There’s two reasons you have to bake ginger biscuits in December: first of all, they make the whole house smell of ginger and all things Christmassy. The second, if you need it, is that they’re the first taste of Christmas, perfect for tree-putting-up snacks and for sharing with anyone who calls in (especially if they have presents).
I like to split the dough, and bake it in three batches (a batch per week in the lead up to Christmas) as it freezes well, and un-iced, the biscuits keep for up to a week in a biscuit tin.
Spiced and Iced Polar Bear Ginger Bread Biscuits
Ingredients for about 18 polar bear biscuits (6 per batch if freezing)
For the Biscuits
Plain flour, 350g
Ground ginger, 2 tbsp
Ground cinnamon, 1 tsp
Ground all spice, 1/2 tsp
Ground cloves, a pinch
Ground cardamom, a pinch
Salt, a pinch
Bicarbonate of soda, 1 tsp
Cold butter, 100g
Light muscovado sugar, 100g
Dark muscovado sugar, 45g
Whisked egg, 1
Golden syrup, 3 tbsp
Black treacle, 1 tbsp
Freshly grated ginger, 2 tsp
Finely grated zest of half a small orange
For the Icing
White fondant, half a pack
Cornflour, 1 tsp
Water, a few drops
Pre-heat the oven to 160℃ and line two large baking trays with parchment.
To a medium sized bowl, add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and butter. Next, either using the rub-in method, or using a food processor, bring the dry ingredients and the butter to the texture of fine breadcrumbs.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, and syrups along with the orange peel and grated ginger.
Pour the wet ingredients in to the flour mixture and combine, bringing it to a soft dough.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 2-3mm. The thinner your biscuit, the crisper it’ll be, and the fatter it is, the softer it’ll be – go with whatever texture you’re craving. Cut out gingerbread polar bears (or whatever shape you like) and re-roll the scraps to make more. Using a spatula, transfer the gingerbread to the prepared trays.
Bake for 12 minutes until golden – don’t worry if they’re still soft when you remove them from the oven, they’ll crisp up once cool.
When completely cool, roll out the icing until it’s a couple of millimetres thick. Cut the fondant using the same cookie cutter used to cut the biscuits. To ‘glue’ it down, wash the top of biscuit with a thin solution of cornflour and water and place the fondant on top, patting it gently.
PS. I ALWAYS bite the head off first and I’m never sorry. Who’s with me?