Thursday, 12 December 2013

Christmas present idea - my gingerbread family

Fancy creating a homemade and personal Christmas present? I'd like to share a gift that I made last year. It was so simple, fun and I have it on good authority that the recipients loved them!

The Big Idea

So, my idea was to immortalise my family in the form of gingerbread people! Gingerbread is a traditional Christmas treat - I was inspired by lots of cute gingerbread men decorations, and of course, beautiful gingerbread houses. The brilliant thing about gingerbread, is that it makes a great gift because it keeps for days (if not weeks) stored in an air tight container. Which is handy, when you consider the amount of gluttony that goes on during Christmas week.

The Recipe

I used the recipe on the BBC Food website.

  • 350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g/4½oz butter
  • 175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup

  1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar
  2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  4. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them. 
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake  
In addition to this, I bought a selection of things to decorate my gingerbread people - a pack of different coloured icing pens was really useful, along with some little decorations to stick on.

Let your imagination run wild!

Making an artistic representation of a loved one is always slightly risky (now is not the time to suggest they might need to lose a little weight, or to highlight their thinning hair!!), but it's easy if you just get their hair and colour right, then pick up on one other characteristic unique to them.

Brown paper packages, tied up with string...

I didn't do this, but it would be so easy to buy some simple cellophane bags to pop your gingerbread family in, and tie them up with some pretty gingham ribbon.

The end result

Here's my family - have fun making yours!


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