If you love spices as much as we do, you’ll have to admit there’s something fascinating – if not addictive – about baking Christmas cookies. That’s probably true for baking cookies any time, but Christmas time is really the perfect excuse to raid your spice jar and be very generous with the amounts you use.
Mummy won’t allow me to play with spices as much as I would like to, and I’m still learning that some of them are very nice in small amounts, but not so nice if you want the whole lot to yourself. Take vanilla beans, for instance – they look like so much fun to play with, but don’t taste that good as a parrot shredding toy :-)
I must also say that I absolutely love this time of year. The house smells lovely, there’s plenty of activity in the kitchen (which means I get to sample so many goodies) and, best of all, when all the baking is done there is something lovely for me to share with my Mummy and Daddy. I can’t believe I missed out on so much this time last year, when I was still a little baby who was scared of everything…..Back then, I used to think even fruit mince pies were monsters – goodness me, what was I thinking? Anyway, I will certain rectify that foolish mitake this year – I’ve already put in an order for lots of fruit mince pies with Mummy this year, so please stay tuned for that post :-)
For all spicy biscuits fans out there, we can truly recommend these gingerbread stars as the perfect Christmas cookies – they have a fantastic flavour, are a lovely golden brown colour and will keep very well for up to a few weeks. Which makes them perfect for boxing up as a homemade Christmas present, or for sharing with your work colleagues.
The dough is very easy to work with, so you can really cut them in any shape you like and, if you’re a skilled cookie decorator, they’re the perfect canvas for you to unleash your holiday creativity :-)
225 g all purpose flour
225 g wholemeal spelt flour
170 g butter, at room temperature
175 g rapadura sugar
50 ml honey
50 ml maple syrup
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
Beat the butter and sugar for about 10 minutes, or until pale and creamy.
In the mean time, sift the flours and baking agents in a bowl, then add the spices and salt.
Add the egg to the mixer bowl and mix well to incorporate. Add the honey and maple syrup and mix again. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix well – you may need to fit a dough hook to your mixer to do this – until the dough comes together.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide it in two , shape each piece into a square block, cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour.
When the dough has been chilled, remove from the refrigerator one piece at a time, roll on a lightly floured surface until approximately ½ cm thick, then cut with different sized star cutters (or any other shape according to your preference).
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Place the cookies on flat baking trays lined with baking paper and bake for approximately 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let them rest on the trays for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Yield will vary according to the shape and size of your cutters – in our case it was about 60 cookies.