I bought some black treacle for this as the original recipe asked for, but disliked it so much on taste that I poured it back into the tin and used molasses instead. I think it made for a subtler flavour, too! The spices come through beautifully, the biscuits aren't too sweet, and, through trial and error, I eventually found the correct amount of time to bake them for. They really don't take very long! Mine took seven minutes in a fan oven. I had some Shimmer Stars from Marks & Spencer that I used as buttons, stuck on with a little dab of honey, but you could decorate these any way you like!
Yield: 25 regular size, double that miniatures Time: 1 hour, plus overnight chilling
400g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g soft dark brown sugar (or dark muscovado sugar)
1 medium egg
125g molasses (or black treacle, if you prefer)
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and ground spices, and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg and molasses until fully combined - you may need to scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add the flour mixture two tablespoons at a time, again scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary, until fully combined. You should have a manageable, but soft, dough. Divide the dough into three chunks, wrap in cling film, and place in the fridge to chill - preferably overnight.
Heat the oven to 150C fan / 170C / 375F / Gas Mark 3.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and leave to soften for ten minutes or so.
- Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour (or cover your work surface with greaseproof paper and scatter some flour onto that!). Line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper, too.
- Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 4mm. Cut into shapes, and arrange them on the lined baking trays.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly on the trays before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, p140.
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