We all know that one person who has been counting down to Christmas from 15 weeks to go. Every week they will update you with a new number, despite the fact you probably aren’t even considering thinking about Christmas until at least November hits, and each week this person grows more and more amazed about just how little time there is left until the day of all days – Christmas Day.
Their eyes get wider, their voice grows more passionate, “Did you know there is only 10 weeks until Christmas?!” and each week feels like Groundhog Day, “There is only 9 weeks until Christmas! Oh my gosh, 9 weeks everybody!” (and so on).
Each time they announce the countdown you have to meticulously form a response that makes you sound just as enthused as your elf-wanna-be, egg-nog-sculling buddy without any hint of sarcasm seeping through – which I can tell you is sometimes very, very hard to do. But, as annoying or as crazy as these people seem, they eventually become the most important person in the whole entire world – for at least a few minutes of your day anyway.
At four weeks, they tell you yet again “4 weeks until Christmas, that is only 1 month! Crazy!” at this point your ears actually perk up and your eyes really widen – there is no faking it this time, “What?! 4 weeks until Christmas?! Karen you really saved my Santa-butt”, because you finally realise how close Christmas is and how little you have organised.
Now, thanks to Karen (Karen, you the real MVP) you have four weeks to get your magical, Christmas shit together. That includes present shopping, tree decorating and Christmas baking, and we all know you don’t just bake for Christmas day, no sir-y. Christmas treats extend from December, hell even November, until the new year. You want to keep that family happy? Then bake, BAKE NOW!
Here at West End Tea Co, we recommend starting with an ol’ classic that everybody loves – the faithful gingerbread cookie (particularly those shaped into cute little humans that you can spend all afternoon decorating). With the added spices from our Golden Milk Tea Latte powder, this recipe will be a crowd-pleaser. But beware of the one who yells, “Not the gum drop buttons!!”, you’ll have to gobble him up quick.
Now, there are a couple of things about this recipe that may have you wondering ‘why’, but I assure you they are important and you do need to do them. First of all, fully dissolving the sugar is a must, it helps with bringing the soft doughy consistency that comes with your traditional gingerbread man.
Secondly, the cooling of the dough is also important because before the dough is cooled it’s quite soft, and you need it to be workable and solid enough to be cutting the little guys out while not loosing their shape. This means that making these bad boys takes two separate steps - preparing the dough in the morning and cutting in the afternoon, so just keep that in mind. Other than that it’s all fairly straight forward and easy recipe to make.
150g butter, chopped
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, sifted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon of Golden Milk, sifted
1 teaspoon of mixed spiced, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups of plain flour, sifted
1 egg white
1 1/4 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Place butter, sugar and molasses in saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring for three minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat. Stir through bicarbonate of soda (this step has a tendency to foam up so keep an eye on the mixture while stirring through). Transfer to a large heat proof bowl, set aside and allow to cool.
Stir in the egg, Golden Milk, mixed spice, baking powder and flour until combined. Divide dough in half and shape into discs. Cover each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of three hours so it’s firm.
Preheat oven to 180°C, line three baking trays with greased baking paper.
Roll dough discs out, between two sheets of baking paper is a helpful way for less mess, until about 5mm thick, cut shapes from dough, while re-rolling dough scraps and using them as well. Place 2cm apart on pre-prepared trays. Repeat with remaining disc.
Bake 1 tray at a time, for 7 minutes or until just firm to touch. (return other trays to the fridge as to not let the other men loose there shape). Once cooked allow to stand on trays for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
Making the icing; Using a fork, beat the egg white in a large bowl until foamy. Gradually beat in icing sugar until combined. Stir in lemon juice. Spoon icing into a snap lock bag, snip off one corner (the bigger the hole the bigger the icing - 2-3mm is enough) Decorate the gingerbread men with icing, add a drop of food colouring to change things up - set aside to cool for 20 minutes or until set.