Christmas gingerbread cookies

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Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 400g plain flour
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 125g soft dark brown sugar or dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 RSPCA Assured egg
  • 125g black treacle

For the icing

  • 1 RSPCA Assured egg white
  • ½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 310g icing sugar, sifted
  • Food colouring (optional)
Method

There's nothing more fun than baking together at Christmas. This classic gingerbread cookie recipe is super simple and makes for a great festive family project.

  • Sift the dry ingredients (flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt) into a large bowl and set aside.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the treacle and the dry ingredients gradually while mixing until you have a consistent dough.
  • Divide the dough into roughly golf-ball-sized pieces, wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas mark 3.
  • Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 4 mm.
  • Cut out your desired shapes with a knife or biscuit cutters. Traditional shapes include people (gingerbread men), Christmas trees and stars.
  • Arrange the shapes onto baking trays lined with greaseproof paper and bake in the preheated oven for about 10–15 minutes.
  • While the cookies bake, prepare the icing.
  • Beat the egg white and lemon juice together with a whisk. Gradually start adding the icing sugar and continue to whisk until mixture forms stiff peaks.
  • If the icing is too runny, add a little more sugar.
  • If you're adding food colouring, be sure to separate the icing into bowls and add your desired colours.
  • You can also try decorating your cookies with raisins, small pieces of dried fruit, mini marshmallows, hundreds and thousands or sweets such as Smarties.
  • Don't forget to ensure the cookies have completely cooled before decorating, otherwise the icing might melt!

Did you know? 

The first documented gingerbread men were made in the 15th century for Queen Elizabeth I to resemble visiting dignitaries and favourite members of court.   

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