Gingerbread men

The one in the middle was baked for less time, so it's paler and softer. The other two were baked longer and are darker and crunchier. (photo by Ashley)
The one in the middle was baked for less time, so it’s paler and softer. The other two were baked longer and are darker and crunchier. (photo by Ashley)

I used this recipe to make gingerbread houses with Amy last week and I was really impressed with how it out. I’ve since tweaked the recipe a fair bit and have come up with my own version, which creates beautifully gingery cookies. You can either cook them for a shorter time and get soft chewy gingerbread, or cook them for longer to get a darker, crunchier type.

They’re delicious to give as gifts over the festive period, or they’re delicious to make as a lovely festive treat. You could cut them into whatever shapes you fancy, but I went with the classic gingerbread man.

  • 250g butter
  • 200g dark brown sugar
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 600g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt

for the decoration

  • royal icing sugar (technically cheating but meh)
  • silver balls, gum drop buttons, jelly tots – whatever you like!
  1. Pop the butter, sugar, and golden syrup in a medium saucepan and warm over a gentle heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Put the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of a standmixer and fit the dough hook. Turn on the lowest speed so that all the dry ingredients are well combined.
  3. Keep the speed on low and pour in the warm mix from the pan. Let the dough hook bring the dough together. When it’s a smooth, stiff mixture, turn it out onto some baking parchment on a work surface.
  4. Flatten it out with your palms – though be careful as it will be hot. Leave to cool for 10 mins.
  5. Roll it out to about a centimetre thick. Cut out whatever shapes you like and lay them out on a baking tray lined with parchment, leaving some space between them. Leave them on the baking tray to set for about 15 mins. You may need several baking trays.
  6. Now heat your oven to 200°c.
  7. Pop the gingerbread men (or cookies) into the oven for 8-12 mins. They will still be soft when you take them out – don’t touch them, just let them cool for 10 mins or so until you can carefully pick them up and move them to a cooling rack.
  8. When the gingerbread is completely cold, make your royal icing. Just add 250g of royal icing sugar to 2 tbsp water (or follow the instructions on the box) and then beat in a standmixer until you have icing that will hold in stiff peaks. This could take up to 6 straight mins of beating so be patient.
  9. When it’s ready, pop it into a piping bag with a very small nozzle and use it to pipe decorations and glue on sweets.
  10. Leave out to dry for an hour or so, then store in an airtight container.

Best enjoyed with a lovely cup of tea!