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How to Bake and Decorate Gingerbread Men

Updated on January 26, 2013
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The Most Important Ingredient is ........Your Child!

The single and most important factor when you are baking and decorating gingerbread men is that you do it with a child. This I can state as an absolute truth because it is something I have done with my children and their friends going back a quarter of a century. This year I am going to be baking Christmas gingerbread men once again and, unless they come out of the oven like burnt offerings, in fact even if they come out of the oven as burnt offerings, you will get to see the result. Don’t expect anything fancy when you follow my instructions for decorating gingerbread men―if you do you will be disappointed. What you should expect are gingerbread men, sometimes huge, often twisted in shape, usually plump and almost always smiling and waving. Oh, one more thing, you should also expect them to taste delicious!


Obviously Homemade!--Not a Work of Art but Great Fun

Weird and Wonderful Shapes but they Taste Amazing
Weird and Wonderful Shapes but they Taste Amazing | Source

Preparation Prior to Baking

Preparation can be done either the night before or immediately before mixing. All you need is a copy of that much loved children’s story The Gingerbread Man and your child of choice.Follow these simple steps:

· Snuggle up to your child;

· Open the book or begin with the words “Once upon a time, long, long, ago” and progress from there.

· Continue until the end of the story.

· Either turn off the light, or get up to go through to the kitchen with your little helper.

If you need to refresh your memory, I've written my own, very simple version. If you are just interested in the recipe scoot on down the page. Learn more facts about ginger and gingerbread.


The Story of The Gingerbread Man

Once upon a time there was a little old man and a little old woman. One day the little old woman decided to make a gingerbread man. When he was made she gave him raisins for his eyes, nose and mouth. She even gave him little raisin buttons, then she put him in the oven to bake.

But when she opened the oven door the little gingerbread man jumped off the tray, out of the oven and ran into the street.

“Stop, stop!" Shouted the little old woman.

“Stop, stop!" Shouted the little old man, and they ran after the gingerbread man.

“Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man.” Called back the gingerbread man and ran away.

He ran on and on with the little old man and the little old woman following him, and soon he ran past a cow.

“Stop, stop! I want to eat you." Shouted the cow, and began to run after the gingerbread man.

“Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man.” Called back the gingerbread man and ran away.

He ran on and on with the little old man, the little old woman, and the cow following him, and soon he ran past a horse.

“Stop, stop! I want to eat you." Shouted the horse, and began to run after the gingerbread man.

“Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man.” Called back the gingerbread man and ran away.

He ran on and on with the little old man, the little old woman, the cow, and the horse following him, and soon he ran past a boy.

“Stop, stop! I want to eat you." Shouted the boy, and began to run after the gingerbread man.

“Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man.” Called back the gingerbread man and ran away.

He ran on and on with the little old man, the little old woman, the cow, the horse, and the boy following him. Soon he ran past a sly old fox. The sly old fox did not try to catch the gingerbread man. He ran beside him saying.

“Why are you running little gingerbread man?”

“I’m running to escape from the little old man, the little old woman, the cow, the horse, and the boy following me,” called the gingerbread man, “they want to eat me.”

“I’ll run with you,” said the fox.

Soon they came to a river and the gingerbread man stopped.

“How will I cross the river?” asked the gingerbread man.

“Jump on my tail. I will take you across,” said the sly old fox. The gingerbread man jumped onto the fox’s tail. With a splash, the fox jumped into the river. He began to swim across to the other side. After a little while he said.

“The river is getting deep, climb onto my back little gingerbread man or you will get wet.”

The gingerbread man climbed onto the fox’s back. The little old man, the little old woman, the cow, the horse and the boy stood on the riverbank and watched. Soon the fox said;

“The river is getting deeper, climb onto my back little gingerbread man or you will get wet.”

The gingerbread man climbed onto the fox’s back. The little old man, the little old woman, the cow, the horse and the boy stood on the riverbank and watched. Soon the fox said;

“The river is getting deeper, climb onto my nose little gingerbread man or you will get wet.”

The gingerbread man climbed onto the fox’s nose. The sly fox smiled as he swam. The little old man, the little old woman, the cow, the horse and the boy stood on the riverbank and watched. Suddenly the fox tossed the gingerbread man high into the air. He did a somersault and as he came down again the fox opened his mouth and swallowed him whole. The little old man, the little old woman, the cow, the horse and the boy turned and went home, and that was the end of the little gingerbread man.

A Cutter Makes Gingerbread Men more Uniform in Shape and Size
A Cutter Makes Gingerbread Men more Uniform in Shape and Size | Source

Utensils

As well as all the usual paraphernalia it is a good idea to have something in which to envelop your assistant so that he or she can enjoy getting sticky, floury, greasy and messy without you having to worry about clothes. Children’s aprons are available but plastic ones are not a good idea in the kitchen. Your own apron while looking comic might also be dangerous to a child kneeling or getting up and down. For me the solution is to simply cut off the sleeves of an old shirt or t shirt so that it becomes a cover-all for your assistant cook.

Other than that all you need is the usual array of mixing bowls, spatulas and spoons, but preferably in non-breakable plastic.


Our Family of Gingerbread

Handle with care--Little Hands easily Snap Off and Eat Arms and Legs!
Handle with care--Little Hands easily Snap Off and Eat Arms and Legs! | Source

Cook Time

Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: About 20 gingerbread men according to cutter size
Source

Ingredients

  • 12 oz plain flour
  • 8 oz castor sugar
  • approx. 4 tablespoons molasses
  • 6 oz butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • juice of one orange
  • 2-8 tablespoons (as desired) ginger spice
  • To Decorate -
  • icing sugar/ jelly beans
  • m & ms/choc chips/sparkles/ raisins

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to a moderate temperature. Melt the butter and stir or beat it into the flour using dough hooks.
  2. Add all the ingredients and mix to a stiff dough. Add more juice or milk if necessary to get a consistency suitable for rolling out or modeling by hand.
  3. Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Use a gingerbread-shaped cutter to press out the shapes. If you do not have a cutter simply shape the dough into weird and wonderful figures.
  4. If using raisins or chocolate chips place them for features and buttons as shown in the illustrations.
  5. Butter baking trays and place the gingerbread men on the trays. Put them in the oven for approximately 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven when they are a rich golden brown. Allow them to cool on the tray until solid.
  7. Mix a cup of icing sugar with a few teaspoons of water or juice. Place in piping syringe. Decorate as preferred. If you are using jelly beans etc. use the icing sugar as glue to stick the sweets to the gingerbread men.

Delicious, Spicy, Gingerbread Men are Always a Treat, but Especially at Christmas Time

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    • drosostalitsa profile image

      drosostalitsa 4 years ago from Greece

      Great hub! Voted up