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Gorgeous Gingerbread

This month I'm offering a special gift box for kids for Halloween and my favourite things in that box are the gingerbread skeletons.

Gingerbread is more usually associated with Christmas and rightly so with its delicate cinnamon fragrance and warming ginger flavour, what could be better with a mug of tea on those chilly winter days, but I love it so much that any day is a gingerbread day in my house. The best gingerbread is crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle and tastes better still when it's still warm from the oven.

So here is my recipe for gingerbread.

You will need:

Cookie cutters of any shape but person shaped is traditional

2 baking sheets lined with greaseproof paper

175g dark brown sugar

85g golden syrup

100g butter

350g self raising flour

1 tbspn ground ginger

1 tspn ground cinaamon

1 egg, beaten

Turn the oven on to 200C/Gas Mark 6

First, gently melt the sugar, golden syrup and the butter in a nonstick pan. Bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes and then remove from the heat and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl combine the flour and the spices. Gradually add the warm syrup mixture and the beaten egg then stir thoroughly to form a soft sticky dough. Knead the dough in the bowl until it is smooth and streak free, it will firm up once it has cooled. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for about 15 minutes until it has cooled but is still pliable.

Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 3-5mm. If you have large cutters then 5 mm is about right, smaller cutters or fiddly shapes will need a thinner depth and the biscuits with be crunchier. Re-roll the excess dough and keep cutting until it's all used up.

Carefully place the pieces onto the baking sheets, I use a fish slice for larger shapes so as not to damage them. Place the trays in the oven for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your dough and rotate the trays halfway through cooking to ensure they are even. Leave the pieces to cool on the tray for about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Now for the fun bit. You can decorate your gingerbread with chocolate buttons, gummy drops, hundreds and thousands or just about confectionery. For my skeletons I mixed about 50g of sieved icing sugar with a little water to form a smooth paste. Then with a T12 nozzle on my piping bag I added the skeleton shapes.



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