While I really want to be more organised for Christmas than I was in the past (I think I say that every Christmas) I'm trying not to get overly excited yet. I'm not sure about you guys, but I always find that in October/November when all the Christmas stock and advertising starts up I get excited and into the Christmas spirit but by the time Christmas actually comes I'm drained, and frankly a little bit over it all. Does anyone else ever feel that way, or is it just me?
The other day while I was shopping I did allow myself to buy one little Christmas item - a gingerbread man cookie cutter. I found this recipe for a softer biscuit which sounded lovely and so I decided to make it that night. My three year old nephew loved them so much that he had 3 on the same day and told me 'Aunty Claire you should make those again, I like them' so if that's not a ringing endorsement I'm not sure what is! :)
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp allspice
3 tsp ground ginger
140g butter, softened
1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup
1 large egg, seperated
1 1/3 cups icing sugar
1 egg white
To make Gingerbread Men:
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. In a bowl combine flour, bicarb soda, allspice and ginger. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together until creamy. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk to the butter mixture and beat until combined.
5. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until fully incorporated.
6. Scoop the dough out of the bowl and form it into a ball. Divide the dough into two halves. Place one half between two large sheets of baking paper and using a rolling pin roll out the dough until it's approximately 4-5mm thick. Leave the dough between the sheets of baking paper and place on a flat tray or board, in the freezer for at least 15 minutes (or in the fridge for at least 30). Repeat this process with the second half of dough.
7. Remove the cold dough from the fridge or freezer, and remove the top sheet of baking paper. Working quickly, use your cookie cutter (preferably a gingerbread man shape but you can use whatever shape you want) to cut shapes from the dough. Transfer these shapes to your preprepared baking tray.
8. Once you have filled your tray place it in your preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes (you can adjust your baking time as to how hard or soft you want your gingerbread - the longer it's in the oven the crisper it will be).
9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool.
10. To make the icing: In a small bowl mix together the icing sugar and egg white until combined. You can add food colouring if you wish. Transfer the icing to piping bags or snap lock plastic bags. If you're using the snap lock bags cut a tiny piece from the corner of each bag - this will allow for a fine line of icing when piped. Decorate your gingerbread with the icing.
This is your chance to have a bit of fun with the icing. It was my first time decorating biscuits/cookies like this and while I kept my designs simple I was really happy with how my first creations turned out - especially the ones I put scarves on. You can split the icing into seperate bowls and add colour if you want or add little extras like smarties/M&Ms, sprinkles or any other decorations you want! Just have fun!
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