Tip one on how to make the world’s best gingerbread cookies – don’t go to IKEA in Sweden for cookie cutters. Well you can, but it’s probably not necessary.
I was in Stockholm in October and decided to visit the world’s 2nd largest IKEA store (it was the largest until a bigger one opened in Korea in 2014). I don’t even go to IKEA here in Australia, so I’m not sure why I decided to go to one in Sweden but I did. Maybe it was the cold air, maybe it was some kind of Swedish sorcery. Whatever it was, I went. I caught a train from Stockholm, which took about 40 minutes and then had a 20 minute walk to get to IKEA.
And then I began the usual task of walking around and around with no going backwards to get to the checkout. Although this, apparently, was a little different. I walked around and around the outside up and up about 5 or so levels and then there was a middle section as well, so I’m sure I saw some parts twice and I probably missed some parts as well.
All the time I kept thinking that I had to buy some kind of souvenir and flat pack furniture was out of the question.
In the kitchen knick-knack section I came across some holiday 3D cookie cutters, some chocolate moulds and a wooden spoon. All the perfect size to slip into my suitcase to bring home.
And then I had to create a gingerbread recipe to use them. I had a few failures, too much molasses, not enough flour. I was running out of time to get these cookies done before Christmas. So instead of making another bad batch and rushing to get them done I decided to use someone else’s recipe. Mel is a friend of mine over at The Kind Cook. You can find an amazing Gingerbread recipe on her website, along with lots of other delicious food recipes. I’ve also included a re-written version of the recipe below.
Of course I also had some lunch at IKEA. I had heard from friends in Australia that IKEA have vegan meatballs. All the signs were in Swedish and I could work out some ingredients but I had to ask just to make sure. If you ask for no parmesan then they are vegan – no animal parts at all. And they were pretty damn good too. I was surprised at how many people were at the restaurant. Maybe it was the cheap food prices compared to other places outside IKEA. Maybe they just really like IKEA.
I was really excited by these 3D cookie cutters. There was a star, a Christmas tree and a reindeer. I like a thick gingerbread and I made it a little too thick for them to go together. As soon as I put the tree together half of it fell off. The reindeer and star lasted long enough for me to get a photo, and then fell apart. Luckily I realised they weren’t going to work as well as I expected and I cut out lots and lots of stars. If you cook yours a little longer than the 10 minutes, or if they are thinner then they will be crisper and may work as 3D cookies.
The flavour in these are just so gingery, perfect for gingerbread cookies. The only problem with that is I kept eating them and eating them. I had to give them away, which was easy because they are so moorish. I took them as an after trail run snack one morning, and took the rest into work. Two great places to give away food – after exercise to hungry runners and at work to hungry co-workers.
This recipe made about 50 or 60 stars and you can really get carried away with the decorations. I went for the simple look.
I didn’t make my own icing for this. Mel describes how to create your own on her website but I went to the supermarket and bought icing in a tube that you pipe out.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 40 medium gingerbread men 1x
- Category: Snack
- Cuisine: Australian
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 5 cups wholemeal plain flour
- 1 tsp bi carb soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 100 g coconut oil (melted)
- 100 g apple sauce
- ½ cup molasses
- ½ cup almond milk
- Put the brown sugar into a large bowl and break up any large lumps.
- Sift the flour, bi card soda and spices over the brown sugar.
- Add the salt.
- Mix the dry ingredients together until well combined.
- Put the coconut oil, apple sauce, molasses and almond milk in a small bowl and whisk together until well combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine. Mix them together until you get a dough type texture. If the mixture is too wet just add more flour until you get the right texture.
- Cut the “dough” into 4 and make squares, wrap each square in glad wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
- Line trays with baking paper.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out one square at a time onto a well floured bench.
- Use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the dough.
- Gently pull the scrap gingerbread away from the shape and re-roll, flatten and cut out more shapes from the cookie dough.
- Use a spatula to lift your shapes off the bench and place on trays.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Decorate when completely cool and store in an airtight container.