Gingerbread Men

Ok, maybe I should be PC and call then Gingerbread People, but I only have men cutters anyway. I’ve just finished planning a whole term of Cookery Club (CC) which scarily takes us up to Christmas, seriously I’ve never been so organised in my life. These Gingerbread Men will be baked in the final CC before Christmas. I’ve been trying different gingerbread biscuit recipes for a while; none were quite right either they had a long list on ingredients, a huge amount of golden syrup/treacle or just didn’t bake properly. I remember the gingerbread men we used to buy from Mellors or Sayers and wanted these to be similar.

When researching recipes for CC I look for a few things:

  • Ingredients work out no more than £1 per child. In this case I’m halving the recipe for each child.
  • Recipe can easily be scaled up or down.
  • Doesn’t require expensive/unusual equipment & only uses oven or microwave.
  • Baking will fit on the baking trays. We use supermarket value baking trays in CC. While they are smaller than the majority of baking trays you can fit 8 perfectly in a professional oven.
  • Can be made, baked and washed up in 90 min. Never underestimate how long it can take a child to make something! This also means maybe taking some steps out of the recipe. In this case I found that the dough didn’t need to be chilled to make biscuits that didn’t spread too much which is also an advantage of using butter in this recipe rather than marg.

Making these brought up some questions. Hubs insists that Gingerbread men should have icing eyes and buttons where I love them to be decorated with smarties and raisins that caramalise as they cook. The only thing that seemed to spread on these biscuits was the Gingerbread Mens’ bellies. Trust me, they weren’t as rotund when they went in the oven.

Gingerbread Men
Makes around 12 large gingerbread men
Adapted from Cookie & Biscuit Bible

350g Plain Flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1-2 tsp of ground ginger

115g unsalted butter, cubed

170g soft dark brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp (40g) of golden syrup

raisins and smarties for decoration

1) Preheat the oven to 180°c and cover 2 baking trays with baking parchment.

2) Rub together the flour, butter, ginger and bicarbonate of soda until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs.

3) Add the sugar egg and golden syrup. To start with, mix the dough with a wooden spoon them once it is well combined use your hands to knead the dough. At first the mixture can seem quite dry but keep kneading. It will become soft and pliable.

4) Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut out the shapes and place on baking sheet. Decorate if you want with smarties and raisins.

5) Bake for 15min until slightly risen and beginning to colour. Leave for 5 min then continue to cool on a wire rack. Store in a tin to stop them going soggy.

Published by Jules

Professional Food Geek who loves a freshly baked loaf.