I love gingerbread and with it’s spicy, warm deliciousness it is perfect for this time of year. I made a batch ready for Halloween/Samhain and thought I’d share the recipe as it’s such a good one and quite easy.
Now, a quick note on the name ‘gingerbread men’- in the interest of equality I’m tempted to call them ‘gingerbread people’ and I quite like ‘gingerbread poppets’, but I’m a sucker for tradition so I’m sticking to ‘gingerbread men’. Please call them whatever you like – or make star shapes and avoid the whole gender issue!
I have tried quite a few gingerbread recipes and this one turns out nice and chewy but if you prefer them more crisp you can bake them for longer, just take care not to burn them.
350g/12oz plain flour
175g/6oz light brown soft sugar
100g/4oz butter (room temperature)
1 medium egg
4 tbsp golden syrup
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger (I always use far more than this – about 1 1/2 tbsp, adjust to your own taste).
Optional sprinkle of mixed spice.
Preheat oven to 180 oC/gas 4
Put flour, butter (chopped), ginger, mixed spice if using and bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl, rub butter into flour with fingertips until crumbly.
Add sugar, syrup and egg and mix until firm. I usually start the mixing with a wooden spoon and then get in there with my hands to press it together into a dough. It seems quite dry at first but it will come together.
Roll out on a floured surface and cut shapes. Add current eyes and buttons and glace cherry slices for mouths if making gingerbread men. Place on a greased or non stick baking tray leave about a 2cm gap between as they will expand a little.
Place in the oven and check after 10 minutes. They may take longer to cook depending on their size.
Transfer to a cooling rack, they’ll be quite soft and bendy while still warm but firm up as they cool.
Ice with royal icing when cool. (I use royal icing sugar, just follow the instructions on the packet).
These should keep in an airtight container for a good few days. I sometimes make them as gifts and place a few in a pretty bag tied with ribbon. I know that probably makes me sound super organised, to be honest it’s actually the opposite, I sometimes just can’t fit in – or face going to the shops to buy gifts or have left it too late, and baking is a much nicer option than battling traffic and lots of shoppers. Even if I have to pop to a local shop or friendly neighbour when I don’t have all the ingredients I’d still rather do that than face going into town. Obviously it’s a nice, handmade, personal gift too, so it’s win-win!
I like to light a candle while I bake as a symbol of putting light, positive energy into the goodies I’m making. I also channel reiki through my hands when I’m getting my hands in the mix at the rubbing in stage. It’s a personal thing, I just like to add this special extra for my friends and loved ones and I find it makes baking a more pleasant, mindful experience.
Looking at these photos is making me crave one now, I might not be able to wait until Samhain. . .