Christmas is just around the corner and it won't be long before carols blare merrily from the radio, the tree stands gaily decorated with shiny baubles, and mouth-watering aromas of baked goodies waft enticingly from the kitchen. Yes, Christmas is almost here. And where are you with your holiday preparations?
If you love getting those baking mitts on and flavouring your home with the spirit of the season, then I'm sure gingerbread men are on the agenda. The holiday platter seems incomplete without these little tasty beauties, smiling up at you (before you bite their head off)! However, if you can overcome your temptation to pop them in your mouth, then you'll see that they also decorate a room through fun garlands, when strung together and hung up around your room.
Here's a tried and tested, simple gingerbread men recipe for you. So get that apron on and let's get cracking, baking these delicious cookies with their soft centres and crunchy edges, spiced to perfection and oozing holiday goodness.
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ½ cups (375g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
- ⅓ cup (90g) brown sugar
- ⅔ cup (230g) golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), sifted
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- Preheat your oven to 160ºC (325ºF)
- Beat the butter and sugar together for 8-10 minutes until the mixture is pale and creamy.
- Add golden syrup, flour, ginger and baking soda and beat until the mixture combines to form a smooth dough.
- Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to a thickness of 4mm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Using a gingerbread man cookie cutter, cut out approximately 8 shapes or if you have a small cutter, approximately 30. Reroll the dough if required.
- Place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper.
- Use the tip of a chopstick to punch two holes from each gingerbread man and bake for 6-8 minutes until golden brown.
- Turn off the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes on the baking sheet. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- String ribbons through the holes to make tiny bows for the gingerbread men and serve on a plate or package them up to give away as gifts. If the gingerbread men are small, thread them onto a length of ribbon and knot the ends. Store these in an airtight container and hang them up on Christmas Eve.
- Alternatively, if super hungry, then look left, then right, and if no one's looking, stuff them in your face.
The trick to an excellent gingerbread cookie is to have fun whilst making it. So roll up your sleeves, turn up the carols, get the kids to help (always fun to make a mess), or invite over a few friends who'll bring another good friend – wine! It’s pretty easy to make and at the end of it, you’ll have a delicious batch of gingerbread men to decorate your home for Christmas or warm your tummy with its sweet goodness.
Happy baking to you! And happy holidays!