Here is a recipe for making your own Saint Nicholas gingerbread cookies. The original recipe came from Gene and June Wilson of HOBI Cookie Molds, www.cookiemold.com. It was modified by my wife, Anne L. Watson, for her book Baking with Cookie Molds and appears there and here by Gene’s permission.
You’ll find the cookie pattern for this recipe on the back cover of this book, as well as on the dedication page. Just photocopy or trace it, cut out the shape, then use that to make a sturdier pattern from cardboard. Lay the cardboard pattern on your flattened dough and trim around it.
Instead of a pattern, you can use a Saint Nicholas cookie cutter such as found at Kitchen Collectables, www.kitchengifts.com. Or to be truly traditional, get one of Gene’s wonderful handcarved molds of Saint Nicholas, along with Anne’s book for secrets to its use. (More info on the book is at www.annelwatson.com.)
The recipe includes approximate metric equivalents and British cooking terms in parentheses.
- 1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter or margarine
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup (120 milliliters) honey
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ½ cup (110 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- About 4½ cups (630 grams) all-purpose flour (plain flour)
1. Melt the butter and set aside.
2. Beat the egg in a large bowl until yolk and white are fully mixed.
3. Stir the honey, milk, and almond extract. Add to the egg and beat until well mixed.
4. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Add to the egg mixture and beat until well mixed. (Brown sugar should be firmly packed when measuring, but sift to remove lumps before adding to cookie dough.)
5. Add the melted butter slowly and beat until well mixed.
6. Add flour slowly until the mixture is solid enough to knead.
7. Transfer to your work surface and knead in more flour to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.
8. Shape the cookie with a pattern, a cookie cutter, or a cookie mold. (If using a cookie mold, see instructions in Baking with Cookie Molds.)
10. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), or lower for especially thick cookies.
11. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are slightly browned at the edges.
12. (Optional) After the cookies have cooled, paint them as Saint Nicholas with red and white icing.