Syrup-free Gingerbread Biscuit

Sunday, 24th December 2017Tyler
Blog post

Prep time: 50 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves:

Merry Christmas!! ‘Tis the season for gingerbread biscuits!!

At the beginning of the month, I took out my Christmas decorations and began thinking about what dishes I’d like to make this December. Italian panettone, English wassail, and gingerbread biscuits decorated with royal icing immediately came to mind.

I decided to start with gingerbread. They sound delicious. But here’s the catch, in the UK gingerbread you use golden syrup, and I didn’t have any. In the United States, you make it with molasses instead of the syrup. I don’t usually carry golden syrup or molasses in my house. And I so, I thought… How hard would it be to remove the golden syrup? Ends up it is pretty easy.

30 batches (roughly 300 biscuits) later I realized why the traditional recipe calls for syrup. Have you ever had a cookie that made with margarine instead of butter? Have you had the same cookie made with butter? Did you notice the difference? When I eat desserts like that, I’ve observed that the biscuits with margarine tend to be ‘drier’. By that, I mean that they seem to spread out more (probably because of the higher water content), but hey, correct me if I’m wrong (I’d love to learn more!). Anyway, when using syrup the gingerbread doesn’t ‘dry out’ as quickly. I think the molasses holds in the liquid, but I’m no food scientist! I’ll have to do a bit of research and get back to you 🙂

Until then, enjoy this wonderful recipe!. I know you’ll love it as much as I do!

Gingerbread Biscuit

As always, let’s begin by pulling out the ingredients. We’ll need 113 grams (8 tablespoons) of softened butter, 1 large egg, 100 grams (1/3 cup) of honey, 350 grams (2.5 cups) of flour, 175 grams (3/4+1/8 cup) of soft brown sugar, 6 grams (1 teaspoon) of baking soda, 7 grams (1 tablespoon) of cinnamon, 6 grams(1 tablespoon) of ginger, and finally, 1 gram (1/2 teaspoon) of allspice.

Gingerbread Biscuit - Step 0 - Ingredients

First, toss the butter bowl and take a hand mixer (unless you placed the butter in a stand mixer’s bowl like I did) and beat the butter. Then cream the egg and honey with the butter.

Gingerbread Biscuit - Step 2 - Beat in the eggs and honey

In a separate bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients. Then, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet. I added 100 grams (about 3/4 cup) at a time. The dough will look a lot like bread crumbs at first. But if you keep mixing it, the dough will eventually pull away from the sides of the bowl. When this happens you know you’ve finished mixing the dough for our delicious gingerbread biscuit!

A Baking Aside

In my attempts to find a good gingerbread biscuit recipe, I noticed a few different things about this particular stage. If you use honey that has a high water content (by that I mean more liquid than solid) then the biscuit dough will very nearly mimic the dough when you use golden syrup or molasses. However, if you use a honey that is very thick (or crystallized – I found a lot of good information about honey here. It definitely explains this concept better than I can!) then the dough will look like breadcrumbs for a long time before you warm the honey enough for the dough to stick together. So, be aware of this when selecting, and using your honey!

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the breadcrumb stage, but you will immediately recognize it when you see it!

As I’ve said at least four times now, the dough will have a bit of a crumble. So kneading the dough will be a bit strange. So, set the dough on a clean work surface and carefully knead it for a minute or so. Then form it into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and pop it into the refrigerator!

Gingerbread Biscuit - Step 3 - Form a disc and store

I recommend that you let the dough rest for 12 hours, however, 3 hours will suffice. The flavors seem to merge better when they have twelve hours.

Once the time has passed, turn on the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Set out a cookie sheet and place on top a piece of baking parchment. Then, remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured work surface. I recommend letting the dough warm up. When you can press the dough without having it immediately crumble (about 20 minutes) then you are ready to go!

Gingerbread Biscuit - Step 4 - Flour and flatten dough

Roll the dough out until it is 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Then grab your favorite cookie cutter (gingerbread men hopefully, at least in this case) and cut away!

Gingerbread Biscuit - Step 5 - Cut out shapes 2

Once you’ve cut them out, place them on the baking sheet. When the oven has preheated, place the tray in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until brown. Then promptly remove the cookies and let them cool for 10 minutes on the sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Gingerbread Biscuit - Step 5 - Cut out shapes 1

Now time to decorate it with a nice royal icing!

Royal Icing

I ran out of food coloring, so I drove to the store to buy some. There, I happened upon some organic food coloring. Intrigued, I tried it out. With the frothy egg white bubbles, I felt like a mad scientist. I added the red and blue (in separate containers) and began mixing. Surprise ran through me as I realized that the red was orange, and I’m still not sure what color the blue turned out to be! So, here’s a note for you and me for when we next use organic food coloring. Make sure the red food coloring doesn’t use turmeric! (Turmeric dyes everything orange.) Beet juice + turmeric makes red become orange.

Instead of boring you with a repeated recipe, check it out here!

Now decorate those biscuits and enjoy!

Merry Christmas to all!

Print Recipe

Syrup-free Gingerbread Biscuit

  • Prep time: 50 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Total time: 4 hours

A golden syrup-free variation of the classic gingerbread biscuit.

Ingredients

Gingerbread

  • 8 tablespoons (113 grams) butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (100 grams) honey
  • 2.5 cups (350 grams) flour
  • 3/4+1/8 cup (175 grams) soft brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon (7 grams) cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tablespoon (6 grams) ginger, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) allspice, ground

Royal Icing

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon (2.5 grams) cream of tartar
  • 3+3/4 cups (600 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) vanilla extract

Instructions

Gingerbread

  • 1)

    Cream wet ingredients: Place the butter in a large bowl and beat the butter until it is smooth, creamy, and has a uniform texture. Add the egg and honey to the bowl and cream the ingredients.

  • 2)

    Sift dry ingredients: Sift the flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and baking soda in a separate bowl.

  • 3)

    Combine: Mix 1/3 of the dry ingredients at a time into the butter-egg mixture. Mix until the dough pulls away from the walls.

  • 4)

    Form a disc: Pour the dough onto a clean surface and briefly knead. The dough will crumble a little, but form it into a disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap.

  • 5)

    Let dough rest: Place the dough in the refrigerator for 3-12 hours.

  • 6)

    Preheat oven: Turn the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

  • 7)

    Soften the dough: Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit on a floured work surface for 20 minutes or until soft enough to roll out.

  • 8)

    Cut out the gingerbread men: Roll out the dough until it is 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough. Place the biscuits on the parchment paper.

  • 9)

    Cook: Place the gingerbread in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until brown. Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before placing them on a cooling rack. Decorate and enjoy!

Royal Icing

  • 1)

    Beat egg whites: Beat the cream of tartar and egg whites until frothy.

  • 2)

    Fold in powdered sugar: Add the vanilla to the bowl. Fold in 2/3 cup (roughly 100 grams) of powdered sugar at a time to the egg whites.

  • 3)

    Beat until stiff peaks: Once all of the powdered sugar has been incorporated, beat the mixture until it becomes thick and stiff peaks begin to form.

  • 4)

    Decorate: If the icing will be dyed, separate into separate containers before adding coloring. Use immediately or store in an airtight container up to 2-3 weeks.

Notes

Gingerbread Biscuit

  1. Using honey instead of golden syrup or molasses creates a biscuit with a snap. To make a classic biscuit, substitute the same quantity of golden syrup for the honey.
  2. Biscuits will store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Royal Icing

  1. If cream of tartar is unavailable, it can be substituted with lemon juice. Generally, for every 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar, 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of lemon juice is used.
  2. If the icing needs to be thickened, add powdered sugar and stir until desired consistency.
  3. If the icing needs to be more liquidy, add a little egg white.
  4. Adding vanilla will darken the icing. Do not add if it needs to be a bright white.

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