Christmas Gingerbread Men
If you ask me, Christmas is never complete without gingerbread. Everything about gingerbread men is so festive – The warm spices. The rich sticky molasses. Their little smiles. And the fun of decorating them!
I make these gingerbread men every Christmas, and they have never failed me. Really simple to bake and a fun one for kids to get involved in. Gingerbread biscuits can also make really cute homemade gifts, or edible Christmas decorations tied with some string (if you can resist eating them for that long). Of course, you can make any shapes and sizes, depending on your cookie cutters.
Instead of using sugar, to make these treats healthier and more macro-friendly, I use a natural brown sugar alternative called Sukrin gold. It contains the sweetness and flavour of brown sugar, without the calories, and 97% less carbs. However, I feel that every ‘true’ gingerbread recipe needs to contain molasses. Molasses is a rich, thick, dark syrup that gives the gingerbread a deeper almost-caramel flavour, aswell as its darker colour.
Please note that the dough is initially a little sticky once it’s all mixed together, mainly due to the rich sticky molasses. Therefore the dough MUST be chilled first, or it will be too sticky to handle and cut into your gingerbread shapes. An hour or two in the fridge is enough.
Once baked, you can decorate your little heart out. We’re talking smiles, eyes, bow-ties, buttons, squiggles, whatever your gingerbread loving heart desires. This is when it’s really fun to have a friend or little baker in the kitchen with you.
I also use a sugar-free alternative for the icing, using Sukrin icing, but you can use your favourite royal icing if you prefer. If you really want to get arsty, you can add a couple drops of food colouring to your icing mix too!
(makes approx. 20 biscuits)
- 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature (or sub. coconut oil)
- 150g Sukrin gold (or brown sugar)
- 2 heaped Tbsps molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g plain flour (use gluten-free if required)
- 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
- 2 tsps ground cinnamon
- 2-3 tsps ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- pinch of salt
- Sukrin icing (or icing sugar)
- a few Tbsps of water or milk
- optional: a few drops of red/green food colouring
- In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter for 1 minute until creamy. Add the Sukrin gold (or brown sugar) and molasses and beat together until completely smooth and combined.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue to beat until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves together until combined. Add a pinch of salt.
- Gradually add the flour mixture into the bowl, mixing continuously to ensure it is fully incorporated. The mixed dough will be quite thick and slightly sticky.
- Leave the dough to chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours (or more if needed). This will help it get firmer and make it easier to handle and cut into shapes.
- Once the dough is chilled, pre-heat the oven to 170°C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Time to get messy! Generously flour a work surface, as well as your hands and the rolling pin. Don’t be afraid of the extra flour – this dough can be sticky. Roll out the dough until even and approx. 1/4-inch thick.
- Using cookie cutters of your choice, cut shapes out of the dough. Place them about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Re-roll the dough scraps and repeat until you have used up all of the dough. (I got 22 biscuits, but this will depend on the size of your cookie cutters).
- Bake for 15 minutes. Leave and allow to cool down completely before handling or decorating.
- Once cooled, prepare your icing by mixing Sukrin icing (or icing sugar) with 1-2 Tbsps of water or milk. Get creative and decorate to your hearts desire!
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