7th October 2012
I had the house to myself – boys had gone to rugby and my daughter had gone to London for the day to see the Teen Awards. I should really have done some cleaning and tidying up – but I’m sure the mess isn’t mine it’s the children’s, so thought I’d go in the kitchen to bake.
A bit of cheating this morning with my first bake – a white loaf – I cheated and used the bread machine so that I’d have time to bake other things. The second bake today was a banana loaf – yet again I have over ripe bananas sitting in the bowl. I refuse to throw them away so another banana loaf was made. I must admit the bananas were extremely ripe and didn’t take very much mashing at all.
With the banana loaf in the oven and the bread proving in the bread machine it was onto the I gingerbread. Having visited my local Lakeland store in the week I had purchased a gingerbread man and a gingerbread lady cutter there was no excuse.
I’m not sure whether it is politically correct nowadays to call these Gingerbread Men and as I had a gingerbread lady cutter, I decided they would be Gingerbread People!
The oven was already on, although I noticed it had to be at a slightly higher temperature than it was set at, but looking at the timing, it looked as though the banana loaf would be out of the oven 5 minutes before I had finished making the gingerbread people. Fingers crossed!
Three baking trays were lightly greased and put to one side.
Into my mixing bowl I carefully weighed the flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda. After giving these a gentle stir to mix them together some cubed butter was added and this was rubbed in until it resembled breadcrumbs.
The light muscavado sugar was then added and stirred through and finally 4tbsp of golden syrup, together with a lightly beaten egg was added. I started mixing this with a wooden spoon, but soon gave up and resorted to using my hands to combine it all together. This was turned out onto a lightly floured board and kneaded very gently for a minute.
The mixture then had to be divided into two, the only reason I could think for doing this was to make it easier to roll out as you didn’t actually have to do anything different with each half. My super-dooper rolling pin was taken out of the cupboard as Mary specifically says to roll the dough out until 5mm thick. However my super-dooper rolling pin had wheels on the side for 6mm, so it looked as though my gingerbread would be slightly thicker – but hey, I thought what’s 1mm between gingerbread people!!
With the dough rolled out I carefully cut out my gingerbread men and ladies. In all I managed to cut out 12 little figures – Mary did say it would make 18, but my gingerbread cutters were slightly larger than the ones she used in her recipe and also my dough was slightly thicker, well ok only 1mm!! Mary does state at this point in her recipe to put currants onto the dough for eyes and buttons etc. However, I had different ideas for my gingerbread people. I had quite a few remnants of icing left over from some cakes I had recently made, so instead I had decided to ice mine once baked.
With the gingerbread people put onto the tray it was a case of putting them into the oven. By this time I had removed the banana loaf and turned the temperature of the oven up fractionally. They were in the oven for just over 10 minutes by which time they had become slightly darker. Once removed from the oven they were left on the trays for a few minutes before moving onto the wire rack to cool completely.
It was after lunch and a quick dog walk (he’s still got a poorly paw, so is not allowed out for long) that I finally got round to the fun part. Husband was ensconced in front of the television watching a rugby match and my son was upstairs either doing his homework (probably not) or on his Xbox (the more likely of the two!), so I had the kitchen once again to myself.
The icing was taken out, I was a bit disappointed as I didn’t have quite the range of colours I thought I had and I’ve only just remembered whilst typing this up that I also had some icing pens that I bought a while back which I could have used as well – drat, I must sort my things out so I have everything in one place.
Anyway, it was difficult to decide who to do first – a boy or a girl. I decided in the end to make one for my daughter – she had laughed the other day when I had bought the cutters as they also came complete with a little tie, bow, lips, scarf, heart and sunglasses cutters. She had jokingly said I could make will.i.am, so that is what I decided to do first. But first of all I had to get a photo of him! Photo found, so it was a case of rolling out the yellow icing for his jacket. I used the cutters to get the correct shape, but had to roll them slightly afterwards as the gingerbread had spread slightly whilst baking. With the jacket done, it was on to the bow tie – a small piece of yellow and white mixed slightly together. The trousers were made with white icing and painted black. The face, well, I’m not to sure about that, everybody laughed and said it was good, but I think they were just being nice. However, my daughter was impressed, but apparently I got his hair wrong! I’m not too sure about his teeth either – a bit toooooo white!
I then decorated another gingerbread man – this time I said it looked like my son – he wasn’t too impressed said he had more hair than I had put on. I decorated two gingerbread ladies too , which my son thought was myself and my daughter! By now I had used all my bits of icing up, so the others were just decorated with the ‘runny’ icing pens you can buy in a pack from the supermarkets (not the ones I had forgotten about). These had shorts, skirts, dresses etc outlined onto them. I didn’t actually get to photograph these and they were eaten too quickly.
I had great fun making these and can definitely see myself baking them again – maybe next time I’ll be brave and make a gingerbread house or something more adventurous as they baked in the Great British Bake Off – watch this space…