Hello! This blog post is part of my illustrated recipes series, because I love making food as much as I love drawing it.
Every Christmas, I make gingerbread. I love the way it makes the house smell spicy and amazing, and I love spending a couple of hours decorating the cookies. For this year’s first batch, I made gingerbread stars. However, you can make any shape you like. I don’t judge.
My cookie recipe is the Waitrose Christmas Gingerbread recipe. It’s essentially foolproof, so I’ll leave you to it. However, I DO have some decorating ideas I’d like to share!
GINGERBREAD DECORATING IDEA #1: Crunchy sugar icing
Directions (consult above diagram for help):
1. Mix 2 cups icing sugar and 3-4 tablespoons of warm water in a large bowl. You want the icing to be ‘spreadable’, so add water to loosen or add more sugar to thicken it if necessary. Add a few drops of food colouring if desired (I added green food colouring to half of my icing, and left the other half white)
2. In a separate dish, spread a thin layer (half a centimetre will do) of caster sugar. If you like, combine – or replace! – the caster sugar with sprinkles of your choice. I added blue and green sugar balls.
3. Use a butter knife to spread a thin coating of icing all over each cookie. Alternatively, place a thick blob of icing in the centre of the cookie.
4. Immediately place the cookie into the dish of sugar, with the iced side facing down. The sugar (or sprinkles) will stick to the icing and create a sparkling, crunchy surface.
5. Dust off the excess topping by gently tapping the cookie, then allow the icing to harden on a tray or wire rack.
GINGERBREAD DECORATING IDEA #2: Piped decorations
If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can opt for delicate piped decorations (see above). For example, if you make gingerbread men instead of stars, you can use a piping bag to ‘draw’ eyes, noses and buttons.
Make the icing in the same way as before, but rather than applying it to the cookies with a knife, fill a piping bag with a small, circular nozzle…and get piping! Alternatively, you can buy icing in a tube from most supermarkets. All you do is open the packet and squeeeeeze. Simple. Feel free to decorate with coloured sprinkles, and make sure to let the icing dry thoroughly before you stack the cookies.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for a couple of weeks, so you can make them in advance and give them as Christmas presents. They look pretty and taste delicious, so what are you waiting for? Eh? Enjoy!