Gingerbread men serve not only as a great decoration for any Christmas tree but baking them fills the house with the smell of Christmas. In my mind a gingerbread man need to be crisp, and spiced with ginger, not to soft, not cakey, the ones I remember from my childhood were hard enough to break a tooth on, that’s not what I want but there is as fine balance to be found. I tried out a few recipes and found the one using a lot of golden syrup or treacle in them went too hard, the recipe below was recommended to me by my dear friend Jody at Boolas Bakery and solved all my problems the little men turned out to be delicious.
Makes 15 – 20 biscuits
140g unsalted butter
100g dark muscovado sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
350g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp ground ginger and 1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of cayenne pepper
250g icing sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
To make the icing sift the icing sugar into a bowl place the egg white in a separate bowl and add the icing sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition, stir in the lemon juice-you should be able to squeeze the icing through a piping bag with a fine nozzle attachment.
Heat oven to 200C gas 6 line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, spices, bicarbonate of soda.
Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a pan, add this to the dry ingredients. Mix together until the mixture forms a dough, leave to rest until just cool enough to touch. The cooler the dough gets the more difficult it is to work with so work quickly.
On a floured work surface roll out the dough to about 5mm thick. Stamp out gingerbread men with a cutter, carefully lift onto the baking sheets with a pallet knife, press the trimmings back together and roll out again. If you want to hang them on tree remember to use a straw to punch a hole in the top.
Bake for 12 mins until golden.
Leave to cool on the baking tray Ice faces on the gingerbread men to give them some personality, thread with ribbon and hang on the tree.