Nothing says 'Christmas' quite like the sweet, spicy smell of freshly baked gingerbread...
The perfect recipe for an afternoon of fun in the kitchen with the kids, gingerbread is a cinch to make and can be used to create a whole host of festive treats – from Christmas tree decorations and festive cookies to gingerbread houses and goody-bag gifts. All you need are a few essential baking utensils - and of course some Christmas tunes to put you in the festive spirit.
But be warned, that yummy smell is irresistible so be sure to save some of your spoils for snack time.
How to make your basic gingerbread cookie recipe...
What you'll need:
350g plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
175g light soft brown sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
1. Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC.
2. Mix the flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl and rub in the butter.
3. Add the sugar then stir in the syrup.
4. Crack the egg into the bowl and mix to a stiff dough.
5. Roll out to about 5mm thick and then cut into shapes with festive pastry cutters.
6. Place on a greaseproof baking tray and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden.
7. Leave to cool.
8. Decorate the shapes with icing using ready-to-use piping bags, and finish off with colourful cake decorations.
Now you've got your basic recipe sussed, it's time to get creative and Christmassy. Here are a few ideas to get you started...
Christmas tree decorations
Make a batch of cookies as per the method above but after cutting out your shapes, make a hole at the top of each one. Once your biscuits have cooled, thread strips of festive ribbon through the holes, tie into loops and hang from your Christmas tree.
Festive gift bags
For a simple but stylish gift idea, wrap your cookies up in cellophane and tie with festive ribbon. They make brilliant homemade gifts for grandparents, end-of-term treats for teacher, Secret Santa surprises or simple stocking-fillers.
Swap your pastry cutter shapes for a gingerbread house cutter and help the children to build their very own gingerbread house. Or better yet, the PEPPARKAKA HUS has ready made ginger walls and a roof so all you have to do is place them together. Meaning you have more time to be creative with writing icing and a generous sprinkling of sweets – the more colourful, the better!
Browse our pick of the best festive bakeware from IKEA® below...