Recipe: New Year's Eve Gingerbread Peeps

On my recent Christmas trip to Estonia I found myself munching many-a gingerbread cookies, known as "piparkoogid" (literally "pepper cookies") in Estonian.  I learned that these simple spiced cookies are enjoyed throughout the holiday season, including New Year's Eve.  I developed this recipe on my own and find it buttery and yummy, not too sweet but with plenty of freshness from the spices and orange zest.  By all means, get the kids involved!


Super Simple Gingerbread Cookie Dough Recipe

Makes 500g dough or about 30 cookies

Ingredients:

100g dark brown sugar
140g room temperature butter
1 egg
100g molasses
280g flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
3 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
couple of turns of black pepper from the mill
1 teaspoon of freshly grated orange peel 

Method:

Beat the butter with the sugar until whipped and creamy.
Add the egg and the syrup while whisking.
Add the dry ingredients and spices and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute.
Bring the dough together by hand on a floury surface.
Wrap it into cling film and put it into the fridge for a couple hours or overnight to allow the flavours develop.

Roll out the dough over a floured surface and use gingerbread shapes to create cut-outs.  Bake the cookies on a baking paper-lined tray at 180C (or 350F) for about 10 minutes.

Once cooled, decorate with royal icing.  Allow royal icing to dry and enjoy!