8:40am Tuesday 9th December 2008
Try Rachel Allen's recipe for gingerbread men - or use the mixture to make a Christmas gingerbread house!
125g caster sugar
125g soft dark brown sugar
225g golden syrup or treacle
725g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the icing for the gingerbread boys and girls:
175g (6oz) icing sugar
1-2 tbsp boiling water
You will need a piping bag and nozzles.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter together with the sugars and golden syrup or treacle.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger and cinnamon into a large bowl.
Add the melted butter and sugar and mix together.
Knead the mixture for a few seconds until it comes together, adding a teaspoon or so of water if necessary, but without allowing it to get too wet.
Flatten the dough slightly into a round about 2cm (3/4in) thick, wrap with cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
To make the gingerbread boys and girls, remove the dough from the fridge, dust the work surface with flour and roll all of the dough out to about 5mm (1/4in thick).
Cut out the girl and boy shapes using boy/girl cutters, transfer onto the baking trays and cook in the oven for 12 minutes, until they are slightly firm, a little darker at the edges and slightly drier on top.
Allow the shapes to firm up for a few minutes, then place them on a wire rack to cool. When they have cooled, they can be iced, if you wish.
To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the water. Beat until the icing comes together, adding a little more water if necessary. (Be careful not to add too much or the icing will be too runny.) Using a small palette knife or the back of a spoon dipped into boiling water (to make the icing easier to spread), spread the icing over the gingerbread boys and girls.
If you wish to pipe on details, such as faces and hair, spoon the icing into a small piping bag with just the smallest corner cut off.
While the icing is still slightly ‘unset’ on the biscuits, arrange the silver balls or whatever decorations you are using, then set aside for the icing to set.
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