My house smelt incredibly Christmassy while popping batches of these smiley gingerbread men in the oven. I’m not a huge fan of gingerbread but Shane is and I have been meaning to make him some the last few Christmas’ and have just run out of time/been a bit lazy! Last year I saw on Pinterest some gingerbread men in a jar and then a few weeks ago I spotted the same idea in the Chelsea gift guide, this compelled me to finally bake a batch. My recipe is slightly different to the Chelsea recipe but works off the same principal (meaning if you want to have a go at making gingerbread men in jars you can download the gift tag/instructions here, cheeky huh?!).
2½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
125 grams butter, softened
½ cup golden syrup
1 egg yolk
In the bowl of your mixer beat butter with golden syrup and egg yolk until creamy and smooth.
Add the dry ingredients (contents of the jar) and mix on a medium speed until a soft dough forms.
Lay some cling film on your bench or a hard surface, place your dough on to the cling film and knead into a ball. Wrap the cling film around the ball and chill for 20 minutes.
While your dough is chilling, pre-heat oven to 170ºC and line two baking trays with baking paper.
Roll out gingerbread dough to about 3 mm (if its sticky roll between two sheets of baking paper – I did this and found it worked very well).
Cut using a gingerbread man shaped cookie cutter. Transfer to baking trays and cook for 8-12 minutes (until golden) depending on how hard you like your gingerbread.
If you want to decorate your gingerbread men/people it is best to use royal icing, you can buy powder for this at the supermarket or you can make your own using the left over egg white by beating the egg white with a whisk attachment until it is foamy. At this point you can sift in 1/2 cup of icing sugar, stir and repeat until the icing holds it shape, which is important if you can going to pipe it on (this shouldn't take more than 1 – 1 1/2 cups). Transfer icing to a piping bag an decorate as desired.
I think these gingerbread men will make the perfect gift for those who love to eat home baking but don’t necessarily like to get in the kitchen and bake. The jars on the other hand are the perfect homemade gift for bakers of all levels of experience at this time of year.