Bake now: Gingerbread men

From the Biscuiteers cookbook.

Ingredients (makes 20 gingerbread men)

350g plain flour
100g self-raising flour
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
125g granulated sugar
125g salted butter, diced
125g golden syrup
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 170c/350f/gas mark 4 before you begin making your gingerbread men. Sift the flours together into a mixing bowl, add the sugar and ground ginger, and mix well. Add the butter. Using just the tips of your fingers, rub together the ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. When all the butter is evenly mixed in, make a well in the centre and add the syrup and the egg. Mix well, drawing in any of the flour left at the sides of the bowl and stop as soon as a ball has formed. Place the dough onto your clean worktop. Divide into two and squash the dough into two even-sized flat discs. Cover and chill until ready to use, or roll out immediately.

Place the dough on a sheet of parchment and begin by gently squashing the dough down with a rolling pin or your hands. Cover with a second sheet of parchment and then use the rolling pin to roll out properly. The top sheet of paper may crinkle from time to time, just peel it off and smooth it down gently before starting to roll again. Gently roll the dough until it is 5mm thick all over, then transfer the whole sheet of rolled dough still sandwiched between its sheets of parchment to a baking tray and place in the fridge to chill for at least 20 – 30 minutes before cutting. Gingerbread men cutters are widely available online, or you can choose to make your own. To do this, draw the shape you want to trace and lay a sheet of parchment on top, carefully tracing around the ginger man shape. Remember that you can ice on much more detail than needs to be reflected in the shape of the biscuit. Carefully cut the templates out with scissors.

To use the dough efficiently cut the gingerbread men out as close together as possible. Lift each biscuit onto the parchment covered baking tray and make sure they are not too close together as the dough will spread a little on baking. Any trimmings can be re-rolled a couple of times. Evenly space the trays in the oven and cook for 14-18 minutes, depending on your oven. When the gingerbread men are evenly cooked and just beginning to turn a golden colour remove the trays from the oven and transfer the whole sheet of parchment to a cooling rack. Do this carefully as they will be quite fragile and hot! Cool totally before starting to ice.

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