Today I wanted to share some fun gingerbread creations that I thought Janeites might enjoy during this time of the year. I personally love gingerbread and when you show me how creative it can be to use it in baking and in crafts, I am even more hooked!
This fall I bought several new cookbooks and one of them was Bobbette & Belle; Classic Recipes from the Celebrated Pastry Shop. Even though I have never been to their bake shop, the reviews on Amazon made this book seem too good to pass on, and I have to say, I am thrilled with this new cookbook, or shall I say, bakebook?
I was inspired to share two of their recipes in here because not only were they relatively easy to make, and delicious to eat, as attested to by my four children arguing over who would get to devour the last gingerbread cookie, they are also based on gingerbread, which has been popular in England too for a very long time.
In England, gingerbread refers not to a cake, but a type of biscuit made with ginger. It commonly takes the form of a gingerbread man. Gingerbread men are first attributed to Queen Elizabeth I, who allegedly served the figurines to foreign dignitaries. Today, however, they are generally served at Christmastime. (From The Jane Austen Centre)
These delicious treats can be eaten all year long, but I always have a special place in my heart for them this time of year and I hope you will too!
The first is a Holiday Gingerbread Bundt, which I plan to make and give as gifts to a few people this year because it stays fresh for up to a week in the fridge and it can be eaten from morning to midnight… Enjoy!
Holiday Gingerbread Bundt
The flavors of the holiday season really come together in this delicious Bundt that stays fresh for up to a week. If you want to skip the icing, top it with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of dulce de leche ice cream.
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg ½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup butter, melted ¾ cup honey
1 large egg, room temperature 1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup water ¼ cup sour cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a bundt pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In a separate bowl, combine the honey and butter.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the egg and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. With the mixer on medium-low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture in 3 additions and the honey mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour addition. Blend after each addition until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the water and sour cream with a large spatula. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth on top.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a wooden skewer in the middle comes out clean. For even baking, rotate the pan from front to back halfway through the baking. Allow the Bundt to cool completely in the pan.
Invert the pan over. a serving plate and tap the bottom to dislodge the cake. Apply their icing over the top. The Bundt can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Cream Cheese Glaze
Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
½ cup of cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons whole milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups icing sugar, sifted
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and salt. Beat on medium-high speed until well-blended and there are no visible lumps of cream cheese.
Reduce the speed to medium and gradually mix in the icing sugar, then beat on high until completely smooth.
Visit this link to print out a copy of these recipes, which are from the Bobbette & Belle; Classic Recipes from the Celebrated Pastry Shop cookbook.
The next recipe is part cookie, part craft. I was so inspired by the photos in their cookbook, that I had to create an Austen-inspired version for myself to share with my readers. You’ll either think I am passionate about Austen, or beyond help. Don’t despair, I did let my family eat them as cookies too!
Aren’t they adorable? I was inspired by the photograph in the Bobbette & Belle; Classic Recipes from the Celebrated Pastry Shop cookbook, but I made it my very own Austen creation!
(Makes about 10 large cookies)
3 cups of all-purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ginger 1 tablespoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup loosely packed brown sugar 1 large egg, room temperature
½ cup fancy molasses 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the molasses and vanilla and beat until well blended, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl midway.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture, mixing until a dough forms. Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten the dough into a disc, fully wrap in the plastic and chill for at least two hours or up to 8 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a ¼ inch thickness, using additional flour to dust your work surface and rolling pin as needed. Cut out house shapes, or whatever desired shapes you’d like to make with the dough. Arrange the cookies on the baking sheets, leaving a space between each cookie on the sheet.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until firm to the touch. You can rotate the pans in the middle of the baking times. Allow the cookies to cool slightly until placing them on a wire cooling rack. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to one month.
- Decorate with icing to suit your decorative tastes.
4 cups icing sugar
4 large egg whites
To prepare the icing:
- Sift the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add two of the egg whites. Increase the mix speed to medium-low and mix until combined. Add the remaining two egg whites and mix on medium speed for 10 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least one time.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. The royal icing will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. Before using, bring the icing to room temperature and then beat.
To make the display above, I made this cookie dough and cut them out with my Pride & Prejudice cookie cutters from this Etsy shop. I love these cutters!
I baked the cookies as directed in the recipe and then I assembled this display a few days later. For above my mantle, I bought two of these glass jars from Oriental Trading, and one of these glass jars from Oriental Trading. Then, I used modeling clay from Crayola and put the cookies into the dough and then molded them into the jars. To ice the cookies in a more simple manner, I used a store bought tube of white cookie decorating icing. Please don’t tell the cookies!
Here’s Elizabeth Bennet ready for her jar. It’s funny because she did turn out to be the most difficult cookie to get to cooperate with regards to standing straight in the jar; obstinate, headstrong cookie! As opposed to Mr. Darcy, who knew his duty to my purpose immediately, LOL!
Then I embellished the mantle area with little holiday accessories.
You can print out your own copy of the cookie and icing recipes here for your own enjoyment.
I hope you love it and that this post inspires you to create your own Austen holiday display one day!
To make this holiday blog event even sweeter, I am offering a giveaway of one of my very own favorite finds from 2016; a pair of Plantronics wireless headphones, which will be given away to one Just Jane 1813 reader, along with one JAFF audiobook of your choice, from Audible.
All you have to do to enter this special giveaway is leave a comment on every post on this blog from December 1-12, 2016. Just think of it as your way of saying “Hello” to us every day during this event and letting me know what you think about each post. At midnight, ET, on December 15th, I will select the winner of these headphones and JAFF audiobook from the names of the readers who commented on each post, and on December 16, 2016, I will announce the winner of these awesome headphones.
Good luck to all of the entrants!