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These are NOT the best decorated gingerbread men you’ve ever seen but it’s the best gingerbread man recipe I’ve ever used. I made these in under an hour – and that includes the decoration. I know, you’ll read the recipe that says chill for a minimum of an hour. I didn’t have an hour so they are a bit less than perfect.
It didn’t matter. They taste fantastic!
We were headed over to the nursing home so the olds could skype their great grandson Sam (just turned 1) before he heads to England to meet his other grandparents for the first time. We got John’s mother and brought her to Rob’s room so we could all be on camera together.
I wanted to bring something to enjoy over coffee once the phone call was over and I tried to think of what I could make that would mean something to old folks. When I thought of gingerbread men it was obvious. Even with dementia, Joan knew what they were. She ate two without blinking an eye.
As we were talking and getting Charlie to do tricks, John’s mother got up and started to take her pants off. Then she said, “You come in the corner with me, they’ve seen me naked when I looked good.”
My eyes got a bit wide and I looked at John for help. Useless. He wanted to melt into the floor. Rob just laughed.
She needed me to see how fat her bum was and to let me know that she’s never had a fat bum before. What do you say to that??
“You need to do some butt exercises, Joan,” I said without laughing out loud and that wasn’t easy.
I pulled up her pants and looked over at the dog. I swear he was doing this.
These gingerbread men are really easy to make and would be good for kids to help. You beat the butter and brown sugar, then add the egg, then the vanilla and molasses. In another bowl you whisk the dry ingredients and then slowly add them to the wet. The dough comes together brilliantly. Divide, wrap and chill.
I floured a large silicone mat, rolled the dough and cut them out. In 7 minutes at 190C/375F you’ve got gingerbread men!
I made Wilton royal icing that’s just 3 tablespoons of meringue powder, 4 cups powdered sugar and 5 tablespoons warm water. Mix and whip, whip, whip until glossy.
If you’ve got kids of any age at all, they’ll love these cookies. One of Rob’s carers came in to check on him and left with one cookie and 30 seconds later knocked on the door and asked for another. They’re that good.
- 85 grams / 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup molasses
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups plain/all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1¾ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Pre-heat oven to 190C/375F. Line baking sheets with baking paper/parchment paper.
- In a mixer bowl, add the butter and brown sugar and beat to combine. Add the egg and beat until mixed in. Add the molasses and vanilla and beat again until everything is well incorporated.
- In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
- Slowly add the dry ingredient mixture into the wet ingredients in the mixer bowl until well blended.
- Divide dough in half and wrap each half in cling film and refrigerate for an hour before rolling.
- Place one of the disks of dough on a lightly floured surface. (I used a silicone mat)
- Sprinkle flour over dough and rolling pin.
- Roll dough to about ¼ inch thickness.
- Adding flour to the dough and rolling pin will keep it from sticking..
- Cut out cookies with a gingerbread man cutter.
- Place cookies on the baking sheet about an inch and a half apart.
- Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes (the longer you cook, the crunchier the cookies are so if you want softer cookies - 7 minutes is enough).
- Remove cookie sheet from oven and allow the cookies to stand until the cookies are firm enough to move to a wire rack.
- When cookies are cool decorate by outlining with royal icing and add eyes, a smile and buttons.