Yay! It’s October, I’ve been waiting for it for ages. This means that it’s wedding anniversary month, birthday month and lots of other exciting things including a patisserie course at Le Manoir, and dinner at Lumiere and The Fat Duck… beyond excited! It also means that Halloween is just around the corner.
I love Halloween, not the scary horrible stuff but the nicer side of things. When we were in Florida for my birthday one Halloween, it was Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that we headed for, rather than Universal’s Evil Movies. I’d have had nightmares for weeks if we had visited there. Honestly, I’m such a wusse; I’ll hide behind a cushion and stick my fingers in my ears when the Halloween film adverts come on.
Luckily for me, when it comes to Halloween baking, it tends to be less on the gruesome side and more on the Disney side… phew!
I’ve had this Gingerdead cookie cutter sat in the cupboard since Spring. I brought it on the off-chance, when I came across it on eBay. I have a feeling that Lakeland also sell them. Anyway, it’s quite cool. It’s a dual cookie cutter and embossing stamp, for the skeleton; and it ticks the cute spooky checkbox.
Look at that little gingerbready face; isn’t he cute? Awwwwww…
So Ian announced last week that he’d rather have biscuits and cookies to take to work, as he was making too much of a mess with cake. Seriously, how does he manage to make a mess? It’s straight in, in a couple of bites for me; no crumbs, no mess. But this Boy takes his time over cake, and the crumbs cometh!
Cue the excuse to get Gingerdead out, and test-run a tweaked gingerbread recipe. I used to make little gingerbread men to top off my white chocolate and gingerbread cupcakes, that were part of my Christmas menu, in the shop. They were more short and biscuity, as they couldn’t be too soft because of the buttercream.
This tweaked recipe has more of a snap but then goes nice and soft after a day or so, not rock hard. I’ve also upped the ginger, added a little cinnamon and nutmeg and switched the muscovado sugar for a soft light brown. You still get that golden colour, but it lets the ginger come through more.
You can make Gingerdead Men without the embossing skeleton stamp; you can ice directly on to a gingerbread man, but the embossing gives the icing somewhere to flood. The one thing to remember though, if you are using the embossing stamp, is to make sure you push down all over, else the emboss is shallow and has a tendency to bake out. Check out his little missing face… Bless!
- 350g Plain flour
- 150g Soft light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Ground ginger
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Nutmeg
- 1 tsp Bicarb of Soda
- 100g Unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 Egg, medium
- 4 tbsp Golden syrup
- Preheat the oven to 180C and line two large baking trays with baking parchment.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and bicarb of soda. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips. The rubbed-in mixture should resemble fine breadcrumbs or sand.
- Add the sugar to the rubbed-in mixture.
- In a separate bowl, add the egg and golden syrup. Whisk together.
- Make a well in the centre of the rubbed-in mixture, and pour in the egg and golden syrup.
- Mix together to form a smooth dough.
- Roll the dough into a sausage, wrap in cling-film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface to a thickness of approximately 3-5mm.
- Using a gingerbread man cutter, cut out as many gingerbread men as possible.
- Gently lift onto the lined baking tray with a flat palette knife.
- If using an embossing stamp, gently but firmly press onto the gingerbread men; or using a small knife or cocktail stick make holes for eyes, mouth and buttons.
- Make sure the gingerbread men are spaced well apart to allow them to spread when they are baking.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Take the gingerbread men out of the oven and slide them off the baking tray and onto a cooling rack to cool.
- To decorate, fill a piping bag fitted with a No. 2 nozzle, with Royal Icing and flood the embossed skeleton.