At this time of year, it’s lovely and warming to eat very traditional foods. There are also certain flavours we associate with Christmas and for me ginger and cinnamon are definitely included. Gingerbread men are a great activity to do with children, especially if you don’t feel up to building a full blown house!
When I was growning up, whenever we did cooking with Mum, she would pull out a tatty old blue book, which I think was her old Home Economics school book. It didn’t look like much but it was packed full of her amazing recipes, many of which I am sure were passed down to her. As well as tasting great, the amazing thing about cooking is that recipes are passed from generation to generation. There is something so special in knowing that you are baking something that your family have made for many years.
You will need:
450g Plain Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
4tsp Ground Ginger
2tsp Ground Cinnamon
A Pinch of Salt
200g Golden Caster Sugar
4 Tbsp Golden Syrup
1 Large Egg
25g Icing Sugar
1.) Sift the flour, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon into a bowl.
2.) Add the salt, sugar and butter. Then comes the fun and messy parts that the kids will enjoy. You need to rub the dry ingredients into the butter until they resemble breadcrumbs. You need to be as light handed as possible. The professionals say you should be able to keep the palms of your hands clean. I’m not quite that good but its a fun challenge to see who can have the cleanest palms at the end!
3.) In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a fork. Add the golden syrup to the egg and keep beating until they combine.
4.) Stir the egg and golden syrup mixture into the breadcrumbs and give it a good stir with a wooden spoon.
5.) Now use your hands to bring it all together and roll it into a ball of dough.
6.) Wrap the dough in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for about half an hour.
7.) Once your dough has rested, preheat your oven to 180C
8.) Cut the dough into quarters so it is easier to work with.
9.) Take the first quarter and roll it out to the thickness of a pound coin and then use a gingerbread man cutter to cut out lots of tasty people.
10.) Cover a oven tray with baking paper and lay your gingerbread men on this. Don’t put them too close together because the mixture will spread a little and you don’t want them all stuck together.
11.) Bake for 12-14 minutes. You want the edges to be golden brown but slightly soft middles still. Don’t forget they will firm up more when they cool down so don’t be tempted to over bake them.
12.) Once your gingerbread men are cooled you can decorate them. I made quite thick water icing to decorate. Pour the icing sugar into a bowl and add a teaspoon of water give it a stir and add a little more water if needed. You want the icing to be thick so it holds its shape on the biscuit.
13.) To ice, either use a very small icing nozzle or just prick the end of a disposable piping bag and pop in some of your icing. Pipe the mouths onto the gingerbread men
14.) Pipe a dot of icing for the eyes and buttons and then add sweets or chocolate drops on the top.
It really is as easy as that! I hope you have a fantastic time creating your own Gingerbread People!