Tuesday, December 30, 2008

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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is lovely.Thanks.And wish you a happy new year.

2/1/09 10:37 am  
Blogger OzFireGirl said...

You girls are so clever. Thank you for sharing all this with us. I for one, appreciate it very much

2/1/09 10:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with OzFireGirl's comments. Also, the pictures which accompany the step-by-step instructions are what is so unique about your recipes. It is so helpul to be able to see what the individual steps should look like. Also, the little hints and tips which can make such a difference. You really should publish a book exactly as you do it on-line for people who don't have internet access and haven't happened across your site. Many thanks.

5/1/09 10:03 pm  
Blogger boringsahm said...

Excellent! Just what I need for some school holiday fun with the kids!

7/1/09 8:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOVE the step by step pics it is a huge help! does you recipe make the softer chewier type of gingerbread men?

2/2/09 10:27 pm  
Blogger Amanda and Debbie said...

Hi Chocolatesuze

Our recipe produces fairly soft gingerbread biscuits.

6/2/09 11:48 am  
Blogger Unknown said...


First time here. Those cookies look so cute :) You have many wonderful recipes here. I've bookmarked many :)


8/2/09 12:21 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there. Can you please tell me how you did the dress on the little girl? Did you do something different with the icing to thin it out, and apply it differently, or did you just cover it all over with the piping bag? Thanks!

6/3/09 1:52 pm  
Blogger Amanda and Debbie said...

We used the same icing for the dress as for the other decorations. We used the piping bag to outline the dress and then fill it in.

6/3/09 2:07 pm  
Blogger Arundathi said...

I made these yesterday with my nephew and we LOVED them. Thanks so much for a keeper recipe. I've blogged about it too.

26/6/09 3:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome recipe, Tastes better than ones that I buy from shops!

Thanks so much!

29/9/09 5:08 pm  
Blogger Chelli bean said...

Can I freeze this or how long do you recommend it needs to be eaten after Ive baked them? Im thinking of baking them as favours for my wedding... not sure if its suitable.

1/10/09 11:18 pm  
Anonymous Emma said...

i just went to a wedding where they had gingerbread cookies! So i thought i had better give them a go before christas.. Excellent recipe

11/10/09 2:33 pm  
Blogger Amanda and Debbie said...

Hi Chelli

We haven't ever tested freezing the gingerbread men so are not sure if they are suitable to freeze. We prefer our gingerbread on the rich/soft side. Unfortunately, this means that the gingerbread men soften within a few days of baking. They are still edible after this time, but they tend to be a bit droopy. If you need the gingerbread men to hold their shape and have a long keeping time, you may be better off using a recipe with more flour.

21/10/09 12:30 pm  
Anonymous Sue said...

After many years of making Gingerbread men this has to be the best. My son is having his 29th birthday and I have decided to make this recipe.He loves them.Thankyou for sharing this.
This I will share with others.

Sue Brisbane

24/10/09 11:04 am  
Anonymous MarthaStewartImNot said...

I accidently left a batch of rolled out dough in the fridge overnight - I got busy having fun decorating my cooked men that I didn't realise I still had batch in the fridge ready to be baked. So, I tried it this morning, and it worked suprisingly well. It didn't need as long to bake (8 min rather than 10) and is slightly crunchier than the batches I made yesterday - but still DELICIOUS.

Handy to know if you are time poor and need to prepare the cutouts a day in advance.

Also - I'm testing if you can freeze the dough and then cook it - stay tuned......

Thanks as always girls for an inspiring blog.

19/11/09 1:03 pm  
Anonymous MarthaStewartI'mNot said...

Further to my earlier post, the batch of rolled out dough from the freezer (stored in gladwrap) has just come out of the oven - perfectly delicious. Once again, it needed slightly less time to cook than the fresh dough (about 7 min).

Happy Baking.

25/11/09 2:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Amanada and Debbie, I love your website!
This recipe looks soo yummy and cute!! I really want to make it this week!! I was just wondering if you could tell me where you got those gingerbread cutters from? I looked literally everywhere but the ones in the supermarkets are so small. Yours are the perfect size!!! Would you mind replying back? From Shannon. Ps: You guys can pipe exceptionally!!

13/4/10 8:56 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! Thanks for the recipe.I'm just have in doubt, the dough I've made with everything combined is still creamy and not solid enough to rolled into sheets, do I just keep adding more flour?

16/11/10 9:39 pm  
Blogger Amanda and Debbie said...

The dough should be quite soft. Are you able to form it into a ball as pictured above?

16/11/10 9:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No- its still quite creamy, I've add about 400g of flour...

17/11/10 9:43 am  
Blogger Amanda and Debbie said...

Sorry we weren't able to reply sooner. How did the gingerbread turn out?

22/11/10 5:07 pm  
Anonymous Bec said...

These gorgeous little gingerbread people turned out perfectly! Thanks so much for the recipe and picture instructions- they are sure to be a hit at the office Xmas morning tea tomorrow!

12/12/10 10:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, thanks alot for the step-by-step and detailed recipe. I've tried baking it once last weekend, somehow my gingerbreadmen are darker in color, and some of them are overbaked, although I've sticked to strictly 9 - 10 mins only.

May I know how long should the oven be pre-heated at 180 degree? Should I be choosing top, bottom or both heater option?

23/12/10 3:57 am  
Blogger JC said...

Hi! Merry Christmas! I baked some on X'mas eve. I followed your recipe and it turned out to be so nice :) But I replaced the golden syrup with organic molasses, which made the gingerbreadmen looking 'tanned' and didn't get to add all the required spices. Tastes good and personally, I love the chewy texture (instead of crunchy). Quite a success considering it was my first time making gingerbreadmen. Thanks for sharing the recipe :)

27/12/10 5:36 pm  
Blogger JC said...

btw.. do they have an 'expiry' date? how long can I keep them?

27/12/10 6:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely delicious! I've made these several times now and they have turned out each time. Much nicer than the ones from our local patisserie. I used honey instead of treacle and they smelt heavenly.

27/1/11 10:57 am  
Blogger Naxi said...

This is honestly the best gingerbread man recipe in the whole world. (I prefer them made with golden syrup).


And all those people who want to know how long they last... really? We can never get any to last until the next day around here! ;-)

24/11/11 3:02 pm  
Anonymous Primrose T said...

Hi Amanda and Debbie,

This is probably a stupid question but what is ground ginger? Is it fresh ginger that has been smooshed with a mortar and pestle? Or is it ginger powder?


21/8/12 2:26 am  
Blogger Amanda and Debbie said...

Hi Primrose T

The ground ginger referred to in the recipe is dried ground ginger available from the spice section of the supermarket.

21/8/12 6:33 am  

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