Homemade recipe mix of gingerbread spice for festive baking, gingerbread cookies, hot chocolate, gingerbread houses, puddings or breakfast porridge oatmeal
The basic gingerbread spice, like the pumpkin pie spice mix or apple pie spice mix, is easy to make and once you make your own, you’ll probably never go back to the shop to buy one again.
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What is gingerbread spice?
Gingerbread is usually used for a variety of baked goods, typically flavoured with ground dried ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and sweet cinnamon.
Gingerbreads are usually sweetened with honey, dark sugar, black treacle or molasses syrups. The type of gingerbread vary from traditional tray bake or loaf cake to well known gingerbread cookies or biscuits and thin ginger snap cookies.
Gingerbread spice is a mix of ground spices, usually ginger, cinnamon, new spice, cloves, nutmeg, aniseed, star anise and ground pepper. There are many variations, some can be quite spicey because of the ground pepper and ginger and some milder versions don’t even include ginger.
Gingerbread spice is used a lot at Christmas to make gingerbread cookies, but also gingerbread cake. Traditionally gingerbread cookies in a shape of various figures iced with lemon icing, would be made before Christmas and given to the children as a treat.
Firm gingerbread biscuit dough is also used for creating wonderful gingerbread houses decorated with sugar icing, sweets and chocolate.
I use my own mix of gingerbread spice to bake large gingerbread houses, Lebkuchen Biscuits and also make traditional gingerbread cake.
Why make this gingerbread spice mix recipe
Making your own homemade gingerbread spice mix makes perfect sense. You can decide on what spice you use and what proportions, based on your taste.
Gingerbread Spice is fantastic in festive cookies, cakes or Christmas Hot Chocolate and packaged into a pretty jam jar also makes a great gift for your friends and family.
Another reasons for making this spice mix recipe at home is cost and convenience. Gingerbread spice mix is not always available in the supermarkets when I need it and when it is, it can be quite pricey. Making my own spice mix is much cheaper, since I already have most of the spices at home already.
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Research for this recipe
There are many different versions of this gingerbread spice and whilst most commercial food companies are happy to share the ingredients list, it’s difficult to work out the percentages of each spice. On top of that each company uses a slightly different type of spice.
At the end it’s down to your personal preference. If you follow my basic recipe first, taste it by baking some festive treats and then decide if it needs something extra.
How to make this spice mix recipe to your taste
If you are adding any other ingredients to the basic gingerbread mix, write down the type of spice and how much you added in. Test the spice again, adjust, re-make until you are happy with the proportions.
The basic spice you will need for this spice mix include, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and clove. But to get that extra gingerbready spice flavour you will also need the star of anise, aniseed and a pinch of pepper.
And yes, in case you are wondering, star of anise and aniseed are two different types of spice, so if you can get them both, please do.
How to prepare your gingerbread spice mix
If you are lucky enough to get all the spices in a ground form, then all you need to do is to measure everything carefully and mix it together.
Whilst using already ground spice mix saves time, most serious bakers would ground their spice freshly at home as the flavour is much stronger.
If you can only get whole spices, then you’d need to use a pester and mortar (or spice mill) to ground your spice. I wouldn’t advise to use a coffee grinder unless you are happy to experiment. Spices are much more thicker and harder than coffee beans and you could damage your coffee grinder.
If you are using pester and mortar do your best and ground your spice as finely as you can. If you use a fine mesh strainer to sieve the spice after grounding, this will get rid of any bigger parts that are difficult to ground.
Alternative spice to add to your basic gingerbread spice mix
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground vanilla seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon of dry and ground lemon or orange peel
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground fennel
As I mentioned before, each spice company makes a slightly different mix.
The following recipe combination is based on Czech version, which has a very distinctive taste. I’m still working out the exact proportions, but here are the ingredients. Interestingly it doesn’t include ginger!
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What to use gingerbread spice mix for
- Baking gingerbread biscuits, cookies, pies and cakes
- Adding as a topping for puddings
- Breakfast Porridge or oatmeal, like this breakfast peanut butter porridge
- Making festive hot chocolate or coffee
- Mix with sugar for festive version of my soft cinnamon sugar pretzel recipe
- Adding to a festive jams, marmalades or fruit syrups
- Savoury dishes – like game meat stews or pork stews
Recipes with gingerbread spice mix
How to store gingerbread spice mix
I keep my gingerbread spice mix in a clean jam jar on my spice rack, so that’s easily accessible. Make sure that you always screw the lid back on as the spices can lose their aroma if it stays open for long.
How long does gingerbread spice mix last?
The gingerbread spice mix doesn’t really go off as such, but it will eventually deteriorate. The aroma and flavour will lose it’s strength, so it’s best to use up the spice mix within 6 months.
The spice is perfectly usable beyond 6 months, but you might start noticing that the flavour is not as strong as before. This might make you think, that you need to add more spice (because you can’t taste it) and when you do, the dish might start to taste bitter. More spice doesn’t necessarily mean better flavour.
Gingerbread spice mix
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground new spice (old spice)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground aniseed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground star anise
- generous pinch ground pepper
- Measure everything out to a small bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Spoon into smaller jam jar, label and keep for up to 6 months
This blog post was originally written on 26 September 2020 and last updated on 29 October 2022