Gingerbread cookies belong to this period – I can’t imagine Christmas without them! And we are not talking only about cookies here! The typical smell of spices brings Christmas atmosphere to your home with the first batch baked, different shapes of these cookies such as stars, hearts, bells, and their caramel colour together with white icing can nicely decorate an Advent wreath, Christmas tree, or present packaging, or simply a box of these can be a nice present for your friends.
We always baked them with my mum during my childhood – every year, out of all Christmas cookies, these were the first ones. My mum taught us to decorate them but hers were always the most beautiful ones! We usually hang them on the Christmas tree with a red ribbon as a decoration and they were always very crunchy, a bit harder to eat (often this is an issue with the traditional Czech Christmas gingerbread cookies, so far what I know from my surrounding). A few years ago, my mum introduced another recipe at home which she received from a colleague of her. As these always result in soft gingerbread cookies and since then, I haven’t made another recipe, I’m happy to share our favorite recipe for soft Czech Christmas gingerbread cookies here with you! P.S.: If you can’t find spice mix for gingerbread cookies, you can prepare your own mix here.
Baking Christmas cookies is always fun for me even though this year I didn’t feel so – with our November move and settling down in our new beautiful house, Adeline who starts to move around and needs a lot of attention, me who had already the occasion to fall from the stairs and now walking on crutches for a few weeks, I didn’t plan to do much this season. But lately, Steven’s sister showed a lot of interest in learning to bake Christmas cookies from me so we (actually mainly she) made some gingerbread cookies and also the vanilla hazelnut crescent cookies. And maybe, who knows, some others will follow!
So here comes the recipe for soft gingerbread cookies (the pictures are from the last year). Let me know how they turned out if you make them via the below comments or share a picture on Instagram with a hashtag 1001voyagesgourmands so that I can see them!
500 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. gingerbread spice mix (cinnamon, allspice, clove, anise, ginger etc.)
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
180 g powder sugar
160 g butter, at room temperature
2 egg yolks
4 tbsp. honey
1-2 tbsp. water depending on the need
Flour for dusting the workspace
Egg white with a few drops of water for smear
For icing: 150 g powder sugar + 1 egg white + few drops of lemon juice and a few decorative piping bags with a small hole tip
In a bowl or a robot, whisk together the flour with baking soda, gingerbread spices, cocoa and sugar. Make a hole in the middle and place the butter cut into cubes, honey and egg yolks. Beat the dough in a robot or workout by hands by covering the center with the dry mixture from outside to inside. Work it out still after with your hands and add water if necessary. The final dough should be elastic. Make a bowl, wrap it in a plastic foil and chill the dough in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight.
The next day, let the dough sit at room temperature before rolling it out on a slightly flowered surface. Cut the dough into desired shapes using cookie cutters and place them on a greased baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven at 160°C for about 8-10 minutes. Smear each cookie with eggwhite with a little bit of water for shiny effect and let them cool down.
For icing decoration, stir sifted powder sugar with egg white and lemon juice for about 20 minutes (for ideal consistency), fill a decorating piping bag with a tiny hole tip, tie off the end and decorate according to your imagination! Allow the icing to dry an then either serve or store in a colder place.