Whenever we walk past a bakery I feel a little hand reach up and tug at my shirt. I know he has seen the gingerbread men smiling at him from their strategically placed toddler-high shelf. The problem is, they don’t always taste that good and once he has eaten the buttons the rest is wasted. Making your own gingerbread men as a little treat is sure to bring a smile, and the older kids will just love helping to decorate them. This gingerbread men recipe is lower in butter and sugar than your typical recipe, but you won’t be able to tell the difference.
- 2½ cups plain flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice or cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons water
- (Optional Icing) 1 cup pure icing sugar (NOT icing sugar mixture)
- (Optional Icing) 1 tablespoon water
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger, mixed spice and salt. Set aside for later.
- Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Beat the mixture until pale and creamy.
- Add 2 tablespoons of honey and the water. Pour in gradually and mix until well combined.
- On a very low speed, gradually incorporate the flour mixture and remaining honey into the butter mixture. Once it has come together, place the mixture on a floured surface and kneed gently to form a soft, smooth dough.
- Shape dough into a disc, cover with cling wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to rest. The dough is hard to work with if not chilled.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line baking trays with non-stick baking paper and set aside.
- On a floured surface, or between two sheets of non-stick baking paper, roll dough out to 5mm-thick. Cut out shapes using chosen cookie cutters and place on baking trays. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut again.
- I like to place my cookies back into the fridge for about 10 – 15 minutes (or until chilled) before baking. I’ve found the cookies hold their shape a lot better when dough is cold before going into the oven.
- Place gingerbread into the oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until golden. Time will depend on the size of your cut cookies, so be sure to keep and eye on them! Allow to cool on tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Eat as they are or ice gingerbreads once cool.
- Mix small amounts of the water at a time into the icing sugar and stir. If to stiff, add a little more water, only a drop at a time as it becomes runny very quickly. Place icing in to a piping bag with the small round nozzle. Alternatively, fill a snap lock plastic bag with icing and cut a very small piece from the corner. The smaller the hole, the finer the line of icing when piped.