It’s funny to think that the first documented instance of figure-shaped gingerbread biscuit was at the court of Elizabeth I of England. She had the gingerbread figures made and presented in the likeness of some of her important guests which brought the human shape of the gingerbread cookies into popularity. Read more here.
Christmas is never Christmas without gingerbread people or houses! I’ve come across several recipes for ‘Gingerbread Men’ from around the 1940s, some using Golden Syrup (UK), some using Molasses or Corn Syrup (North America). Some contain an egg, others don’t.
Below is my favourite recipe in which I make one adaption to improve the binding and holding together of the gingerbread. It tastes absolutely lovely, is firm enough to also make slabs for gingerbread houses, we may do that next year!
I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and really hope and wish that 2022 will be a year that sees you in good health and experience much happiness.
- 350g plain flour
- 140g of butter or margarine
- 100g dark brown sugar
- 3tbsp golden syrup (or molasses)
- 1tbsp ground flaxseed (mix with 2.5 tablespoons of hot water, it helps hold the mixture together when baking)
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2tsp ground cinnamon
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- Mix the flaxseed with 2.5 tablespoons of hot water. Mix well and set aside to thicken.
- Melt butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan on a low heat stirring slowly until all runny and melted. Set this aside in a mixing bowl to cool down a bit.
- Stir in the flaxseed mixture thoroughly.
- Add in the sieved flour, bicarbonate of soda, pinch of salt and all the spices and mix until a smooth dough is formed.
- Wrap or place in container and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 180C
- Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to about 0.5cm and start stamping out the gingerbread.
- Place on parchment paper on a baking tray.
- Cook for about 15 minutes (slightly more or less according to your oven)
- Remove from oven when cooked. Leave on sheet to cool down for 15 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Once fully cold then you can keep in an airtight container for about a week or so.
- Decorate with icing sugar when fully cold. If no icing sugar available dent the dough before cooking to form eyes, mouth and buttons! Or just decorate with anything you’ve got!
Makes about 12 large gingerbread people.