Gingerbread Men and Friends

I made this gingerbread men recipe a few months ago now though I remember it like it was yesterday. My flatmate even remembers. That night never ended, the kneading, the rolling, the cutting – this recipe seriously makes an unanticipated 100+ gingerbread men. Hence, I have renamed this recipe….Gingerbread men and friends.

It is interesting that the original recipe that which I am currently copying down is titled “Gingerbread Man” when in fact it not only produces man, but woman, girl, boy, cousin, sister, brother and friend..

I hadn’t made gingerbread men since I was a very young child so this recipe (although a little ambitious by myself due to the share number!) was an absolute delight to make. I’m sure I could have been more creative with the decorating had I more time.

Anyway, enjoy – I sure did, but I kind of recommend making these with children! Decorate them with red and green and they will make excellent little pre-Christmas gifts!

Gingerbread Men and Friends

  • 2 ½ cups of plain flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 125 grams of butter
  • ½ a cup of brown sugar
  • ½ cup of golden syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • ½ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cloves

Preheat oven to 190 degrees.

Sift together the dry ingredients into a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the spices, golden syrup and flour, and mix to form a very smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic film, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until quite firm.

Here comes the fun part! Roll out the dough between sheets of non-stick paper to about 5mm thick. Grab your cutters! You can you pretty much anything you like – gingerbread man, star, Christmas tree, you name it! Cut out the shapes and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Bake your little gingerbread men for about 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cake rack until well cooled.

Decorate to your heart’s content!

Old-Fashioned Lemony Shortbread

There is nothing quite like a good “bickie”. The old-fashioned Yo-Yo, Belgian or the famous Shrewsbury biscuit are a few of my favourites. I think it might be because they are all sandwich-style biscuits with a layer of cream or icing in between. Delicious!

So when I saw a recipe for these tangy lemony treats last week I knew I had to try them out. I also had a set of cookie cutters I was given that I could finally put to work (yay!).

These little biscuits are actually heavenly! They are soft, light and crumbly and require very few ingredients. I can almost guarantee that you have everything you need to make them. There is something nice about being able to make a batch of biscuits on the whim and with ingredients already in the cupboard!

I found these biscuits take a little bit more extra labour than your typical ANZAC or Afghan recipe but make up for time in flavour! I did somewhat make more work for myself, too, when I decided to make 40-odd wee miniature little stars rather than a dozen or so bigger ones but worked out really well. I quite like how the lemon zest is still quite visible once baked, though you could easily cut the zest up a wee bit smaller if so desired!

Old-fashioned lemony shortbread

  • 130g very soft butter
  • 1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup of self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup cornflour
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • extra icing sugar for dusting

Put butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Beat until pale and creamy. Don’t rush this step. Sift together flour, cornflour and salt. With beaters running, add the dry ingredients in three lots. Add the lemon zest and beat until fully combined.Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured board. Form into a ball and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Halve the dough and roll out the first portion on a lightly floured surface, or between sheets of baking paper, until about 5mm thick. Cut with a cookie cutter. If you want to, you can cut a small circle or shape out of every second biscuit if desired – like a Shrewsbury!

Place biscuits on baking sheets lined with baking paper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 180° and cool on a wire rack. Repeat process with second portion of dough. Make sure your re-roll any scraps and cut again.

For the lemon icing:

Combine 50 grams of softened butter with 1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar and 2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest. Beat together with a few drops of boiling water to make a spreading consistency. Sandwich biscuits together with lemon curd or icing and dust with icing sugar!

Make sure you store these biscuits (though they are not likely to last terribly long!) in a sealed container! I thought this recipe could work really well as a small gift for friends or family. Christmas, after all, is just around the corner! Hmmm…

Bit of a poll this time round, what is your favourite biscuit of all time? A kiwi creation or otherwise!