So, the New Year has come, which means it’s Gingerbread Cookie Time! There’s a strange tradition in Turkey. As we’re not Christian, we don’t celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving, but instead we celebrate the New Year’s Eve like it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving. We decorate our houses with Christmas trees, we bake Turkey, and as for me, I bake gingerbread cookies. I try different recipes each year, but until this yesterday, I couldn’t find the perfect one.
I mentioned about the old book I bought from Cuba. Well, it turned out that this book has the most amazing gingerbread cookie recipe ever. It’s originally a chocolate gingerbread men recipe, but you can’t tell it has chocolate in it. Chocolate just gives a concentrated flavor to the cookies and makes them tastier. I really can’t tell how good the cookies were. I don’t think I’ll ever change my recipe again. This is it.
I also wanted to do something little more this year, and made a gingerbread Christmas tree from star-shaped cookies. It’s really easy to make (not like making a gingerbread house) and it definitely impresses your friends!
And finally, I decorated the gingerbread tree with some truffles. I mentioned that before, but making truffles is really easy (but also messy), and you can be creative by adding different liquids. I used some homemade rose water in my truffles, and decorated them with some dried roses and homemade rose sugar. Everybody in the office liked them. Besides, you cannot hate something with rose. It just smells like heaven!
Also, you can use the homemade rosewater in any recipe you want. Just add a few tablespoons of rose water instead of milk or water. Its smell is barely noticeable, but that’s enough to increase the joy you get from your food. Happy New Year!
Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies & Tree
adapted from The Pocket Cookbook
makes one tree and a lot of cookies
- 1/2 cup butter, in room temperature
- 1/2 cup molasses (I used mulberry molasses)
- 60 gr (2.1 oz.) dark chocolate, melted
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger (or grated fresh ginger)
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- confectioners’ sugar for dusting
for the confectioners’ sugar frosting:
- 1/2 cup butter, in room temperature
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons rose water (or any other liquid)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream butter and sugar. Add molasses and chocolate, mix well. Add all the dry ingredients and form four patties. Chill them for at least 3 hours. (To increase this chilling process, you can put the dough in freezer. But be careful, don’t let them freeze!)
Take the patties out one by one (because, if you take them all out once, they wait too long and become sticky with room temperature) and roll. You can use confectioners’ sugar if the dough is too sticky. Wİth the first patty, you can make the gingerbread tree. You have to have 5 types of star shaped cutters, which are in different sizes. Cut 3 stars with each cutter, and place them on the baking tray.
Roll the other three patties and cut in the desired shapes. Put them in a baking tray (I used 3 baking trays to make my cookies).
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F) and bake the cookies for 6 minutes.
For the frosting, cream butter and gradually add sugar and vanilla extract. Finally, add the rose water, and you should get a creamy mixture. Put this into a piping bag, and when the cookies are cooled, decorate the cookies with this frosting. Put the decorated cookies in the refrigerator overnight to harden the frosting.
To make the gingerbread tree, put the biggest stars on the bottom. Align them properly so that the stars don’t overlap each other. Stick the stars using the frosting you made. Then, put the next biggest stars using the same technique, and finish your tree with your smallest stars. Decorate your tree with frosting, some sugar pearls and confectioners’ sugar for a snow effect.
adapted from Making Artisan Chocolates
makes 16 truffles
- 140 gr (5 oz.) 70% dark chocolate
- 112 gr (4 oz. or about 1/2 cups) cream
- 2 tablespoons rose water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 70% dark chocolate, melted
- cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
- dried roses or rose petals
for rose water:
- 1 cup fresh rose petals or dried roses
- 2 cups boiled water
First, make the rose water at least three hours before making the truffles. Prepare it by pouring the boiled water over roses. Put the mixture into a jar and close the lid. After it’s cooled, store it in the refrigerator.
To make the truffles, heat the cream in a pan, and when it reaches its boiling point, add the chocolate and take the pan away from heat. Stir the mixture until all the chocolate is melted. Then, add the butter and two tablespoons of rose water and stir until the butter is melted. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for three hours, or until it’s hard enough to work with.
When the mixture (or ganache) is cooled, take a spoonful, form a ball and dip it into melted chocolate and finally to cocoa powder. Make all the truffles this way. After that, chill them in the freezer for 5 minutes, and take them out. Dip into cocoa powder again to get smoother truffles.
To make rose sugar, blend confectioners’ sugar and dried rose petals using mortar and pestle. Continue until rose petals are all grounded. Sprinkle the rose sugar to truffles and decorate the truffles with some dried roses.