Now it’s not universally true that what every woman needs is a good man but I’ve met very few who will pass up the opportunity of a bit of quality time with a gingerbread man. Especially not my gingerbread men. Actually they are gingerbread men and women. And they are anatomically correct.
Not completely anatomically correct of course but I do like to put bumps in the right places when I’m making them for an adult audience. My decorations are less gumdrop buttons and more bikinis, briefs and boxers with the occasional thong thrown in for good luck.
Generally I make these gingerbread people for adults rather than children. On the off chance that someone has sneaked their offspring into your gathering I feel I should point out that small children will tend to go first for the bits with the icing and the bits with the icing tend to be the bits with the bumps If you find your toddler sucking on the crotch of your gingerbread man, well you’ve been warned.
The latest group of fine specimens were for a friend’s birthday. She has a penchant for ginger haired men so taking into account her preferences you will note that these are ginger gingerbread men. Tasty.
Making gingerbread men is relatively easy if not rather time consuming and a bit messy. The most recent recipe I have used is from Alison Holst which she uses to make gingerbread houses in her big red book.
Gingerbread dough – makes enough for around 20 gingerbread people
100g brown sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup
2 large eggs separated
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
Melt butter, sugar and syrup in microwave. Stir in egg yolks. Stir in dry ingredients, knead to form a smooth dough. Cut the dough into three and put two to chill in the fridge – the dough should be firm enough without needing to be chilled but chilling makes the job slightly easier.
Roll dough out to approx 3mm thick either between two sheets of baking paper or with lots of flour – you don’t want to tear your gingerbread men trying to get them up off the bench. Cut out as many gingerbread men as you can then layer the scraps and roll again until the dough is used up.
Place gingerbread men on baking paper lined trays. You may need to get a system going with the rolling and baking if you have limited trays. Roll little balls of gingerbread and place in the gender appropriate positions.
Bake at 180 C for approx 7 minutes. Watch like a hawk to prevent overly tanned ginger bread people.
Once the gingerbread men are cool you can use the left over egg whites to make royal icing for the decorating. Beat the egg whites until foamy then beat in 1/2C of icing sugar at a time until the icing is thick enough to pipe; as the amount of water in the egg white changes, the amount of sugar required changes. After the men are decorated the icing can be set faster by putting them in the warm oven to dry out.
In terms of decorations I usually split the icing out in to three or four small zip lock bags and add a different colour to each, snip the corner and use this to pipe. I’d suggest that you buy the branded bags rather than the house brand ones; they have a nasty habit of splitting at the worst possible moment.