly as otherwise the dough might stick to the surface. Roll the dough into a large ball and place it in the middle of the floured space. Use your hands to press it down into a flatter circle about 1 inch or 2.5cm thick. Take the rolling pin and set it on top of the flattened dough. Press down and let the pin rotate as you push it. Roll out the dough away from you (always start in the middle) in gentle even strokes. Turn it occasionally in order to keep an approximately circular piece. Continue to roll away from you until it makes as thin a sheet as you need for your recipe.
Dough easily sticks to the rolling pin also. I did find some tips online. The rolling pin should be completely dry before use. Spread some flour on it too, or roll your dough between 2 sheets of parchment or waxed paper. If the paper sticks, chill the dough until you can peel it off easily.
It doesn’t say how long it takes to bake the cookies, but looking at similar online recipes I would say it is between 10 and 15 minutes, and in my oven I liked 15 minutes better. My ginger bread biscuits came out nowhere as good as on the website, let’s be honest. I however managed to eat the cookies. They were not THAT BAD and made a nice breakfast. One advice: approximately 3mm thick cookies taste at least better than thicker ones even when you make small ones.
Allow to cool fully on a cooling rack before icing with your choice of design. Once cut into festive shapes, the biscuits can then be decorated using icing. For an extra special touch, you can even personalise each biscuit. Once the icing is completely dry, you can loop a ribbon through the biscuits and then hang them on the tree as decorations.
As my cookies didn’t look good enough to even take them with me to my parents for Christmas, I honestly didn’t even try.
Anyway with the third batch of cookies in the oven (for breakfast/lunch) they start to look a tiny bit better, but still nowhere near the royal kitchen pastry.