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Saturday, December 18, 2004

Gingerbread Men Recipe

In a fit of festive baking domesticity, we decided to make gingerbread men. They're cute, they're sweet and yes, they're decidedly fiddly!



GINGERBREAD MEN
(from Australian Women's Weekly Beautiful Biscuits)
Makes about 20 medium-sized gingerbread men.

Gingerbread dough
125g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2.5 cups plain flour, sifted
1 tsp bicarb
3 tsps ground ginger
2.5 Tbsp golden syrup

Royal Icing
1.5 cups pure icing sugar
1 egg white
4 drops lemon juice
food colouring and sprinkles/sweets to decorate

  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add egg yolk and mix in remaining gingerbread ingredients.
  3. Combine and knead with hands until a dough forms. Separate into six balls.
  4. Roll out one ball of dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper.
  5. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters; stencil and knife; or by cutting free-hand. Remove excess dough from paper (for re-use) and then gently slide off/transfer shapes to a well-greased baking tray.
  6. Continue rolling and cutting dough until all dough has been used (including re-rolled dough scraps).
  7. Bake in moderate oven (180C) for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove immediately from tray and allow to cool on a flat surface.
  9. Now the fun part...Lightly whisk the egg white with a fork, then gradually add the icing sugar one tablespoon at a time, mixing vigorously to remove lumps.
  10. Add lemon juice.
  11. Tint as required with food colouring.
  12. Spread icing thinly on cool shapes, then decorate with sprinkles and/or sweets..




Lessons learned:
  1. Measure the dough ingredients carefully, otherwise the mixture will be too dry or too wet.
  2. The dough does crack when you first start to roll it out, but will soon "mend" as you keep rolling.
  3. Change the greaseproof paper regularly--otherwise the folds and creases will end up cracking your gingerbread shapes and cause you no end of grief.
  4. Use a flexible piece of thin plastic, or even cardboard, to help you leverage and transport the shapes from paper to tray. Otherwise they will crack and cause you no end of grief.
  5. Remove the gingerbread from the tray as soon as they come out of the oven. When they cool they will not come off without cracking, and will cause you no end of grief.
  6. Hide the empty bottles of "stress-relief wine" before you present your home-made treasures with pride--they will taste delightfully delicious because you made them yourself (with blood, sweat, and oh the tears).
  7. Consider checking out gourmet shops for ready-made gingerbread men which are sooo much easier to procure.
  8. Console the sobbing broken gingerbread man in the corner and realise that yes, you really do love your home-made gingerbread men the best.

5 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 12/18/2004 11:59:00 pm


5 Comments:

  • At 12/26/2004 5:03 pm, Blogger Ben said…

    Great gingerbread men. I particularly like your tips - they're very useful. I've found that you can get a good result if you leave them to firm up on the tray for five minutes or so, as long as you loosen them with a spatula when they first come out of the oven. If you keep them in an airtight container they last pretty well for about a month.

    The new dropdown list of all restaurants by cuisine is very handy.

     
  • At 12/27/2004 8:50 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi BHR. Glad you liked the gingerbread. It was fun but a lot of work--icing them was definitely the best part.

    Glad you noticed the new search-by-cuisine facility too. I'd been thinking that this option has been lacking for a while, but just hadn't gotten around to doing it. It's helped me to work what cuisines are missing too... more eating to plan and execute!

     
  • At 12/29/2004 2:06 am, Blogger Ben said…

    Yeah - the new drop-down listing is great. I gald your critical eye can see the gaps in your reveiews. It doesn't seem like there are many to me!

     
  • At 12/30/2004 11:47 am, Blogger pinkcocoa said…

    Arent they handsome, these gingerbread men ;-)

    Oh, love your drop-down list, by the way! It's very good way for us to navigate around!

     
  • At 12/30/2004 5:36 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi BHR - There is always something missing (or so my greedy stomach likes to remind me). As for missing cuisines, it's about time I reviewed Moroccan, African, Polish, Sri Lankan... so much to eat, so little time

    Hi Pinkcocoa - Glad you liked the gingerbread. Oh, and I don't think we made any pink ones either. Sorry :)

    So glad that everyone is luvin' the drop-down menu. Makes the effort all worth it.

     

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