This is my second recipe this week – I’m definitely in festive mood: cannot imagine Christmas without food I cooked and treats I baked. It’s somehow so elemental to treat my loved ones to delicious and nutritious food. Feels like channelling my Mother Archetype. And also, keeping bored children entertained on a gloomy Sunday afternoon. Which is what really happened today – apart from the joy of baking. Not only escaping into the kitchen for a little while but also getting them to help with cutting the cookies and decorating them is a fab little activity – kills 30-40 minutes at least plus snacking on them.Jump to Recipe
Now, they wanted something involving chocolate but still “Christmas cookies” it had to be chocolate gingerbread men. I like gingerbread and I also like a little bit of experimenting and innovating when it comes to cooking, just like last time when I made these Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookie Bats for Halloween They went down quite well too.
I really like gingerbread cookies around Christmas (like these German Lebkuchen cookies) for all those wonderful smells filling up the whole house. Instantly puts you into a festive mode and boost your mood. The chocolate is a very lovely and subtle addition to the classic recipe. The cookies look like chocolate cookies and smell like gingerbread. Another change to American recipes is that I didn’t have molasses at home (we don’t have this stuff here in Europe) so I used honey and maple syrup – either is fine.
As I’m a lazy cook and baker – I like to avoid getting the food processor out and save hassle whenever I can. So this recipe does not require food processor. I do use microwave oven to help the butter soften quicker and well… I didn’t even have caster sugar at home this time to do the piping. But when do I realise this? When the cookies are out of the oven! So after a bit of digging up in the cupboard I found some white chocolate. I loathe white chocolate, it’s not got any chocolate or cocoa component, I’ve no idea why is it not just simply called a block of pure sugar. So, I had some hiding in my pantry – obviously never going to be eaten. And white chocolate also very tricky to melt because of the grease content: it’s impossible to pipe it. Or at least I haven’t found a good technique yet. But I managed to apply it onto the gingerbread men with bamboo skewers, using the sharp end and that worked out pretty well! We also added some red and green candy bits as buttons here and there. And cut some mini teddy bears and elephants with play doh cutters, because why not?
In the end they look cute and taste wonderful – really happy with them. Recipe below. Happy Christmas.
A little choco twist on the classic gingerbread recipe - same spices but tuned up a little bit. No need for food processor - just a wooden spoon.
- 360 gram all purpose flour
- 150 gram dark brown sugar
- 25 gram fair trade, unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 heaped tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 100 gram maple syrup
- 50 gram honey
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 medium egg
- 30 gram white chocolate melted
Measure out all the ingredients.
Add all the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and combine evenly.
Warm up the butter in the microwave oven, until very soft - you don't need to melt it.
In a smaller mixing bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients: the soft butter, vanilla extract, egg (beaten), honey and maple syrup.
First with the help of a wooden spoon, mix the contents of the two mixing bowls together, as much as you can. Then, start kneading it. The dough should feel greasy and shiny, easy to work with. When done, cover with a cloth and put it into the fridge foe a minimum of 3 hours. (Forget the cling film please!)
Cut them out and place them on a baking tray lined with a grease proof baking paper. Preheat oven to 170 Celsius and bake them in batches.
The smaller ones are done in 6-8 minutes whilst the larger ones need 10-12 minutes. All ovens are different - better to keep checking them in every 2-3 minutes. Let them cool down before decorating.
Melt the white chocolate above boiling water. Don't microwave it as it does not melt the same way as the dark and burns quickly.
Because of the grease content of the white chocolate, I found it impossible to pipe it. But applying it with a bamboo skewer worked perfectly.