Monday, 30 November 2015

Gingerbread Star Trees

Having spotted this recipe in the Waitrose Christmas Harvest cook book, we decided to try the recipe for gingerbread, tweaking it to be gluten free.

The ingredients we used were -
125g unsalted butter
100g dark soft sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
325g Dove's Farm gluten free plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp Waitrose Signature Spice (ground) (this is a blend of spices - cinnamon, ginger, etc)
To decorate
100g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
20ml egg white

We also used a set of 5 star-shaped cookie cutters, plus a 1.5cm round cutter, non-stick baking sheets and a silicone sheet for rolling out the dough on.

Preheating the oven to 170°C, we put the non-stick baking trays in the fridge to cool.

First of all we melted the butter, sugar and syrup together in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally, then removed from the heat and combined well with a silicone spoon.

Having sifted the gluten free flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a bowl the melted ingredients were stirred

in to make a stiff dough.

Turning the dough out onto a silicone sheet, it was cut in half.  Half the dough was put to one side to be frozen for later use.  The remaining half was rolled to a thickness of about 5mm.

Using the cutters, we cut out one of each size star and 4 of the rounds. After cutting the stars, we also cut out additional small stars, gingerbread men and holly leaves for icing later.
The cut biscuits were then placed on the chilled baking sheets before chilling for 10 minutes until firm.

Baking the biscuits for 10-12 minutes, we checked they were just turning a light golden brown, before cooling on the tray for a couple of minutes.  Next they were transferred to a wire rack and left to cool.

When we were ready to ice the biscuits, we mixed together the icing sugar and egg white until smooth then spooned into a small greaseproof piping

Assembling the tree, we used the icing to stick one of the round biscuits onto the centre of one of the largest stars. We then added the next star biscuit on top and continued to build layers using one small round and the next size of star, descending in size, to form each layer.

We used two of the smallest star biscuits, sandwiched with icing, on a cut cocktail stick to form the tree's top.

Dusting with icing sugar, the gingerbread tree was placed inside a plastic pot (reusing a meringue pot from Sainsbury's in-store bakery) ready to be eaten later.

We decorated the remaining biscuits with first white, then coloured icing.  Turning the gingerbread man shape upside down and icing it as a reindeer (a jelly bean was used as the nose!)  We made small snowflakes out of the stars and turned the holly leaves and rounds into a holly spray..... these were stored in a seasonal tin to be eaten later.

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