Christmas Kitchen: How To Make Classic Gingerbread Men

How To Make Classic Gingerbread Men for Christmas

My Mum says I’m boring, but I really love plain gingerbread men without all that icing. Is it just me, or do we have so much sugar sent our way in the month and December (and beyond, working through the stash we tend to give each other this year) but I just want some of my festive baking to be simple and a little bit more sophisticated. You can of course use this recipe to make decorated gingerbread, but I leave mine as is for snacking while I put together more Christmas content and plan what I’m cooking on Christmas Eve with a steaming mug of tea.

Classic Gingerbread Men How To Make Gingerbread Men for Christmas

Is it just me, or are proper shaped gingerbread men cookie cutters harder to find this year? I ordered this one from Amazon, and I think they’re quite cute, if not a little squashed! If you’re planning on wrapping them up as gifts I’m afraid this blue and gold bakers twine from Cox & Cox is no longer in stock, but they do a great grey and gold one, Not On The High Street has this lovely green and red Christmas version, but you can of course revert to traditional red and white.

On the icing front, if you’re not in the market for piping bags and nozzles (by the way I don’t know what I would do without this roll of grippy disposable piping bags) and you do want to decorate I taught a unicorn doughnut decorating masterclass for Pinterest last month and for it I picked up this white tube of designer icing with detachable nozzles from Sainsbury’s – the basic nozzle would be perfect for decorating gingerbread men, and they also make red, green, black, blue, yellow, pink and a chocolate flavoured one.

How To Make Classic Gingerbread Men
How To Make Gingerbread Men

I’ve adapted this recipe from the one given to me by the Amara Home team when they sent me away with a box of festive bakes after their lunch a few weeks ago which included the best gingerbread men I’d had in ages. What I like about the recipe is it does not involve any baking ingredients I don’t usually keep in the kitchen which is what usually puts me off gingerbread – too many different treacles and molasses to keep straight! However, a tip if you like your gingerbread biscuits with extra ginger you can swap out the golden syrup for the syrup from a jar of stem ginger if you happen to have one open in the fridge for that extra bit of heat.

Gingerbread Men
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How To Make Classic Gingerbread Men

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes (plus 20 minutes chilling time)
  • Yield: Makes 18-20
  • Category: Baking
  • Cuisine: Christmas

Description

These easy gingerbread men are delicious plain or decorated for a festive treat with your mid-morning mug of tea. There is also the option to amp up the ginger for a bit more of a grown up treat.


Ingredients

  • 175g (6 oz) Plain (All Purpose) Flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate Soda (Baking Soda)
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger, heaped
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 60g (2 oz) Unsalted Butter, cubed
  • 90g (3 oz) Light Muscovado Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg Yolk
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup or Stem Ginger Syrup
  • 2 tsp Cold Water (as needed)

Instructions

  1. Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl – I like to do this with a balloon whisk.
  2. Add the butter and rub it into the mixture with your fingertips until the mixture has formed crumbs.
  3. Stir in the sugar and add the egg yolk and the syrup.
  4. Using a regular eating knife and a downwards cutting motion while you slowly rotate the bowl with your other hand, bring the mixture together until it starts to form a rough bowl. Depending on the size of your egg yolk and the viscosity of your syrup you may need to add up to 2 tsp of cold water, adding only 1/2 tsp at a time to bring the dough together.
  5. Once you have a rough bowl, gently knead the mixture into a smooth ball. Wrap in kitchen wrap or baking parchment and chill for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees (345 fahrenheit) and line two large baking trays with baking parchment.
  7. Flour a clean work surface well and roll out the dough until it is about the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut our your gingerbread men shapes, gathering out the scraps and rolling them out again until you don’t have enough to make another one. Depending on the size of your cutter, you should get around 18-20.
  8. Bake the gingerbread men for 10-12 minutes. They should be slightly golden when they come out the oven; as soon as they’re firm enough to do so, transfer them to a wire cooling wrack. As a general rule, if like me you prefer your gingerbread men soft, go for 10 minutes, and 12 if you like them crisp and more like ginger biscuits. However, this depends on your oven temperature, so you should be able to narrow down your preferred texture after a batch or two.
  9. If you’re going for decoration, wait until they are completely cool before icing.

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