You should never be in a hurry when drizzling chocolate, certainly not if you actually want it to look really nice. Of course, I tend to always be in a hurry… it’s an affliction I’ve suffered from since as long as I can remember. It also doesn’t help that it’s the last weekend before Christmas and I had some finishing to do… there are just so many steps in our traditional Christmas baking that you really need to think ahead…. and I keep adding baking to the list.. it’s crazy I tell you! You know… having decided not to make certain things then deciding somehow that you can’t live without them.. like these boozy chocolate covered prunes with almonds… really… Can it be Christmas without Rum? What the heck is that! Plus…. given that I’ve been using the kitchen A LOT this last few weeks (I also made marshmallows for staff and it takes some intense work cleaning snow from all corners of the kitchen) I have some serious house cleaning to get done as well.
Back to the chocolate drizzle. Today I needed to brush the backs of the Marokanky with chocolate, my absolute favourite Christmas treat. I also needed to drizzle chocolate on the gingerbread cookies that just didn’t ice very well… again… I was in a hurry… it was a weeknight… Now they needed something to make them look a whole lot nicer than the icing that, though it tastes yummy… looks terrible! I found these instructions on how to melt chocolate in a ziplock baggie in the microwave here and it actually worked really well.
Figuring out how to manage a ziplock baggie full of melted chocolate chips takes a bit of practice. First cut a small corner off the baggie… make it small you can always make it bigger…. You can’t go back and make it smaller! If you’re in a hurry and squeeze the baggie too much you end up with this… kind of a fun curly thing but very obviously not the look we’re going for.
And if you cut the hole too big you end up with this…
Just like Goldilocks… you need to get it just right and you need to put just the slightest pressure on the baggie so that you end up with a nice drizzle like this. I only have a small handful of ones that actually turned out looking nice. I’ll have to come back here the next time I need to drizzle chocolate to remind myself to put the coffee down, take a breath, relax and let the drizzle happen! 😉
As for the Gingerbread cookies. I’ve always loved my mother’s gingerbread cookies at Christmas… they were a speciality cookie that was a staple this time of year so I made them following a recipe my mom has from one of her old Czech cookbooks, altered of course over the years and made to taste really nice and gingery. You can play with the spices a bit, add more of one if you don’t have enough of another. These cookies are very forgiving in terms of spices as long as there are ENOUGH spices — the exact combination, however, is pretty lax. There isn’t any molasses in these ones, I find I’ve never really much like the taste of molasses. I actually tried another version earlier but they didn’t turn out very well so I stick with these.
- 650 grams flour
- 100 grams honey
- 50 grams butter
- 250 grams icing sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 7 Tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fine candied ginger
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 2 heaping teaspoons star anis
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- citrus zest (could be lemon or orange)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
**** Anytime you can use whole spices and grind them yourself that always produces the best flavour, just add the spices to a coffee grinder and let it go until you have a nice fine powder. Again, because the mixture of spices is so forgiving, it won’t matter if the amounts of ground spices don’t measure up exactly to the whole ones you added in… make sense? Essentially ‘eyeballing’ it is okay as long as you don’t cut anything back too much!
First melt the butter and honey together then mix in the egg yolks. Mix all the dry ingredients together and add the seasonings. Mix the wet into the dry ingredients and mix until you have a nice dough. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight.
Roll the dough out and cut out your favourite shapes, snowflakes, snowmen, gingerbread men, Christmas trees. Bake at 350 degrees until just browned.
Squeeze the juice from two lemons and add icing sugar until you have a nice paste (a little runny) in a bowl then dip the cooled cookies into the icing and let them sit until dry and store for Christmas or enjoy. I’ve also then drizzled with melted chocolate and I tend to use unsweetened as the cookies are sweet enough. You can also decorate any other way you like. * I should note that if you mix too much and don’t let the sugar calm down you’ll end up with bubbles and they won’t look great (like some of mine) and if you don’t let the sugar actually melt then the icing won’t be even (again some of the mistakes I made with mine).
Mine may not be the prettiest but they sure do taste good and I love the lemon juice with the icing sugar as it gives them a bit of tang.