The smell of sweet spices emulating from the kitchen reminds me of Christmases long ago baking gingerbread cookies with my mum … so here I am doing the same with my kids but this time with spelt gingerbread cookies. These are lightly spiced with ginger and cinnamon but you can make them as spicy as you like. The best thing about this recipe is the spelt gingerbread cookies taste like the best gingerbread cookie you’ve ever tasted and they retain their crunch for days afterwards so you can ice them ready to hang on the Christmas tree…
This recipe can also be used if you want to bake a gingerbread house with your kids..especially if you feel inspired after reading Hansel and Gretel before bedtime. You can substitute the spelt flour with plain flour if you prefer as the recipe works well with both. We don’t use pure sugar in our house so I will share my recipe with you for sugar-free royal icing… it works a treat and the kids don’t even notice! It whips like a dream and very easy to ice the cookies too..
The main spice I use is ginger which goes without saying but I also use cinnamon, nutmeg and a hint of ground cloves. This just adds that bit of difference to the flavour of the cookie so that the ginger doesn’t take over. The reason the cookie stays crunchy for longer is I melt the honey and molasses together so that it all combines to make a smooth dough.
Add the honey, molasses, coconut sugar and butter to a small saucepan and melt until smooth. Leave to cool slightly. In a separate bowl sift all the dry ingredients and spices. Add the wet mixture to the dry and combine until smooth. This is fun for the kids to do this by hand but it can also be done with the paddle attachment on your mixing bowl. If it is slightly wet add a little more flour.
Leave for 10 minutes then roll out on a floured mat until quite thin but not thin enough to come apart, approximately ¼ inch. Cut with the Christmas cutters of your choice.
To make a hole in the top of the cookie I use a number 5 tip as it cuts a perfect circle. Bake in a preheated oven at 170˚C for 8-10 minutes or until lightly cooked. I like mine pale and not too brown. They seems soft when straight out of the oven but they turn crisp on cooling.
Lay out your cookies to cool while preparing the icing.
By all means you may use royal icing but here we make our own using xylitol. Place the xylitol in a food processor, here we use the thermomix. Pulse on the highest setting for 3 minutes until it resembles icing sugar.
In an electric mixer with a balloon whisk attached add the egg white powder, lemon juice and water and whisk until combined. Add the powdered xylitol and whisk on a low setting until well combined. Turn the speed to high and whisk for a further 5 minutes. It should be thick like this…
Now place a small amount in a separate bowl and add tiny drops of water to achieve the required consistency. I find it best when it falls off the spoon but not too runny. If you are making flooded cookies then ice the edge first then add more water to make the icing more runny to fill the cookies. Place in a piping bag with a number 3 tip and decorate! Start simply at first and then your creativity will soon take over!
Leave to dry … I find the drying speeds up in an oven on the defrost button setting at 0˚C (no heat). Then leave in a tin until ready to hang or arrange on a nice serving dish.
The best part for the kids is hanging them on the tree… but watch them silently disappear! Merry Christmas to you all.
- 130ml honey
- 150ml molasses or black treacle
- 100g coconut sugar
- 200g butter
- 530g spelt flour or plain flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 250g xylitol
- 10g egg white powder
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 170˚C.
- Melt the honey, molasses, coconut sugar and butter in a saucepan over a low heat stirring continuously. Leave to cool slightly.
- Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves into a large bowl.
- Add the cooled treacle mixture to the bowl and mix together until well combined. This can be done by hand or in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Leave for 10 minutes to rest.
- Roll out the dough on a floured non-stick mat to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters and make a hole in the top if hanging on the tree.
- Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes until just cooked. Leave to cool completely before icing.
- To make the icing pulse the xylitol in a powerful food processor until it resembles icing sugar.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the egg white powder, lemon juice and water until well combined.
- Slowly add the powdered xylitol and beat on a slow setting until well combined. Turn the speed up to high and beat for a further 5 minutes until thick. Add drops of water until you reach the desired piping consistency. Using a piping bag and a no.3 tip pipe designs on the cookies. Leave to dry before hanging on the tree or arranging on a serving dish.
- For a spicier cookie add more ginger.
- To cut a hole in the cookies use a piping tip from no.5 upwards. this creates the perfect hole.
- To speed up the drying time of the icing, place the cookies in the oven on the defrost setting with zero heat.