Bake: Gingerbread Ladies

Bake: Gingerbread Ladies

I love gingerbread. It’s quite possibly my favourite biscuit, so much so that I regularly make gingerbread houses, even when it’s not Christmas. But gingerbread houses aren’t great to transport and when I want to spread a little holiday cheer, I bake gingerbread ladies. Yes, ladies – because gingerbread men have had enough attention over the years and it’s totally the ladies’ turn!

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The recipe I used makes enough for a small gingerbread house AND lots of little ladies, but you can divvy it up in whatever way you want, because it doesn’t matter how it’s cut, it’s going to be delicious. Seriously – I only wish my gingerbread cutter was just a little bit bigger, because one of these is not enough.

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One of the things I love about this recipe is that you can dump all the ingredients in a food processor and it does half the battle for you. But I’ve totally made it without a food processor (ie every time I made these BEFORE I finally splurged on my new favourite kitchen appliance) and it works just as well. Also I like to add more spices to taste while I’m kneading the dough – but you can just leave it with the quantity I recommend in the recipe.

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I iced them using traditional royal icing and then added hundreds and thousands because… well why the hell not! Anyways, they went down an absolute treat and people keep demanding I bring in more… Really guys, I have other things to do BESIDES feed you! This recipe makes a LOT of gingerbread people, I’m warning you now. But that’s ok, because it’s impossible to get sick of gingerbread!

Gingerbread Ladies (adapted from a recipe in Gourmet Traveller several years ago)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/3 cups plain flour
  • 95 grams each light and dark brown sugars
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cloves
  • 110 grams cold butter, cubed
  • 95 grams golden syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 440 grams icing sugar

Method:

  1. In a food processor or large mixing bowl, blitz together the flour, sugars, baking powder and spices.
  2. Add the butter and process to combine, then add the golden syrup and egg and process until the mixture comes together – in a processor, this takes 3-4 minutes, by hand it takes a lot longer
  3. Turn the dough onto a clean, dry surface and knead until the mixture comes together, wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour
  4. Remove from fridge, roll out onto a floured surface and cut cute little gingerbread people out of the dough, placing them carefully on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper
  5. Baked in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 180 C. They’re done when they’re slightly golden and look ‘baked’, then cool the ladies on their trays to let them harden – they will be soft and goopy if you try and handle them straight out of the oven
  6. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites into the icing sugar until stiff peaks form. Ice cooled gingerbread ladies either with a knife dipped n hot water or using a piping bag
  7. These little ladies taste best when they’re a couple days old