My Mother did many little things which made my childhood magical, creating so many special memories. I have been remiss in following through and making this a tradition. She would bake Gingerbread Men, no fancy cutter back then which led to the legs, arms and head detaching on a whim, I don’t remember this bothering me. The Eyes and buttons were currents. The magic came in when the icing was drying, the little mischiefs would ‘come alive’ and hide around the house. When we went to check on them and found the plate empty a hunt of the house would ensue.
Last week I told Fjord about this and he was enchanted, I told him that I would need to buy a cutter for the shapes. I guess with Christmas just past this was not the time to go looking. I tried numerous shops to no avail, each day his nagging reached fever pitch. Eventually in desperation I had a look online and placed my 1st ever order with yuppiechef. I was super impressed with their service, the order was placed at 2.30pm on Wed and the parcel was delivered at 11am the next day with a hand written note. The cutter cost R60 but it is 3D and the Rolls Royce of gingermen cutters.
Fjord does not like the darker treacly gingerbread so I used my stock standard ginger biscuit recipe (using Orgran no-egg egg substitute due to his egg allergy). Both Fjord and Acacia love them.
This is my recipe it makes about 6 – 8 gingerbread men depending on the thickness and of course you can use left over dough to cut out a few cookies for the big people.
125g butter or marg
125ml golden syrup
375g cake flour
250ml (1 cup) light brown sugar
20ml ground ginger
5ml (1tsp) bicarb of soda
half tsp salt
1. Melt the butter and stir in the syrup and sugar. Allow to cool. Beat in the egg.
2. Sift together the dry ingredients and stir into the syrup mixture, alternately with the milk. Allow the dough to chill in the refrigerator until firm enough to shape
3. Roll out and cut into shapes
4. Place on a baking sheet.
5. Bake at 180 for about 15 mins
When the biscuits were cool we iced them and Fjord choose what to use to decorate them. To do the white water icing lines I snipped the tiniest hold in a corner of a plastic sandwich bag which worked well. When the icing was cooling he was beside himself with excitement and was checking on them so regularly that it was very hard for them to run away and hide. When Fjord eventually found the plate empty his face was a picture, he was quite overwhelmed and immediately set about searching for the wayward gingerbread men, he found them cuddling the teddy on his bed. His later made another dash for it and was found sitting in front of the TV. Fjord concluded that it must want to watch TV, they sat together watching Noddy, the gingerbread man getting regular kisses.
Drama struck when the legs broke off, I had made the gingerbread man quite thick for the 3D cutter which meant that it was a bit on the soft side. He was in tears at this disaster but recovered and happily munched his new ‘friend’. I only baked 2 to start with and had the rest of the dough in a sealed container in the fridge, more are now in the oven. The dough can also be frozen.
Dear readers please let me know if you try this and share your children’s reactions. I would love to tell my Mum that she has started a new tradition, she would be delighted!