A classic Christmas favourite.
For many people the smell of gingerbread evokes feelings of Christmas. Making Gingerbread men is the perfect kitchen activity to do with the children during the days before Christmas, here is our simple recipe.
All you need is:
350g flour (plus a little extra)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
175g light soft brown sugar
4 tbsp treacle (or soft honey)
Writing icing to decorate or other cake decorations (optional)
1. Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon into a bowl. Cut the butter into 2 cm cubes, add to the flour and rub in until the mix resembles breadcrumbs, now stir in the sugar.
2. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg and treacle (or honey) together then add this to the breadcrumb mix. Using your hands, bring the mix together to form one solid mass. The mixture will be quite crumbly at this point, take it out and start to knead the dough, until it turns into a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and cover two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
4. Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough to a 5mm thickness. Cut out the shapes using cutters. Place on a baking tray making sure you leave a gap between them. If you are planning to hang them on your tree, remember to pierce a hole into the shape before baking (and re-pierce the hole halfway through baking to ensure it doesn’t close).
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until they are light golden brown. Leave on the baking tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish the cooling process. When cooled, you can decorate with writing icing and cake decorations.
The dough can be made a month in advance and frozen, so all you have to do when you want to use it is defrost it, roll it and bake it. Baked gingerbread men can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks – that’s if you can keep your hands off them!
Cling film – thin plastic material used for covering food
Dough – a mixture of ingredients such as flour, butter, etc that is then shaped and baked
Icing – A sugar based substance for decorating or covering cakes
Tbsp (tablespoon) – a large spoon (15 ml)
To evoke – to cause or induce
To knead – to work or massage with the hands
To pierce – to make a hole with a sharp object
To resemble – to look like or similar to something
To roll out (phrasal verb) – to cause (pastry, for example) to become flatter and thinner by applying pressure with a rolling pin
To rub in – a method used in baking meaning to work between the fingers
To stir – to move a spoon or other tool round and round in order to mix substances together
Tsp (teaspoon) – a small spoon (5 ml)
Wire rack (or cooling rack) – an open metal frame used for cooling baked food