Christmas in Latvia cannot be imagined without baking tray upon tray of gingerbread (piparkūkas). It is a national pastime in the days leading up to Christmas – store brought gingerbread just won’t do. However, majority will be happy to use store-brought gingerbread dough and every self respecting bakery and supermarket will have it for sale. The biggest discussion around this time is what dough to buy as some will give you crunchy and crisp cookies, while others will lead to softer and puffier outcome.
My family was no exception, since I can remember myself a whole day was spent in the kitchen rolling the dough and cutting out cookie shapes. It is a tradition that I have kept for my kids, who, just like me 20+ years ago, are losing patience to roll and cut just two trays in. I find it almost therapeutic and always end up with more gingerbread than I can eat. The recipe was given to me by my husbands aunt in Sydney and following it will lead to slightly soft, nicely spiced cookies.
This amount of dough will make around 120 gingerbread cookies. The dough can be kept in the fridge for couple weeks. The longer it is kept, the stronger the flavour of gingerbread.
- 1 cup golden syrup
- 1 tbs ground cinnamon
- 1 tbs ground cloves
- 1 tbs ground ginger
- 1 tbs ground cardamon
- 1/2 tbs allspice
- 250g butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- 1tbs warm water
- 5 cups flour (plus extra for rolling)
- In a small saucepan heat golden syrup and spices until well combined, roughly 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat transfer to a medium size mixing bowl and gradually beat in the butter.
- Beat together 2 eggs and sugar, add to the syrup and butter mixture.
- Dissolve the bicarb soda in the water and add to the mixture.
- Add flour, one cup at the time. Gradually add more flour if the dough is still sticky.
- Place the dough on kitchen counter and knead it until it becomes shiny (usually around 5-7 minutes).
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
- Hour before baking, take the dough out of the fridge to allow it to warm up.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line baking tray with baking paper.
- Work with quarter of the dough at a time. Sprinkle some flour on the work surface, roll the dough 5mm thick and cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
- Place the gingerbread on the baking tray. Whisk 2 eggs until well blended. Brush the eggwash on the cookies.
- Bake gingerbread in the oven for 8 minutes until golden brown.