Traditional Holiday Gingerbread Men
When you do a search for gingerbread men on the internet, the ingredient amounts vary so much, you’d hardly think they are traditional.
This recipe worked very well: we slightly adapted one from my mother’s “Brio” booklet from the 70ties. It resulted in gingerbread men with a lovely soft crumbly texture and an attractively cracked surface, like Dutch speculaas, but not tasting like speculaas at all because of the ginger and lemon.
recipe: Traditional Holiday Gingerbread Men
This amount is for 3 gingerbread men of 20 cm tall and about 24 cookies of various shapes
- 275 gr flour
- 120 gr butter or margarine
- 60 gr dark sugar
- 60 gr light brown sugar
- 2 tablesp golden syrup
- 1 teasp baking powder (bicarbonate of soda)
- 1 teasp cinnamon
- 2 teasp ground ginger
- pinch of ground cloves
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 egg yolk
- currants and almonds for decorating
Combine the dry ingredients, including the lemon zest, in a bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingers until the mixture resembles small breadcrumbs. Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and mix well, then quickly knead into a ball. Cool the dough in the fridge for an hour or more before continuing.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, or if you have a fan-assisted electrical oven, to 160°C.
Roll out the dough on a sheet of baking paper to a thickness of 3 mm. Use cookie cutter shapes to cut 3 gingerbread shapes. Leave about 2 cm around each for spreading. Remove the dough around the men. Decorate to your liking with the currants and almonds. I used a small coffee scoop to press in a big-smile mouth.
Lift the gingerbread men using the baking paper onto a baking sheet. Roll out the leftover dough and fill a second sheet of baking paper with smaller cookie shapes.
Put both baking trays into the oven. Bake the small shapes for about 12 minutes, and remove. Bake the large gingerbread men for about 2 minutes more, for a total of 14 or 15 minutes. They should have slightly browned edges. Leave to cool on a rack.