Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gingerbread Men

Come every Christmas, I can never resist the temptation to buy a gingerbread man though most of the time, I end up disappointed by how Styrofoam-like it tastes. I figured since Bubs would enjoy helping me bake, it would be a piece of cookie cake to try out a gingerbread man recipe.

I used this recipe after extensive searching. Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients or steps. I subbed the spices listed with Tesco's mixed spice, added more cinnamon in. You can find molasses in most organic shops or the organic section in supermarkets. It adds a smoky, slightly bitter aftertaste that Hubs didn't like but Bubs, who has a sweet tooth, devoured them down. If you're still not a fan of molasses, I think you can adjust the quantities to add in golden syrup which would make for a paler gingerbread man.

Gingerbread Man Cookies Recipe

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 teaspoon baking soda 
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature, softened) 
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed 
1 Tbsp ground ginger 
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves 
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 large egg 
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses 
Optional raisins, chocolate chips, candy pieces, frosting

Royal Icing  
1 egg white 
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice 
1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)


1 In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.

2 In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Mix in eggs and molasses. Gradually add the flour mixture; combine on low speed. (You may need to work it with your hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.) Divide dough in thirds; wrap each third in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. Before rolling out, let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. If after refrigerating the dough feels too soft to roll-out, work in a little more flour.

3 Heat oven to 350°. Place a dough third on a large piece of lightly floured parchment paper or wax paper. Using a rolling pin, roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate again for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to cut out the cookies. Use either a cookie cutter or place a stencil over the dough and use a knife to cut into desired shapes. Press raisins, chocolate chips, or candy pieces in the center of each cookie if desired for "buttons".

4 Transfer to ungreased baking sheets. Bake until crisp but not darkened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Let sit a few minutes and then use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.

The toughest part was waiting for the dough to be chilled in the fridge when you've got an impatient Bubs literally hanging off your legs asking "can I eat the gingerbread man nowwwww?" For minimal mess, roll the dough out sandwiched between 2 pieces of baking paper.

I quickly learned that the thicker the dough, the easier it is to cut out the cookies. Prob something Bubs could have told me based on his extensive Play Doh experience ;) The dough softened very easily and I kept having to re-chill it back in the fridge.

All lined up and ready for the oven. The colour and texture kinda reminded me of durian kuih though it smells nowhere close to that.

Ta-daaa - gingerbread men all ready for Bubs to eat. That boy had a lot of sadistic fun pretending to be a giant, catching them as they "ran" and chomping their body parts off. I tried using the corner of a ziplock bag to frost features on but the tip was too big and all I ended up with were just messy white blobs. I think I might have to get a food pen writer.


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