Growing up, gingerbread wasn't always a Christmas tradition in my house - typically gingerbread was dry and hard - really only used for gingerbread houses or gingerbread men in typical Christmas displays. But some years ago, my mother and I attended a Christmas treats cooking class taught by the dynamo Australian pastry chef, Rochelle Adonis. These ginger stars were adapted from her class, and since then have made a regular appearance as part of my family's Christmas festivities. I love them because they pack a powerful ginger punch, and are equally chewy and crispy - making the perfect treat in the hectic lead-up to Christmas. They are a sweet, yet distinctively 'grown-up' version of those gingerbread men. Definitely use a new jar of ground ginger for the best ginger flavor - and if you really like ginger you can also add a 1/4 cup of finely chopped crystallized ginger to the mixture - I recommend the Australian crystallized ginger. The stars can be made ahead and keep well for up to a week in an airtight container (if they last that long!). —aussiefoodie
about 50 depending on the size of your stars
All Purpose Flour (Plain Flour)
bicarbonate soda (baking soda)
unsalted butter (about 1-1/2 sticks), cut into cubes at room temperature
Ground Ginger (25g) (use a new jar of ginger for best flavor)
Mixed Spice (recipe below)
Golden Syrup (or Maple Syrup or Molasses if you don't have golden syrup)
Sift the flour, bicarbonate soda, ground ginger, mixed spice and brown sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add the room temperature butter cubes to the flour, sugar and spices.
With the paddle attachment of the stand mixer, mix the flour and butter mixture on low speed until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Combine the hot water and golden syrup and mix well. Pour the liquid into the mixing bowl. Continue to mix on a low speed until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Stop the mixer when the dough comes together fully.
Wrap the dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. The dough will roll out smoother if it is chilled through.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/2 cm or 1/4 in thick and cut out star shapes. Place the stars on a baking sheet tray (I like to use a silpat cookie sheet, but you could use a tray lined with baking paper also). Sprinkle liberally with coarse sugar.
Bake in 180 degree Celcius (350 degree Farenheit) oven for about 10 minutes or until the cookies are just starting to brown and can be moved easily on the tray. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes on the tray before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely.