Another weekend ahead, it's nice weather outside, and it's still lockdown!
But however frustrating it is being in the house at the moment, and every weekend is like every other day, you can always have fun in the kitchen.
And especially if you have kids, these gingerbread men are the ideal things to make and bake.
You don't have to follow the human form though - farmyard animals, dogs & cats, spaceships, cars & lorries, stars etc are all achievable with cookie cutters, imagination, and a certain amount of artistic flair of course.
Although looking at my gingerbread men, that obviously isn't necessary!
They are a blast to make and shape, even if you lose the odd limb along the way, and great fun to decorate.
INGREDIENTS - makes about 20-30 depending on your choice of homo sapiens, animals or inanimate objects.
440g plain flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125g cold butter, diced
220g light muscovado sugar
1 large egg
75g golden syrup (or syrup from a jar of stem ginger)
Mix together flour, bicarb, ginger, mixed spice, cinnamon & white pepper until blended.
Rub in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Mix in the sugar.
In a small bowl, stir the egg and syrup together until amalgamated. Try and use stem ginger syrup if you can, it gives a biscuit with a nice kick of ginger.
Add to the dry ingredients and mix together to a softish dough.
If the dough is dry and crumbly, add a little milk until it comes together.
Flatten a little to a rough oblong, cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge for an hour to rest.
Take out of the fridge and roll out to about 4mm thick.on a floured work surface.
Stamp or cut out as many shapes, people, animals etc as the dough will make.
Gather the scraps of dough together and re-roll to make more shapes. Continue until all the dough is used.
Put onto a baking paper covered tray or trays.
Bake in a 170℃/150℃ oven for 10 - 15 minutes until starting to crisp up.
Cool on a wire rack where they will crisp up further as they cool.
If you like your gingerbread biscuits a little chewy in the middle, bake for the shorter time. The longer time will give you a crisper result.
Mix icing sugar with a little water, or lemon or orange juice to a piping consistency for decoration, and be creative!