gingerbread men

How adorable are these cookies? Your kids will love them. Like most things, they require a bit of time and effort. However, this gingerbread recipe is fantastic, you can freeze it, refrigerate it, chuck it around the living room if you wish, it’s impossible to muck it up.

I would love to claim the whole idea as mine, but it’s only partially mine. The original idea I found on instagram, however, I can’t give her credit here as I don’t know her name. I have given her credit via my instagram account. These are hers.. I did them like that the first time, but I only had a mini gingerbread man…..they looked terrible, like evil monsters. I put my thinking cap on, used what I had, which was a large bear and a small heart and am very happy with the result as they are too adorable.

Image 1

This recipe yields 27 complete teddybears and they will last forever as gingerbread is like that. What you can do though, if that sounds like too many, is freeze half of the dough for another time. It can also be used to make Belgium Biscuits, those are the ones with pink icing that you see in the photo.

I got everything I needed from the girl on the swing, http://www.thegirlontheswing.co.nz/#! opposite the entrance to Westfield, Chartwell. I already had the teddybear cutter, but they sell an awesome array of sprinkles, there are such fantastic colours available. My bear cutter is 10cm long.

gingerbread 4

If you are wondering how I put these together, I cut out the hearts first, brushed them with egg white, then covered them in the sprinkles and baked them for about 6 minutes. Then you cut out the teddybear and place the pre-cooked heart onto his chest and fold his arms over then bake for another 12-15 minutes. Too easy!

WARNING…sprinkles love to bounce around the kitchen, don’t sprinkle near any rolled out dough as they get stuck it in it, (speaking from experience).

The only other tip regarding gingerbread is that it’s one of those touch feely recipes, meaning, you have to go by feel regarding whether or not you have added enough flour to the dough. Too much flour and your gingerbread will be a little cracked, like in my photo. When it’s perfect they will be lovely and smooth, my second batch was perfect, I just didn’t take a photo.

I have a Kitchen Aid mixer, which makes the whole process super easy. If you mix this by hand, it will require some effort, even my mixer can’t do the whole job, I finish mixing in the flour by hand.

I use a dutch spice called speculaas spices, which I buy from the Gouda Cheese shop in Rototuna, looks like this. It has a beautiful flavour.

dutch spice

When you make the dough, divide it into two as this makes it much easier to work with. Wrap up what you aren’t using in glad wrap. When you have cut out what you need, gather up the scraps and if you think it is a little dry, add a teensy drop of water before you knead it back into a ball for rolling out again. You can refrigerate the dough as well, just bring it back to room temperature, otherwise it is too hard to roll out. I have left mine in the fridge for two days, turned out fine.

You should end up with a pile like this!

gingerbread men4

Gingerbread Bears with Love Hearts
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 180g butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup golden syrup
  • 2 tsp speculaas spice
  • 4½ - 5 cups (maximum 750g) self-raising flour
  • 1 egg white, beaten
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar for 3 minutes on high speed.
  3. Add the egg and golden syrup and continue beating until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Add the spice and start beating in the flour, about 1 cup at a time. If you don't have a mixer use a wooden spoon. You should need at least 4½ cups, maybe a bit more. Towards the last cup of flour you will have to start kneading the flour in on the bench, not unlike a dough. Use any leftover flour to sprinkle on the bench top when you are rolling the dough out.
  5. Divide the dough into two, wrap each half in glad wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, this will make the dough easier to handle.
  6. You can start rolling out the dough straight away. I roll it out to about 4mm thick. You can make it thicker if you like, it won't affect the cookie, just depends how you like it.
  7. Whisk together 1 egg white.
  8. Cut out 27 small heart shaped biscuits.
  9. Brush each biscuit with the egg white then sprinkle over the coloured sprinkles.
  10. Bake for 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  11. Start rolling out the rest of the dough and cut out 27 teddybears. Place a heart shaped biscuit onto his tummy and wrap his arms around it, pressing down on his hands slightly. Using something pointy and sharp, poke eyes and a nose in too.
  12. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until golden brown, they don't have to be dark.
Notes
If you can't get the dutch spice I use, substitute with 1tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp all spice.
I have made this twice in the last two weeks, the second time I made them I used 80g less flour, so it really depends on how well you measure the rest of the wet ingredients as to how much flour you will need.
Use one bowl for each sprinkle colour you have. You can either hold the heart over the bowl and sprinkle the sprinkles on, letting the bowl catch the left overs, or you can tip the heart into a bowl of sprinkles, press it down lightly then remove and place on a tray.
You need to be quite generous when you brush the egg white onto the hearts so that the sprinkles stick.