I have never been very good at baking, or cooking for that matter. I try my best to think of new things to do but 9 times out of 10 i can make it look fancy but it tastes like shit. Timmy usually humours me and says “oh its lovely darling” but I can guarantee you a good few weeks, even months later he will accidentally drop in the conversation that it wasn’t that great.
The thing is I can’t even do it back to him because generally he cooks very well and bakes even better. So recently, especially with the changing seasons, I’ve really been trying to improve on my past disasters especially as Ernest is on solids.
I try to think of things that can be good for him too. So I’m going to regularly attempt different recipes, some from books, some I’ve adapted and post them on here in the hope that someone else is as useless as me and wants to try something simple but tasty. This time of year is all about food anyway so its the perfect opportunity.
I would say recently I’ve probably purchased about 20 different cookie cutters. When I decide I want to put my heart and soul into something I buy every possible thing id need to achieve it. My draws may be struggling to close but I’ve got enough cookie cutters to last a lifetime.
I’ve been wanted to make gingerbread people, well for obvious reasons, and because they are just so Christmassy. The last time I tried to make biscuits I left them in way too long. They were so hard you could have caused serious dental work. The key is to get them out when they are golden but still soft to touch. They will then harden as they cool. So here goes.
300 g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
125 g unsalted butter
100 g soft light brown sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup
1 large egg white
175g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4 and line 2 baking trays with baking paper. In a large bowl mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and the spices.
Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves, then add it to the dry ingredients. Stir in until it forms a stiff dough, then cut it in half.
Transfer the paper from the baking trays to a work surface and place a portion of the dough on each. As there is no egg in the recipe the dough is quite crumbly so the best thing to do is roll it up and down as that seems to help.
Roll out to 5mm thick, then cut out directly on the paper, leaving a 2cm gap between each. Save the cuttings to make more people, or round ginger biscuits.
You will find the more you handle the dough the easier it gets to roll it out.
Carefully lift the papers back onto the baking sheets and bake the gingerbread in the oven for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remember to make sure that they are still a little bit soft when you take them out of the oven.
Leave to cool on the sheet for a few minutes – if you want to hang them as decorations, now is the time to pierce a hole through the top of each with a skewer – then move to a wire rack.
Whilst they are cooling, lightly whisk the egg whites in a bowl and add the sifted icing sugar and lemon juice until it starts to thicken up. You can add a little bit of water to the mixture to get your desired consistency.
Once cool, ice the gingerbread men and decorate with sprinkles, sweets and edible glitter.
That part is definitely the best bit, after eating them of course. They are a great way to get all the family involved too. Ernest is a little too young just yet but I can’t wait until he can join in too. I guess he’ll just have to enjoy devouring them instead.
Please let me know if you attempt to make any and tag me in the picture. I’d love to see how they’ve come out.