Gingerbread Men!

The Crafty Rabbit has been going into overdrive with the Christmas Spirit this December.

It’s the first time I decided to tackle Gingerbread Men. I’ve always been a bit intimidated by them.

Yes, they’re adorable, and delicious, but look at all that fussy decorating! I decided to shelve my fears and give it a go anyway.

Gingerbread1 First off, I chose a recipe.

A lot of the U.S recipes called for Molasses (the non-black strap variety). Well, we mustn’t have it in NZ because I searched about 4 supermarkets looking for it. I settled on a recipe a bit closer to home at Taste.Com. Check it out: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/9761/gingerbread+men

Ingredients:

125g butter, at room temperature
100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) golden syrup
1 egg, separated
375g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Plain flour, to dust
150g (1 cup) pure icing sugar, sifted

Method:

Step 1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush 2 baking trays with melted butter to lightly grease.

Gingerbread2Step 2 Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and beat until combined. Stir in the flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Press dough into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

Step 3 Meanwhile, place egg white in a clean, dry bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add icing sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Divide icing among 3 bowls. Cover 1 bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Add red colouring to 1 bowl and stir until combined. Add green colouring to remaining bowl and stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

Gingerbread3Step 4 Place the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 4mm thick. Use a 9cm gingerbread man cutter to cut out shapes. Place on trays about 3cm apart. Repeat with any excess dough.

Step 5 Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Step 6 Place prepared icings in small plastic bags. Cut a small hole in a corner of each bag. Pipe icing over gingerbread men to decorate.

The Crafty Rabbits Final Thoughts…

Overall they turned out really well, tasted delicious and looked great. I think my husband has eaten his weight in Gingerbread Men. They made great Christmas gifts as I boxed them up with red and green string and gave them to friends.

But…I had a few difficulties…you had to get a bit of a technique going between transporting the cut dough onto the tray as they tended to break apart, I found the best way was to use a mini spatula and ‘flop’ it onto the baking tray. Also, the “15 minute prep time” and the “10 minute cook time is deceptive”. All-in-all it took me a good three hours to finish them! But…I loved how they turned out and will be making them again next year.

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