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What’s better than a gingerbread cookie at Christmas? That would be two gingerbread cookies. What could be even better than that? Well, that would be smothering them with nutella and making a cookie sandwich. You’re welcome. These gingerbread nutella sandwich cookies are delicious and a brilliant treat to make this holiday period. Particularly if, like me, you like the idea of making gingerbread decorations for the tree but then have loads of dough left over. If this sounds familiar, this is a recipe for you.
This gorgeously spiced gingerbread makes quite a lot, so what I tend to do is make it up, divide the dough in half and then depending on what I have planned, roll and bake one half and then chill or freeze the other to use another time. It’s so great knowing you have this whenever you might want to do a simple and gorgeous festive dessert or need something to take to a party.
Adding the nutella is brilliant. I usually have an open jar in the house, and really gingerbread was just waiting to be paired off with this luscious cocoa nutty spread. You could also use caramel or ganache if you don’t have it, that would be ace too, but this is maybe the easiest option. No extra stress this time of year please.
These biscuits truly have their party dresses on with the addition of royal icing decorations; plus you can go crazy with creative flair. Or, if you don’t have time or just don’t fancy icing the biscuits, you can dust the tops of the cookies with icing sugar, before sandwiching them together; entirely up to you.
170g caster sugar
170g unsalted butter (cold)
¼ tsp salt
120g golden syrup
50g black treacle
500g plain flour
100g self rising flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 large egg
This will make 20 large star sandwich cookies, if baking with the whole amount of dough.
(Or if you prefer, you can just dust the tops of the cookies with icing sugar, if you don’t want to ice the biscuits).
Method for gingerbread Nutella sandwich cookies
Put the sugar, syrup, treacle, butter and egg into a mixer. Mix on a low speed for a few minutes until the cubes of butter break down a little and then turn the mixer on high for a few more minutes until the size of the lumps of butter has reduced.
In a separate bowl, combine your flours and add the salt and spices. Then sieve to bring everything together.
On a low speed, add the flour and mix on a low speed for about a minute until everything begins to combine. Then turn the speed up until the dough really begins to cling together and starts to form a ball. Don’t be tempted to add any liquid at this stage, the dough will come together. I’ve added extra liquid before and this means that the gingerbread will soften really quickly once baked which isn’t really what you want.
Bring the mixture together with your hands. Separate it into two. If using immediately, refrigerate each half for at least 30 minutes (longer is totally fine) and then roll out the dough, cut your shapes and bake.
If you are freezing any of the dough, this is the time to do it. Wrap the dough tightly in clingfilm and store in the fridge for a month.
Preheat your oven to 150C.
I find it easiest to roll the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper, which means that you won’t need to add any extra flour to the dough. Cut out the stars (I used two different shapes, but use what you have at home. If you don’t have any, round cookies work just as well). Roll the dough pretty thin. Remember, they are going to be sandwiched together, so you don’t want each cookie to be as thick as regular gingerbread.
Make sure that you have an even number of each star pattern and then on half cut out a hole in the middle, using a circle or smaller star shaped cutter, so that you’ll be able to see all that gorgeous nutella poking through when they’re baked.
You’ll need a few cookie trays for this, each lined with non-stick parchment paper.
Cook each tray for about 15-20 minutes. You’ll know when they’re done when they’re set and browning around the edges and are lightly golden brown on the bottom.
When they’re cooked, take them out of the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Be careful when you take them from the tray, they are very fragile when they come out of the oven, but soon harden up nicely.
Once baked and cooled, you can pop them in an airtight container and they’ll keep happily for a few weeks. Gingerbread is great like that.
If you’re eating straight away, let’s prepare the royal icing.
It’s so easy to make royal icing. All you need to do is separate an egg so that you have the whites. Be careful not to get any yolk in.
Add the whites to a mixer with a pinch of salt and then slowly add the sifted icing sugar until it is all combined and the icing looks white and glossy. I usually add a little boiled water at this stage to make the consistency a little looser so that it’s easier to decorate the biscuits.
Pour the icing into a piping bag and cut a tiny hole at the bottom.
Decorate the gingerbread cookies however you like and leave on a wire rack to set for an hour.
Once they’re ready, get a spoonful of nutella onto each cookie bottom and then sandwich with the decorated tops. Enjoy!
These will keep in an airtight container for a few days.
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Cranberry and apple curd. Goodness, this is a special, no fuss seasonal joy of a recipe. It’s the sort of make ahead recipe, similar to chutneys, that you can serve with so many things and it just makes everything taste that much better and more festive too. Cranberries and apples go so well together and with the orange and cinnamon it is a real holiday treat.
Made in minutes, it’s a brilliant way to use up leftover cranberries you’ve got lying around, particularly if you’re like me and buy too many for your cranberry sauce and then aren’t quite sure what to do with the rest. Plus they’re only in season so fleetingly it’s lovely to be able to celebrate their jewel bright colour and gorgeously zesty flavour like this. Have it on toast, a cheeky slice of panettone, lovingly spooned onto breakfast muffins or scones, stirred into a steaming bowl of porridge or use like your would lemon curd in baking. So many choices. They would make a beautiful and unique homemade gift this time of year too.
If you pop it in a sterilised jar it’ll keep for months, or pop it in the fridge and use within a few weeks. Or, batch some up and pop in the freezer for when you fancy it. So versatile.
This curd has some texture even after you blitz it, but if you want it smoother, sieve the puree before adding the eggs and butter. It’s delicious either way, but I quite like the texture, it gives a real sense of what is in the curd, and it is homemade after all, that’s part of its charm. (Less washing up too) Fab-yule-ous.
Give the cranberries a good wash and add them to a large saucepan.
Chop the cooking apple into small pieces and add to the cranberries then zest the oranges on top.
In a jug, juice the oranges (this should give you about 130 ml and then top it off with cold water to reach 200ml in total) Pour this into the saucepan too, alongside the cinnamon and salt.
Cook the cranberries on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until they have popped, the apples have softened and cooked and some of the liquid has evaporated and thickened. Off the heat, use a stick blender to make a puree. Remove approximately 100ml of the puree and leave to one side to cool. Leave the remaining batch of puree to cool too for about 10 minutes before the next stage.
Separate 3 egg yolks (you can save the whites for meringues) and gently whisk in a bowl. Once the puree has cooled, add the 100ml into the eggs, gently stirring them all together. (This is called tempering the eggs, which basically means, gradually warming them up, so they don’t curdle, which really isn’t what you want here).
Then add the mixture into the rest of the puree and stir gently to combine on a very low heat. (You don’t want the eggs to scramble if the heat is too high).
Once the mixture begins to thicken, gradually add cubes of butter and stir. When you have added all the butter and it has melted and combined into the curd it’s ready. Turn off the heat and spoon into prepared jars.
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