Why did I ever think that gingerbread men/women/children are so hard to make ? I vaguely recall making them years and years ago and haven’t since and I can’t figure out why because I love anything ginger.
I found a recipe from Joy of Baking and started making them tonight. It’s a very easy recipe that calls for you to make the dough and then resting that dough in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight. As it’s almost midnight, it will mean rolling out the dough tomorrow morning.
I don’t know why but the dough from the Joy of Baking recipe just wasn’t right – it tasted like a molasses cookie with a hint of ginger, so I made the following adjustments:
1) Doubled the ground ginger
2) Reduced the molasses from 2/3 cup to 1/2 cup
3) Added a good pinch of salt
***END OF UPDATE
Resting dough allows for a few things. Firstly if you are cutting butter into flour, it helps to avoid the butter getting soft (which is quite quickly in Singapore, even in an airconditioned apartment) and melting into the flour. You want to keep the butter in flakes so that the pastry becomes light and airy. In the case of gingerbread men, there isn’t any cutting of butter, but you do need the dough to rest to allow the glutens which have become “tough” from the mixing, to relax, and means a more soft pastry once it’s cooked.
We’ll see how they turn out tomorrow – I hope it turns out well because we’re taking them to a friend’s place for Christmas lunch !
OK just back from eating and drinking ourselves silly at a friend’s place. The gingerbread men were a hit ! And they are easy peasy to make. The recipe (here) makes about 30 10cm men and the 6 1/2 minutes makes them perfectly soft for me – they continue to cook once they are out of the oven.
The hardest thing for me was icing them ! I chose to use confectioners icing but it’s really fiddly to decorate men that are that small. I ended up using the icing as “glue” to stick mini-M&Ms on as buttons/eyes etc. I also used syringes which I purchased from the pharmacy because it gave a cleaner, more controlled flow of the icing. And even then it got messy. But that’s half the fun of baking, isn’t it ?