I literally wait all year for december, and when it rolls around, everything is about the tree, the food, and the people I spend celebrating the end of the year with; generally through work parties, friends gatherings and the big family lunch on Christmas Day.
I do a lot of baking in December – mainly because of all the celebrations, spare time and no complaining from my family as I churn out gingerbread, rumballs and shortbread every second day. But my favourite thing to make would have to be the gingerbread house. Standing at approximately 40 cms tall, my mum, my twin and I managed to make two in a few days, and it was the funnest, yummiest, messiest thing ever. (Personally, I think the freckled tile roof was the best part).
With mum as the architect, my self as the baker and my sister as the artist, I am really excited to make another one this year and I strongly recommend you do it with your family or a bunch of friends. I’m certain I could get my Dad involved.. with some chocolates or a Bundaberg rum and coke…
But for now, an easy and fun recipe for Gingerbread Men. I am yet to find a gingerbread woman cutter grrr..
To the parents, kids love decorating these and it will keep them entertained for a while. As for the grown-ups… I reckon you could have just as much fun (after a few wines). Whether you dress them up or go simple, some ideas for decorating include: coloured icing, coloured cashews, glitter, chocolate, fondant clothing 🙂
– INGREDIENTS –
125 g butter, softened
100 g brown sugar (1/2 cup)
125 ml golden syrup (1/2 cup)
1 egg, separated (keep both your yolk and eggwhite!)
375 g plain flour, sifted (2 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Plain flour (extra) for dusting
150 g icing sugar, sifted
Smarties, food colouring, decorations etc…
– METHOD –
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
3. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and continue to beat in until combined.
4. Stir in the flour, ginger, mixed spice, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda, and mix until all incorporated.
5. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide the dough into two and press down into discs. Cover the dough in plastic and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
6. Once the dough has rested, remove from the fridge and unwrap. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and place a sheet of baking paper over the top.
7. Using a rolling pin, flatten out the dough until 4mm thick, or desired thickness.Using your gingerbread man cutter, cut the shapes out of the dough and place on baking trays. Collect the dough, re-roll, and cut again until all dough had been used. INCLUDING the second disc.
8. Bake in the oven until golden brown, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
9. To prepare icing, place eggwhite in a bowl. Using an electric beater, whisk until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the icing sugar. If too dry, a tiny bit of milk helps bring it to the right consistency. If it is too runny, simply add more icing sugar. Here you can also add food colouring to make coloured icing.
10. Once cookies have cooled, begin decorating using a small piping bag. You can make your own by using a small plastic bag and cutting a small hole in the corner or make one from baking paper!
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY BAKING 🙂