Gingerbread is an iconic festive biscuit, often the first port of call when thinking about Christmas baking. The sturdy but delicious biscuits can be made into a gingerbread house, gingerbread people and gingerbread animals.
Flavoured with a range of spices – including ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon – the sweet treat is perfect for the Christmas season.
The flavour has grown so popular it is even used to sweeten coffees with gingerbread flavoured syrup.
The first recorded trade of gingerbread biscuits in England dates to the 17th century, and they were sold in monasteries, pharmacies, and town square farmers’ markets.
If you would like to have a go at making your own gingerbread people, below is a recipe courtesy of BBC Good Food.
How to make the best gingerbread men
- 350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 125g/4½oz butter
- 175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
- 1 free-range egg
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- writing icing (optional)
- cake decorations (optional)
Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor.
Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together.
Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/quarter-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown.
Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.
When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations, if using.
You could use a range of cutters to create designs from people to animals.
Elves, reindeer, Santa Claus and snowflakes are all ideal shapes for this time of year.
Colouring the icing could give a range of different designs too.
If you’re even more ambitious, you could try and make a gingerbread house – there are plenty of templates available with a quick search.