COOKIE DOUGH INGREDIENTS
5 tbsp water
210g light brown sugar
3 tbsp treacle
3 tbsp golden syrup
3 tbsp ground ginger
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
250g salted butter, cold and diced
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
560g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 batch gingerbread cookies in the shape of tuxedos (8 x 10cm) or groom cutters available from Peggy Porschen
About 400g ivory sugar paste
2 tsp gum tragacanth
Small amount of white vegetable fat
Ivory, Christmas red, ice blue and holly green food colours
120g florist paste
Wood texture mat
Dresden tool or small kitchen knife
Small and medium snowflake plunger cutters
Line 4 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Place the water, brown sugar, treacle, golden syrup, ground ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a deep saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil over a medium heat, stirring continuously.
Remove from the heat and gradually add the diced butter. Stir until combined. Add the bicarbonate of soda – take care as the mixture will swell up. Leave to cool to room temperature.
Once cool, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Sift in the flour and slowly mix together to form a slightly wet and sticky dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 2 hours, or until cool and firm.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out, until about 5–6mm thick (unless stated otherwise).
Use cookie cutters to cut out the desired shapes and place the cookies onto prepared baking trays. Chill again for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6.
Bake the cookies for 8–10 minutes, or until they spring back to the touch and the edges are slightly darkened. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Knead the sugar paste until smooth and pliable, adding the gum tragacanth and a small amount of white vegetable fat if it feels hard and brittle. Divide the paste into 4 parts. Keep 1 part ivory, then mix 1 part with red food colour, 1 part with blue food colour and 1 part with green food colour. Store the pastes in re-sealable plastic bags so they do not dry out between use.
Roll out the ivory sugar paste, until about 2mm thick and press the wool texture mat on top to emboss the knitted pattern. Use the tuxedo cookie cutter to cut out enough white jumpers to cover a quarter of the cookies and stick them on top with edible glue. Use the thin end of a Dresden tool to score lines on the cuffs, necks and hems of the jumpers. Repeat for the remaining cookies, decorating an equal number with the red, blue and green sugar pastes.
Knead the florist paste until smooth and pliable, adding a small amount of white vegetable fat if it feels hard and brittle. Divide the paste into 4 parts. Keep 1 part white, then mix 1 part with red food colour, 1 part with blue food colour and 1 part with green food colour. Roll out the paste until about 1mm thick. Cut out snowflakes of various colours with the snowflake cutters. Use edible glue to stick the snowflakes to the jumpers, trimming off any overhanging parts of the snowflakes if necessary.
These recipes have been taken from the new book by Peggy Porschen entitled Cookies (Quadrille, £6.99) Photography: Georgia Glynn Smith