After two weeks of constant activity in my life (moving out of our old house to a new, beautiful one) I have time. Time for a cake and time for my blog. Christmas time is coming and as I wrote into one of my friend´s Christmas packages which is on its way under their Christmas tree, Christmas is about giving pieces of our soules to ones we care about the most, because only at Christmas time people can gather and enjoy joy, peace and happiness together.
When I was little, I baked cookies every other day with my grandmother. Using the same recipe, the same cookie cutters. My mom was busy with working and travelling back and forth between Italy,where she worked, and my homeland. So I spent days baking and watching my grandma giving me the roots of my baking addiction. I just loved it. Taking out a tiny chair so I could cut out different shapes of cookies from a dough my grandma mixed with her bare hands. No mixers, no rush in time. Only me, grandma and cookies. Now, when I´m older, I mostly bake cookies and cakes myself, but I still come to my grandma with a dough in my hands and we just bake. The same thing happened with these cookies. I made the dough one day ahead so all of the spices and ingredients could rest together and then I just brough the dough over to my grandma and we started baking.
I´ve tried and tried a lot of different gingerbread recipes until I came up with this one. This is the ultimate and best-tasting gingerbread recipe for anybody who´d like to feel like a pro when tasting them. There is nothing more traditional than these cookies, which smell like Christmas. Every year I make at least 2 batches so I could give them as a sweet gift for ones I love.
(Inspired by my people and by a book written by Emma and Ema Tekelyove)
600 g all-purpose flour, typ ´00´, as finest it can be
500 g granulated sugar
100 g runny honey(really important, must be runny, not sugary and hard)
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tbls vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbls ground cinnamon
1 tbls gingerbread spice mixture
1 egg for brushing
walnuts and blanched almonds(almonds without their skin) for decorating the cookies
Mix all of the ingredients for a dought together until your dough is smooth and smelling like Christmas. Wrap your dough with a clingfilm and put to the fridge until the next day. It is important to let the dough rest overnight so all of the spices and flavours can combine well. I really don´t recommend skipping this step.
On the next day, when you and your dough is ready for baking, divide your dough into 5 chunks.
Preheat your oven to 190°C.
Take first piece of the dough and roll it out between two sheets of baking paper greased with sunflower oil to 0,5 cm thickness. Then cut out different shapes using cookie cutters and place them on a baking sheet lined with a baking paper. Decorate with walnuts or blanched almonds, brush with egg and bake for about 5-7 minutes, until golden. When done, allow them to cool and transfer them to a plastic bowl.
When all of the dough is used and all of the cookies are in a plastic container, put a piece of an apple inside of the bowl so cookies remain soft.
Happy pre-Christmas baking!
Ps. Enjoy the beautiful smell of cinnamon, anise and honey when baking these beauties, because the smell is incredible!