Baking gingerbread cookies before Christmas belongs to the important yearly Christmas traditions for me. It can be nice family fun to bake and decorate the cookies, hogs and hoglets alike can participate. This time I took the easy way out with the ready made Ikea gingerbread cookie dough, so the baking went quite smoothly, but still resulted in lovely looking woodland animals collection. I like to make the cookies very thin so that they are crispy after the baking and then get a light decoration. Decoration isn't necessarily needed, the cookies are tasty even without.
550g gingerbread cookie dough
For decorating (optional):
Tyrkisk Peber extract and crush
Different cookie decorations
Take small pieces of the dough and roll them out thinly on a floured even surface. Cut out any shapes you like with cookie cutters. For me the hedgehog shape was obviously the natural choice, but I also made other animal shapes and even Finland shaped cookies.
Bake the cookies on baking paper at 175C for about 6 minutes until crispy. Keep an eye on them while they are in the oven as the thin ones can bake quite quickly and start blackening around the edges.
Let the cookies cool fully before decorating. Make the coloured icing in the meanwhile. Of course ready made coloured icing can be purchased, but it's nice to fiddle around making your own. I normally just add lemon juice to icing sugar and whisk it to a smooth icing, which needs to be fairly thick as you don't want it to escape the cookies. Add food colouring carefully as it might make the mix too liquid and then you would need to add icing sugar again. I also made one special icing of salty liquorice type of flavour with Tyrkisk Peber extract.
I always make my own piping bag either out of a freezing bag or baking paper rolled into a funnel. I think that life might be easier with a proper piping bag or ready made icing from the tube, but I'm used to it this way. Squirt all sorts of shapes and figures on the cookies, you can even write on them if you like.
Then also sprinkle any sprinkles you like on the icing when it's still soft, so these will stick to it. Then let the icing get hard in peace and later place the cookies into a Christmas tin or share them with your friends.