Gingerbread Men Recipe
These gingerbread men can be made with golden syrup or treacle. When made with treacle, the gingerbread has a darker colour and stronger flavour than when made with golden syrup. Most of the photos below are of gingerbread made with golden syrup; the darker coloured dough and biscuits are treacle-based gingerbread. We do not recommend using this gingerbread to make a gingerbread house. When constructing a house, a firmer, drier gingerbread is required.
The icing used on these gingerbread men contains raw egg white. If you would prefer not to use egg white, water can be used in its place.
Makes about 18 medium gingerbread men (12.5cm tall)
We use a 20ml tablespoon and 250ml measuring cup for all of our recipes.
375g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2 teaspoons mixed spice (ground spice mixture consisting of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg)
3 teaspoons ground ginger
140g butter, softened (if using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon fine table salt with the butter)
130g (1/2 cup, very firmly packed) brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) golden syrup or treacle
1 large egg, separated into yolk and white (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
186g (1 1/3 cups) pure icing sugar, sifted
1 large egg white or 20-30ml (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons) water
Food colouring, optional
Stir or sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and ginger together in a medium bowl.
Using an electric mixer or electric hand-held beaters, beat butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl. Stop the machine occasionally and use a spatula to scrape down the side and base of the bowl. Beat until the butter and sugar are well combined and the mixture is creamy.
Add golden syrup/treacle and egg yolk (reserve egg white for the icing) to the butter mixture.
Beat for about 30 seconds, until the ingredients are well combined.
Using a spoon or the electric mixer/beaters on very low speed, incorporate the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius fan-forced).
Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Using your hands, bring the dough together into a ball.
Divide the dough in half. Place one piece of dough between two large sheets of baking paper and roll out until 4-5mm thick. Leave dough between sheets of baking paper and place on a large flat tray or chopping board and put in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The dough will be very hard to work with if it is not thoroughly chilled. Repeat the rolling and chilling process with the second piece of dough.
Once dough is cold and firm, remove from refrigerator or freezer, transfer to kitchen bench or leave on chopping board, and remove top sheet of baking paper. Working quickly, use a 12.5cm long gingerbread man cutter to cut shapes from the dough.
Transfer dough shapes to the lined baking tray, placing them about 2cm apart. We use a pie server to transfer the dough shapes to the tray. © exclusivelyfood.com.au
As soon as the tray is filled, place it in the preheated oven. We recommend baking the biscuits one tray at a time. If you wish to bake more than one tray at a time, you will probably need to extend the baking time and may need to swap the positions of the trays halfway through for more even baking.
We made hair for the gingerbread people by pressing some of the dough through a garlic press and placing the hair on the dough person's head in the desired style.
Bake biscuits for about 10 minutes. The longer the baking time, the crisper/harder the gingerbread will be. The biscuits will firm up as they cool. While biscuits are baking, form the dough offcuts into a disc and repeat the rolling and chilling process.
Cool cooked biscuits on tray for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make icing. Transfer icing to one or more small snap lock plastic bags or small piping bags fitted with nozzles. If using snap lock bags, cut a small piece from the corner of each bag with scissors (the smaller the hole, the finer the line of icing when piped). Decorate the gingerbread people with the icing.
Allow icing to set completely before storing biscuits in an airtight container. The gingerbread will soften over time.
Stir icing sugar and egg white (or water) together in a small bowl until well combined. Add food colouring to icing if desired. We divided the icing into two bowls and added green food colouring to one bowl. © www.exclusivelyfood.com.au