The Hummingbird Bakery gingerbread man recipe

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makes: 24
Skill: medium
Prep: 30 min
Cooking: 15 min
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  • The Hummingbird Bakery gingerbread man recipe makes delicious little gingerbread men every time. Let's get cracking!

    A good gingerbread man recipe is essential to any family recipe collection. And this biscuit recipe is a great addition to your cohort! To make the Hummingbird Bakery’s gingerbread men recipe, you don’t have to use a gingerbread man shaped cookie cutter if you don’t fancy, but it’s so much fun to decorate each one individually, giving each a different outfit and facial expression as you go!

    This recipe makes 24 gingerbread men (or women!), so you know you’ll have enough to pass around family or friends who come over for a cuppa or at a party. This easy gingerbread recipe is also perfect for making and decorating with kids and giving out as edible end of term gifts.

    If you’re making them for Christmas, why not pop your gingerbread men into a cellophane bag and tie with a festive ribbon? We promise everyone will love getting this delicious gingerbread cookies as a homemade gift!

    Ingredients

    • 400g plain flour
    • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 2tsp ground ginger
    • 2tsp ground cinnamon
    • ½ tsp ground allspice
    • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 125g soft dark brown sugar or dark muscovado sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 125g black treacle
    • 1 egg white
    • ½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 310g icing sugar, sifted
    • food colouring, optional
    • gingerbread biscuit cutters
    • a baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper

    Method

    • Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

    • Put the butter and sugars in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and cream on slow speed until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat in the egg and treacle, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

    • Turn the mixer back down to slow speed and slowly add the flour mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time, stopping often to scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Once an even dough has formed, take it out of the mixer, divide into 3 and wrap each piece in clingfilm. Leave to rest overnight in the fridge if you have time.

    • When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3. Take the dough out of the fridge and leave to soften for about 10 minutes. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 4 mm with a rolling pin. Cut out your gingerbread man shapes with the biscuit cutters. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking trays and bake in the preheated oven for about 10–15 minutes.

    • Leave the cookies to cool slightly on the trays before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

    • Beat the egg white and lemon juice together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk). Gradually start adding the icing sugar, mixing well after each addition to ensure all sugar is incorporated. Whisk until you get stiff peaks. If the icing is too runny, add a little more sugar. Stir in a couple of drops of food colouring, if using, and decorate the cookies.

      This recipe is taken from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers

      Published by Ryland Peters & Small
      Text © Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers
      Photography copyright Ryland Peters & Small

    Top tip for making The Hummingbird Bakery gingerbread man

    Leaving the dough to rest overnight makes these cookies better the next day. Once you've rolled and cut out your shapes pop them on a baking tray and into the fridge for another ten minutes to firm up again. This will help the gingerbread men keep their shape when cooking, giving nice clean lines for a professional looking gingerbread man.

    Should gingerbread be hard or soft?

    Gingerbread men should traditionally be soft with a crisp outer edge layer. They should bend when being eaten instead of making a ‘snap’ noise when breaking in half.

    Of course you don’t want your gingerbread to be overly soft, otherwise it won’t maintain its shape once baked. The more golden syrup, the softer the gingerbread, the more flour the harder the gingerbread.

    Why do my gingerbread cookies spread?

    If you’ve over-greased your baking tray or you’ve used too much butter or nonstick oil this can actually cause your gingerbread men to spread. Swap the greasing for baking paper or a silicone baking mat instead.

    The spreading can also be down to the overuse of a leavening agent. Examples include yeast, baking powder and baking soda so make sure you use the correct, exact amount and don’t overdo it.

    Why did my gingerbread crack?

    To make sure your gingerbread doesn’t crack once its baked or when it comes out of the oven, you need to make sure you don’t overcook it. Overcooking your gingerbread will make it rock hard and will eventually lead to cracking.

    If the oven is too hot this will also dry your gingerbread dough out making the outer layer of the biscuit become hard, but the inside will not be cooked. The outside can then crack.

    The trick is to make sure the oven is at the correct temperature and that you don’t overcook your gingerbread men by following the times on the recipe and keeping a close eye on your gingerbread recipe.

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