- 2 tsp of mixed ground spices (ground ginger, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, allspice - finely ground and sifted)
- 100g butter
- 250g caster sugar
- 3 heaped tbsp runny honey
- 2 tsp cocoa
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 500g flour
- 2 whole eggs
Melt the butter in a bain-marie. Add the sugar, honey, spices and cocoa and gently heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything dissolves into a thick smooth paste. Leave to cool slightly. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda together. Mix it together with the eggs into the paste. Knead to make a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.
Leave the dough at room temperature for an hour or until it becomes pliable again and knead again to ensure the cookies are smooth.
Roll out on a floured surface to about 3 mm thickness and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 8 - 12 minutes at 150 - 160˚C (non-fan forced), or until the edges start to colour very slightly. It is a good idea to test bake just one cookie to see which oven setting and temperature work best for you.
Leave to cool, then cover with a tea towel and leave overnight. Decorate the next day. Leave to dry out and then store in a breathable box in a cool room for a few days so the cookies can soften again.
- 1 egg white
- 150 - 200g icing sugar, sifted (exact amount depends on egg size)
- a couple of drops of fresh lemon juice
Mix the sugar gradually into the egg white and combine well with an electric whisk until the mixture becomes white and glossy (10-15 min). The icing has the right texture if it drops from the spoon in a thin stream which keeps its shape for a short while after landing on a surface. Spoon a little bit into a piping bag with a 1.5 or 2 mm nozzle (or a sandwich bag with a tiny bit cut off at corner) and decorate the cookies. You might have to adjust the thickness with more sugar or egg white to get the right consistency.
Add food colourants for colours and cocoa for brown icing instead of lemon juice.