And we're back, with some spicy chocolate biscuits for Christmas. I have already made and baked these, so I can vouch for them. I even tasted a tiny corner or two, although they are chocolate and I shouldn't!!
I cut out snowflake and reindeer shapes and decorated them ineptly. I like to think of them as rustic and charming. I really need to improve my decorating skills next year.
This is an easy and forgiving dough, and it makes a lot of biscuits, more than 40. You can increase or decrease the amount of spice and the recipe calls for cocoa and real chocolate as well. I found whole nutmegs in the baking aisle and so I grated half a small one into the mixing bowl.
It's a little beating and some melting and that's it. The trick is to make sure the dough is cold, and then to put the dough shapes into the fridge again for 20-30 minutes before they go into the oven. This helps them to have a nice crisp cut edge.
You can decorate the biscuits any way you choose, with fondant, or royal icing or glace icing and some sprinkles. The dough will keep well in the fridge, or frozen, and so you can make it way before Christmas and they only take 10 minutes to bake in the oven.
NB An Australian tablespoon is 20ml or 4 teaspoons
Chocolate Gingerbread Biscuits makes 40 or more
- 180g ( 3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
- 110g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tbspn ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tbspn cinnamon
- 1/2 tspn ground cloves
- 1/2 tspn ground nutmeg
- 450g (3 cups) plain flour
- 60g (1/2 cup) good cocoa. Dutch is good!!!
- 1 tspn bicarb soda
- good pinch of salt
- 60g good dark chocolate
- 60ml (1/4 cup) treacle or molasses
- 1 large egg
Put the softened butter, brown and caster sugars, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg into your mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until combined and then on a high speed for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is pale and creamy.
While the butter, sugars and spices are creaming, melt the chocolate and treacle together. I use the microwave for 30-40 seconds and then take it out before the chocolate is fully melted and stir until smooth. Allow to cool a little.
Add the cooled chocolate and treacle to the creamed mixture and when it is all combined, add the egg. Beat for another 2-3 minutes.
Measure the flour, cocoa , bicarb and salt into a bowl and sieve or whisk thoroughly. When the batter is pale and fully mixed, turn the mixer down to the lowest setting and then gradually add the dry ingredients.
When it starts to clump, remove the bowl and bring it together with your hands to form a dough. Make into a disc shape and refrigerate in a ziplock bag.
Take the dough out of the fridge and use a piece about as big as your fist. Roll it out between two sheets of baking paper, this means you don't need to add extra flour, which spoils the dough. It should be about 5mm thick. Cut out shapes and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Pop the tray into the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so. You can cut out lots of biscuits and refrigerate them all at once. While the biscuits are in the fridge, preheat the oven to 170*C.
Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes, I rotated and swapped the trays half way through and my biscuits only took 10 minutes. Cool for a minute on the tray and then transfer to a rack to cool.
Decorate with ordinary glace icing, or royal icing, or fondant. Or just eat them as they are: spicy and chocolaty gingerbread. And now you know why I need to be better at piping icing: all those reindeer have Marge Simpson hairdos where there should be antlers!!!