Making gingerbread objects may be more work than plopping a tray of brownies in the oven, but it is fun to do if you have any small children or friends to amuse. These work particularly well at Christmas-time if you turn a gingerbread man cutter upside down and decorate accordingly – it’s Rudolph!
Of course, you shouldn’t limit yourself to mere reindeer; cut out whichever shape you want (note the Christmas ghost – I’d completely forgotten how you were meant to decorate gingerbread men. Nancy put me right – her’s is the headless dude with the jaunty purple button.)
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g brown sugar – either light brown soft or light muscovado
115g butter, diced
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp mixed spice
1 egg yolk (keep the white for the icing)
- Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, butter, salt, and spices in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until crumblike
- Add the egg yolk and pulse a few more times, then take out the blade and stir until it becomes a ball.
- Wrap the ball in clingfilm and chill for an hour
- Preheat the oven to 180oC and grease two baking sheets
- Knead the dough and then roll out to about 3mm thick on a floured surface. Cut out with whatever cutter you want
- Bake for 9-11 minutes until lightly coloured.
- Leave on trays for a couple of minutes then move to wire racks to cook completely before icing
The Royal-ish Icing – this sets hard and glossy, and has the bonus of using up your spare egg white
1 egg white
1 tsp lemon juice
150g icing sugar (possibly slight more or less required) (just over a cup)
Food dye – gels give the best colour. Or for the brown, we used cocoa powder to colour it
- With an electric whisk, beat the white and the lemon until frothy.
- Add the icing sugar, little at a time to avoid it flying everywhere, and beat some more. If too stiff, add a little water; if not stiff enough, add some more icing sugar
- Distribute into smaller bowls and dye as desired – if you’re concentrating on one colour first, cover the remaining icing with clingfilm and place in fridge. Use within the hour.