These gingerbread love hearts are inspired by my character, Olivia Kent, from my book The Cake Maker’s Wish, who makes a peach-coloured version, though with much more fancy, professional decoration than these have! Still, I like to keep things in the realm of achievable. I had never made royal icing before making these pretty biscuits and while they might be beginner level, I still think they’re a gorgeous gift for yourself or someone you love. (I certainly didn’t hear any complaints when I gifted them on!)
I’ve made these ones gluten free (as we are a fully gluten free household) but if you want to make them with regular flour, you can simply swap it for the same amount and they will turn out better, I’m certain. Anyone who has worked with gluten free food will know how variable the outcomes are and just how tricky it can be to work with, especially if you have to roll dough! Given that, I’m pretty darn pleased with these.
Most recipes I looked at included 1 tablespoon of ground ginger in the recipe. I did that to start with but could barely taste it! For me, what on earth is the point in something being ‘ginger’ bread if you can’t taste the ginger. I’ve doubled the amount and think it hits the sweet spot, but if you are a super keen ginger lover, feel free to experiment with even more, if you like.
Here we go…
- 125g butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1/2 cup golden syrup
- 1 egg, separated
- 2.5 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 Tbs ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground all spice
- 150g pure icing sugar (make sure it’s gluten free if you want them to be GF)
- Food colouring of choice, optional (I used Unicorn Superfoods natural pink pitaya powder)
- Preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan forced) and line two baking trays with paper. Ensure you have a little extra flour ready to dust your workspace to roll out the dough.
- With your beaters, beat the butter and brown sugar together until creamy, add the golden syrup and egg yolk and beat again until mixed.
- Sift in your flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda. (Hot tip: if you don’t have a sifter (or don’t like using one–because they can be quite hard on fingers, wrists and elbows–you can simply shake your ingredients through a wire mesh strainer and it will work just as well.) Mix or low speed until combined into a bit of a ball of dough.
- Place you dough onto your floured workspace and knead lightly until it forms a nice, lightly floured dough. You can wrap it in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for half an hour if you like, but I didn’t (because I didn’t read the instructions properly!) and it worked just fine.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is about 4-7mm thick. If you are using gluten free flour, I recommend the thicker width as gluten free dough tends to fall apart and break easily.
- Cut the dough into hearts with a cookie cutter, or any other shape you like, and place onto your papered baking trays, giving a little room between each biscuit for them to expand during cooking.
- To make your icing, beat your egg white until you they hold white peaks. Sift your icing sugar into the bowl and beat on low speed until combined. Add your colour of choice (or separate into multiple bowls if you want additional colours), then feed into a piping bag with your nozzle of choice.
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