Saturday, 22 December 2012

Gingerbread men

This year's Christmas baking is going well. In addition to the Christmas sweet platters I plan to give as gifts this year, I thought it would be a nice touch for the kids to have an individually decorated and wrapped gingerbread man each. I used the gingerbread recipe from the famous Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. The recipe easily made 18 large gingerbread men with some mixture still left over, so I got out my fondant cutters and made about 50 miniature gingerbread decorations, cooking a tray of them for 6 minutes instead.

Although my piping skills are not yet expert, I was pretty pleased with how my collection of gingerbread men looked. Being a warm and humid evening, the chocolate dried up pretty quickly so I only managed to make a few at a time. Next year I might even substitute the piped chocolate with royal icing!

Gingerbread men

  • 400 g plain flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 180 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 125 g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125 g treacle
  1. Sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar using the paddle attachment on a slow speed until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat in the egg and treacle, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Turn the mixer back down to slow speed and slowly add the flour mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time, stopping often to scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl. Once an even dough has formed, take it out of the mixer, divide into three balls and wrap each piece in clingfilm. Leave to rest overnight in the fridge.
  4. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 170°C. Take the dough out of the fridge and leave to soften for about 10 minutes. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough to about 4 mm thick.
  5. Cut out shapes with the biscuit cutters. Arrange the cookies on a lined baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Leave the cookies to cool slightly on oven trays before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Decorate by piping melted chocolate or royal icing.
Gingerbread people

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