My friend Sheridan Rogers has written a fabulous new cookbook Mini-Chef for the kids and it’s out now! And Sheridan has kindly shared my pick from her book – the recipe for Gingerbread Men – with you …
When I was a kid, I don’t think I ever had more fun learning to cook, than when I was baking. It was a great start to what was to become a great passion in my life. Baking and decorating Gingerbread Men was a favourite way to play inside on a rainy Sunday along with baking my other childhood favourites, Anzac Biscuits and Scones. Making and eating Gingerbread Men was an any time any day school holidays project too. Have fun whatever your age …
You can make whatever shape you like with this gingerbread dough:
gingerbread men of all sizes, reindeer, cockatoos, bells, angels, stars.
Makes about 20 men, or enough for a Gingerbread House.
Mixmaster or electric beaters
Baking trays lined with baking
250g (8oz) softened butter
185g (6oz) brown sugar
2 organic or free range eggs
300ml (10fl oz) honey
750g–800g (1½–1¾lb) plain flour
3 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
3 teaspoons bi-carbonate of soda
dissolved in 125ml (4fl oz) boiling water
1. Cream together the butter and sugar until light. Beat in the eggs one at a time then add the honey.
2. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture alternately with dissolved bi-carbonate soda. If the dough feels too soft, add a little more flour. Shape into a ball and wrap in greaseproof paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate two hours or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan-forced/350ºF/gas mark 4).
4. Divide the gingerbread into four so that you can work with one piece at a time, putting the remainder back (wrapped) into the refrigerator. Roll out onto a lightly floured board and stamp out shapes with a cutter. Lift carefully onto greased baking trays.
5. Bake for about 15 minutes or until browned. Remove with a spatula to cool on a wire rack. Decorate with smarties for eyes, jellybeans (mouth) and coconut (hair). Or spoon royal icing into a piping bag with a small nozzle and pipe squiggles over the men or other shapes.
Use this recipe for Gingerbread, Arrowroot biscuit faces and to spread over your cupcakes – use a spatula and do it before it begins to set like concrete! Decorate tops with candied flowers, hearts, 100s & 1000s or whatever takes your fancy.
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes.
Mixing bowl and beaters
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
3 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
Squeeze of lemon juice
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the icing sugar, beating constantly until thick. When you lift the beaters, the icing mixture should look like soft snow peaks. Beat in the lemon juice.
Although I just loved making Gingerbread Men as a kid, I think I had the most fun EATING THEM! Which part did you eat first? (I ALWAYS ate the head!)
Run run as fast as you can …
Mini-Chef is available now in all good bookstores. Sheridan Rogers is an experienced cook and well published food writer and now also holds fabulous kids cooking classes at her Sydney home during school holidays.
And if you didn’t see it already you can also catch Sheridan Rogers on the Morning Show here.