Biscuits and Cookies

On the fourth day…Gingerbread men

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On the fourth day of Christmas Stephen baked for me…Gingerbread men. Well it was obvious that gingerbread were going to be one of my 12 bakes of Christmas! Anyone who watched me on the Great Irish Bake Off will know I’m a bit of a fan of this stuff. It’s so versatile; you can really get inventive with what you make.

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The best part of this recipe comes when the hot syrupy mixture is combined with the dry ingredients. If you make Christmas into a scent believe me this would be what it smells like! WARNING: you may find that your kitchen starts to attract people once the smells start to float around the house.

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Of course you can also use this to make gingerbread house. Follow the same procedure as below but make sure you work extra quickly when cutting out your dough as it will set rather quickly. I would also highly recommend making a model of your house beforehand out of card for 2 reasons:

1. To see if your design will actually work;
2. You make a stencil straight away.

Also-it is much better to cook cut out after baking rather than before as the dough will spread out slightly when in the oven. But when you cut it after being in the oven you will get perfectly straight lines.

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You will need:

150g muscovado sugar
150g golden syrup
185g unsalted butter
450g plain flour
7g bicarbonate of soda
15g ground ginger
1/2tsp cinnamon

Royal Icing:

1 large egg white
Lemon juice
150-200g icing sugar

How to do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Line several baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Put the sugar, syrup and butter in a pan over a medium heat and stir until smooth and the sugar has dissolved. In a separate bowl sift together the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter mix and stir until completely combined. Let the dough cool slightly then place onto the worktop and knead together a few times. Place one of the sheets of prepared paper in front of you and roll a portion of the dough to fit the size of the paper and about 3-4mm thick.
  3. Bake each tray for about 12-15mins or until a golden brown all over and slightly dark at the edges.
  4. Once the dough comes out of the oven and whilst it’s still hot use your cutters to cut out the gingerbread men. Work fast to avoid the gingerbread setting.
  5. For the royal icing briefly whisk the egg whites until just foamy. Mix in the lemon juice and add the icing sugar 1 tbsp at a time until you have a rather thick paste. Use this to decorate the gingerbread men and glue sweets on as decoration.

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Another great one to get the kids involved in this Christmas right from the beginning. You’ll probably find that the adults do too! Why not get the whole family involved and everyone make a gingerbread version of themselves?

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Well as you can see I had a lot of gingerbread on the go this day. Tomorrow I am demoing in my former place of work, IKEA, showing ways to decorate, build and make your own gingerbread men and houses. I do love doing all this but recently I’ve been at it almost every other day so I’m looking forward to next week as I have some exciting recipes planned!

Thanks for reading,

Stephen

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