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This gingerbread is a soft biscuit. I do not recommend using this gingerbread to make a gingerbread house. When constructing a house, a firmer, drier gingerbread is required.
Makes approximately 36 medium gingerbread men (12.5cm tall) you can half or even double this recipe. I use different shaped and sized cutters giving me well over a hundred biscuits that are perfect for a little treat or indulging the children without feeling guilty.
I use standard 20ml tablespoons and 250ml measuring cup for all of my recipes.
750g (5 cups) plain flour
2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
4 teaspoons mixed spice
6 teaspoons ground ginger
280g unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon fine table salt
260g (1 cup, very firmly packed) brown sugar
250ml (1 cup) treacle
2 egg yolk, separated into yolk (minimum weight of whole egg 59g)
370g (2 2/3 cups) pure icing sugar, sifted
2 egg white or 20-30ml (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons) water
Food colouring, optional for decoration
1. Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and ginger together in a medium bowl.
2. In a separate large bowl, using an electric mixer or electric hand-held beaters, beat butter and brown sugar together. Stop the machine occasionally and scrape down the sides so everything is well incorporated. Beat until the butter and sugar are well combined and the mixture is creamy.
3. Add treacle and egg yolk to the butter mixture. Beat for about 30 seconds, until the ingredients are well combined.
4. Using a spoon or the electric mixer/beaters on very low speed, incorporate the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
5. Preheat oven to 180 (160 fan-forced). Line two baking trays with baking paper.
6. Using your hands, bring the dough together into a ball.
7. Divide the dough in half, and then half again. Place one piece of dough between two large sheets of baking paper and roll out until 4-5mm thick. Leave dough between sheets or remove the top layer and use for the next section of dough, which I do to save on materials. Place the rolled out dough, into the freezer for 15min or into the refrigerator for 30min. The dough is impossible to work with in this soft state, for people in hot climate such as I (Perth, Western Australia) I advice you put the air conditioner on too. Repeat the rolling and chilling process with the other three pieces of dough.
8. Once dough is cold and firm, remove from refrigerator or freezer, transfer to kitchen bench. Work quickly! Use your preferred stencil and press as many images into the hard dough. Once there are no spaces left, pick the negative space away and transfer the shapes to the prepared tray. It helps to use a pallet knife. I don’t find the dough to expand much so you can get quite close, but err on the side of caution and leave at least 1cm between shapes.
9. As soon as a tray is filled, place it in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. The longer the baking time, the crisper/harder the gingerbread will be. The biscuits will firm up as they cool. Bake one tray of biscuits at a time.
10. You can do it now or wait until you’ve filled the second tray; put the left over dough together into a ball and roll between the two sheets of paper again, leaving it to set in the fridge/freezer.
11. Cool cooked biscuits on tray for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
Stir icing sugar and liquid together in a small bowl until well combined. Add food colouring to icing if desired. Decorate the gingerbread people with the icing and any desired sprinkles, sparkles, or premade and/or bought sugar decorations.