Grace was very excited when I said we were going to make gingerbread men for the fun day. There's a Richard Scarry video that she watches sometimes which features slightly scary gingermen. I thought it would be a fun thing we could do together; it was and it wasn't. First there was the bad taste when she sneaked a lick of the spice mixture and then the (not badly) burnt finger when she tried to taste the syrup mixture. That said, the rolling out of the gingermen and the icing of them was greeted with much enthusiasm. As was the eating.
However, I have to say that as far as eating goes, I'd prefer a softer textured gingerbread. Dark and slightly chewy on the outside. These were quite hard and would be really good for Christmas tree hanging and as small gifts. Recipe is adapted from Biscuits, The Good Cook, Time-Life Books 1982. For the cake stall, I made a double quantity and that was heaps, with some over for home.
You will need
125g brown sugar
125g golden syrup or honey (I think molasses would work well too if you like the taste)
1tsp ground cinnamon
some fresh nutmeg
some mixed spice (actually I might leave the mixed spice and nutmeg out next time - the recipe called for 1/8 ground cloves instead, which I didn't have)
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (I'd be tempted to add more next time, but I love ginger)
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
500g plain flour
1 lightly beaten egg
glace icing made from icing sugar, a tiny knob of butter and hot water and then coloured with lurid food colourings
Dissolve the sugar, honey or syrup, spices and butter over a low heat and slowly bring to gentle boil. Cool to room temperature and add the baking powder. It will froth a bit.
Make a well in the middle of the flour and salt. Add syrup mixture and the egg. MIx well and ten turn onto a floured board and knead until it all comes together. Wrap in plastic or grease proof paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll the cooled dough to about 3 mm thick and cut into shapes. Bake in a preheated oven 170C oven for 8-10 minutes or just until they start to colour.
When the gingerpeople are cool, ice with icing from an icing bag or using a plastic bag with a small corner cut off.