The Gingerman

Look at what I bought the other day…



gingerbread man cutter

I was shopping for cookie cutters for my niece but I couldn’t resist this little guy and had to get him for myself. Truth is, I’ve never actually had a “proper” gingerbread man cutter. My childhood gingerbread men usually involved a (perfectly functional) homemade template of stiff cardboard. However, I felt that the time had come for some grown up gingerbread men in my life.

But what recipe to use?

I had quite specific notions about what I was looking for in a gingerbread man – that being a texture that would be a little cake-like, dry but not crisp and with a good ginger bite. I had scanned the various recipes that had come my way of late but, in the end, I decided to go it alone, combining ideas from a few different sources. It’s not radically different from other gingerbread recipes but it achieved the bite I was looking for by way of some fresh ginger and cayenne pepper and the texture was spot-on.

That alone would have been pretty good, but there’s more.

I was eating one of my gingery men and was…

  1. thinking that pieces of this would work very nicely as a dessert with some vanilla ice-cream
  2. trying to describe the texture to myself

when it came to me that what I had created was not unlike a kimberley biscuit (that’s biscuit in the Irish sense, meaning cookie, not the scone-like things called biscuits in the States). Kimberleys are one of the classic trinity of Irish biscuits (the others being Mikado and Coconut Creams) and consist of a sandwich of 2 cakey ginger biscuits with a sugary mallow filling.

I did seek some second opinions on the kimberley comparison and KD’s verdict was that my ginger men were not as moist as kimberleys and had a sharper ginger kick, which I had to agree was a pretty accurate assessment. The important thing, however, insofar as there was any comparison to be made at all, was the inevitable conclusion regarding the addition of a coating of chocolate. In this I refer to the commonly-held opinion that, while kimberleys are pretty good on their own, whoever thought of bringing out chocolate-covered kimberleys was really onto something…

So, by that rationale, I could certainly pimp my ginger guys with a coating of chocolate or, even better, sandwich them kimberley-style with, say, a lemon ice filling before putting on their chocolate coats. At the very least, I could add some chocolate sauce to a dessert of vanilla ice-cream and gingerbread and be on to a winner. These men had endless possibilities!

  Print It

Spud’s Own Gingerbread Men

gingerbread men

The Dry Ingredients:
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • 0.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of salt
The Not-So-Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 tblsp fresh root ginger, grated
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 50g black strap molasses or treacle
  • 90g unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1 egg
The Steps:
  • Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and flour 2 large baking sheets
  • Sift the flour along with the other dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
  • In another bowl, cream the butter or margarine and sugar using a wooden spoon or mixer.
  • Add the molasses and combine well.
  • Beat the egg lightly and then beat it into the sugar mixture.
  • Stir in the grated ginger.
  • Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the mixture. When fully incorporated, you should have a soft dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll to a thickness of about 0.25in.
  • Cut the gingerbread men (or other shapes) using a floured pastry cutter.
  • Carefully transfer the men to the prepared baking sheets (for this I used a palette knife).
  • If you like, you can decorate with raisins or nuts for eyes etc. or wait until afterwards and ice them or give them that coat of chocolate.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes. They’ll puff up a little and crack slightly, but they shouldn’t spread and should be faintly springy to the touch.
  • Remove to a wire rack to cool.
The Results:
  • Makes about 25 x 4in tall gingerbread men
Comments
  • i love that there is real ginger here. i bet they are perfectly spicy and with a lemon filling? oh my!

  • I just realized you are in Dublin…I was there about twelve years ago for three weeks. One of those trips to connect with my heritage…three generations ago… I rented a car and drove down and around to Gallway and across back to Dublin then on to Cavin (sp?) for a few days with some quick friends I made! Learn to drink my whiskey well…

    We must be on a similar wave length…I bought cookie cutters as well, and will try my hand at cookies or some wild thought up use for them…maybe ornaments LOL

  • Cayenne!!! Good idea to pump up that spice level. We should try something like that next time. :)

  • kickpleat: I definitely think the lemon ice filling will have to be done…

    Chef E: Sounds like you enjoyed your trip here! And I have no doubt that you will find some interesting use for your cookie cutters :)

    Duo Dishes: I think the cayenne and ginger worked a treat, just the bite I was looking for!

  • [...] Vote The Gingerman [...]

  • I love the addition of cayenne pepper. I can just imagine the extra kick it gives the ginger on your tongue & in the back of your throat. I may have to try that out in my next batch of ginger cookies – yum!

  • Wish to try this recipe. These gingerbread man look so nice :)

  • Valley Writer: I have since discovered that the addition of cayenne to gingerbread is an innovation of long standing. In Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management (which dates from 1859!) one of her recipes for gingerbread states that “…a great authority in culinary matters suggests the addition of a little cayenne pepper in gingerbread” – and a very worthy suggestion it is…

    Snooky Doodle: do try!

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