Vegan Royal Icing

Christmas Baubles

These pretty gingerbread decorations can be hung from the tree or on a painted branch to be picked off and eaten whenever temptation strikes.



Ingredients

Christmas Baubles

  • 1 x quantity of vegan gingerbread (see recipe)
  • A little plain (all-purpose) flour for dusting, if needed

To decorate:

  • 1 x quantity of Vegan Royal Icing (see recipe)
  • Vegan gel or paste food colourings

Special equipment:

  • A selection of bauble, bell and heart cutters
  • Piping bags fitted with small nozzles (No 1 or No 2)
  • Fine ribbons or pretty thread

Vegan Gingerbread

  • 100g (3.7 oz) vegan margarine
  • 150g (5.2 oz) dark brown sugar
  • 115g (4 oz) black treacle/molasses
  • 425g (15 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • A pinch of salt

Vegan Royal Icing

  • 500g (1 lb/2 oz) icing sugar
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • Water, enough to achieve the right consistency
  • Gel or paste food colourings, optional

Method

Christmas Baubles

  1. Make the gingerbread dough of your choice. Roll out the chilled dough on sheets of baking parchment to about 5mm/¼ in thickness, lightly dusting the rolling pin if needed.
  2. Cut out the shapes. Gather and re-roll the excess dough and continue to cut out more shapes as needed.
  3. Transfer the baking parchment with the cut-outs to baking sheet(s). At the top of each bauble, not too close to the edge, use a skewer to stamp out a hole large enough for the ribbon. Chill for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and check the holes are still open. If not, use the skewer to widen them a little while the biscuits are still warm, before they have completely hardened. Transfer to a wire rack(s) to cool completely.
  5. Divide the icing between bowls, depending on how many colours you are using, and add the gel or paste food colouring to each until you get the required colour. Add a few drops of water to the coloured icing so it is slightly thinner (but not too runny), then transfer the icing to separate piping bags.
  6. To decorate, pipe a line around the edge of each shape in the colour of your choice, then pipe into the middle of the biscuit and spread to fill and go up to the lines around the edges (this is called ‘flooding’). The icing should completely flatten as it settles. Leave to dry, then decorate with additional white icing embellishments if you wish.
  7. Thread the ribbon or pretty thread through the holes and hang the biscuits on the tree, or wherever you want them. They could also be strung on one long piece of ribbon or thread as a garland.

Vegan Gingerbread

  1. Put the margarine, sugar and treacle into a pan, heat gently and stir occasionally until the margarine has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  2. Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. Pour in the treacle mixture and stir to combine. It should begin to come together as a stiff dough. If it is too wet, add more add more flour until it is the right consistency.
  3. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board and knead it into a smooth ball. Divide into two portions, form into balls, wrap and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  4. When ready to roll (you may need a little flour for dusting the rolling pin), roll out each ball on pieces of baking parchment that are the same size as a couple of baking sheets (that will fit in your fridge) to about 5mm/¼ in thick. Try to roll out all the dough to the same thickness.
  5. Now, cut out your shapes. If you are using a template, place the pieces on to the gingerbread and cut around each one. Remove the template and carefully peel away the excess dough. Gather the trimmings into a ball, re-roll and repeat as required.
  6. Slide the pieces of parchment on to the baking sheets. Put in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4. Put the baking sheets into the oven and bake for about 10-20 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces) as per recipe instructions, until the gingerbread is golden brown and doesn’t bounce back when touched with your finger.
  8. Remove from the oven, leave on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack(s) to cool. When completely cool, carefully remove the gingerbread pieces from the paper and assemble as required.

Vegan Royal Icing

  1. Sift the icing sugar into a food mixer or large mixing bowl.
  2. Gradually add the lemon juice, a very little at a time, until the required consistency is reached. The icing should coat the back of a spoon. If you need it thinner, add a few drops of water.
  3. To colour the icing, use the gel or paste food colourings and mix in a very little at a time to reach the required shade. If you need more than one colour, divide the white icing into small bowls before adding the colour, and use separate piping bags.
  4. If you’re not using the icing straight away, cover the bowl to prevent a crust from forming. Otherwise, transfer the icing into a piping bag(s) fitted with a small nozzle (No 1 or No 2) and use according to recipe.