OK, so gingerbread is pushing the blog’s original sandwich remit a touch far, I know. My continuous unemployment has prevented me from indulging my more pricey foody agenda, and my continually-increasing obsession with baking bread has shifted things more in that direction. But this recipe comes from The Handmade Loaf. So it counts. Quiet at the back.
I’ve had these earmarked as a bake for when I’m with my lovely lady who, sadly, lives an hour or so away whilst we each pursue our fledgeling careers. She’s a big fan of ginger, honey, gingerbread, spices… Basically these was always going to find favour with my sweetheart.
I ground the spices (coriander seed, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, ginger, cardamom, fennel seed, all carefully balanced as per the recipe) in a pestle and mortar, weighed out the plain white and light rye flours and sugar, added in the bicarbonate of soda, whilst the honey and butter were combined, melted, and set to cooling by aforementioned ladyfriend. I mixed the dry ingredients together by hand, breaking up the lumps of sugar until it was an even mix.
Once the butter and honey had cooled I added the double cream, and stired. They didn’t combine very attractively, but I managed to get the cream reasonably evenly distributed, if not emulsified. I added this to the dry ingredients, and stirred into the smooth(ish) dough you see below.
At this stage it was fairly pliable, if a touch unruly, but I managed to roll it into a sausage and wrap in in cling film (which was surprisingly unclingy; budget cling film is most definitely a false economy).
After slightly longer chill than the prescribed two hours (pie delays play), I rolled it out (a challenge at first), and cut out circles of the dough, before spreading them over a baking traylined with baking parchment. I then glazed them with 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, and used a fork to create the pattern as per the purty picture in the book.
Egg-washed, scored, and ready for the oven!
I baked them for the lower end of the siggested time – 10 minutes – because I prefer a bready texture, but the glaze ensured the tops coloured nicely and had a crisp to the surface.
The texture was divine, and the spicing rich and complex. Following some advice from the Mellow Bakers forum I was generous with the ginger, a decision I didn’t regret as, despite having so much going on spice-wise, the ginger was still able to make its voice heard.
As is perhaps becoming a moot point, I would make these again. I struggle to recall a recipe of Dan Lepard’s that hasn’t been both a triumph of well written instructions and a delectable treat to be made again. Yes, I’m a bit of a fan.
I think these would be great at christmas, and might even work baked a tree decorations… Ooh now there’s an idea!