Depending on the size of cutters you use this could make up to 40 biscuits. The leftover dough can be frozen either as a ball or in shapes ready to be baked straight from the freezer.
Prep Time 30minutes
Cook Time 15minutes
Chill time 30minutes
Total Time 45minutes
1tspbicarbonate of soda
1-2tspof ground ginger
170gsoft dark brown sugar
2tbsp40g of golden syrup
milkmay not be needed, see recipe
250groyal icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°c and cover 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
Rub together the flour, butter, ginger and bicarbonate of soda until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs.
In a smaller bowl mix together the sugar, egg and golden syrup. Pour this in to the dry ingredients. To start with mix the dough with a spoon then once it is well combined use your hands to knead the dough. At first the mixture can seem quite dry but keep kneading. It will become soft and pliable. If required add a splash of milk to help the dough to come together. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 30 min.
Roll the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Cut out the shapes and place on baking sheet. Put the baking trays back in the fridge for another 30 min. This chilling stage is essential to stop the biscuits spreading.
Bake this gingerbread straight from the fridge for 15 min until slightly risen, beginning to colour and harden. If you are unsure, it is better to slightly over-bake (Don't read that as burn!) than under-bake as you want quite hard, dry biscuits. They need to last for a month. Leave for 5 min then continue to cool completely on a wire rack. As they cool down they will continue to harden.
Make up your royal icing following instructions on packet, colour the icing as required and fill icing bags with size 0 piping tips.
First pipe the outline of the shapes. Allow to dry for 10-30 min.
Take the icing you have used for piping the outlines, squeeze into a bowl and add a small amount of water to make the icing thinner. This will be used to flood the gingerbread. It almost acts like self-levelling concrete. You want it thin enough to flood the spaces, but not too thin that it dribbles off the biscuit.
Flood the biscuits with the icing. If need be use a cocktail stick to help guide the icing in to corners. Allow to dry until hard. I usually give them a minimum of 12 hours to dry.
Decorate with the numbers. Store in a tin or airtight box and they should last until Christmas eve.