500 grams of light syrup
250 g of sugar
150 g of butter (milk butter, no salt)
3 spoonfuls of plain cocoa
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of cardamom
1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon (about 7 heads) of cloves grounded
1 ½ teaspoon of ground ginger
¼ teaspoon of salt
0.9 kilo of all purpose flour
15 g of grounded citric acid
15 g of cooking soda
Syrup: 400 g of sugar and 150 ml of boiling water. This amount makes about half a kilo of syrup. Even if it is slightly less, it won’t hurt. It will work out fine 🙂
The last two combine what is more known as leavening agent named baking powder. I usually make my own, but this can easily be replaced with about two teaspoons of baking powder. By ginger I also mean the powder, not the juice.
If you are making your own syrup, start by measuring out the extra sugar, spices and butter that you will add in the syrup, because you might not get the time to do all the measuring when your syrup is boiling.
To make the syrup, heat sugar in a big enough thick bottomed pot, 2 liter pot seemed big enough. The pot has to be completely dry. Heat the sugar moving it around a bit. No need to stir it with passion, because this will result in non-melting sugar lumps. Let it melt and move enough that it melts evenly. Take care! Sugar melts slowly at first, but burns much too quickly. You want your melted sugar look like this. Smoke signals -BAD!
If you see it turn dark golden, take it off the heat and add the boiling water little by little. Closer to boiling the better. Stir while you do it, but be careful, because you don’t want to burn yourself. After all the water has been added, switch the temperature lower (medium) and put the pot back on heat. Stir it until all the sugar has melted. It will get slightly darker when you add water, but you needn’t worry – it is supposed to do that.
There might be some lumps in it. Anything that didn’t melt must be removed before you add anything else. Those can be left for cool and given to good children ;).
That’s it! The whole process of making the syrup! The worst part is cleaning the pot after you’ve removed the mix from it :). Don’t worry if it doesn’t work out for the first time. It takes few runs before you recognize the exact moment you need to add water. You can begin by trying out making caramel pudding for dessert ;).
If you have shop bought syrup start by heating together the syrup, sugar and the butter. If you are in the middle of making the syrup, simply add them to it. Important is that they are heated together in order to melt the crystal sugar into the syrup, so you don’t even have it on maximum heat, it just enough to melt it. Done separately and you get a bad headache – stupid me had to try it, it is not worth the trouble. Add grounded spices and let the syrup cool. While it is cooling, mix it through few times.
When the mixture has cooled down, add the eggs, beaten previously to help them mix easier. Mix together the flour, cocoa, citric acid and the cooking coda or the baking powder. Add part of the flour mixture to the syrup and mix well. Keep adding, reminding that the previous has to be solved in the dough. If all is added, leave it to be for about a half an hour, then knead it well till it looks smooth. Now put it in a cool place over night. Before baking, knead it well again.
If needed, leave little portion of the flour aside for the kneading, but do not add more than said in the recipe. In that case you’ll have enough space to play with it when you start to cook it. Otherwise you’ll be left with too thick dough and cookies won’t be as good as they could be.
Cooking takes place around 190 to 200 degrees of Celsius about 10 minutes according to the size of the gingerbread. If you can’t bake it on the next day, keep it in cool place, covered and knead it well at least once a day. The longest I’ve had to keep it was two weeks. Except some big “rats” who just couldn’t walk by without taking little taste, it was perfectly fine.