Gingerbread men for any season

I reject the idea that certain foods are fit for certain times of year. I know some folks give up on stews, curries and roasts just because it's hot. Well I love a curry when the weather is good, but that's just me. The more heat the better, whether from the sun or little red chillis. And a cup of steaming hot tea on the beach? Bliss. Though it does out me as British quicker than my 5 Minutes In The Sun Lobster Skin. 

So gingerbread men are traditionally made at Christmas time. Well not in this house. In case you're bored of your regular recipe then try this one. It's fiery, but not so much it puts the kids off. More's the shame. 

This recipe makes a biscuit tin full. 

- 150g butter
- 100g dark soft brown sugar
- 45g golden syrup
- 360g plain white flour
- 5g bicarbonate of soda
- 20g ground ginger
- 5g ground cinnamon
- a pinch of very finely ground black pepper
- 50g icing sugar or a white icing tube thingy
- sweeties and silver balls to decorate

Oh so easy. I like to weigh my ingredients in the pan to save on washing up. So pan onto the scales, adjust to zero then add the butter, sugar and golden syrup and put on a medium heat until dissolved. Don't boil the hell out of it! It will mean some of the liquid evaporates and you'll have a much less easy to roll dough. And of course the dough will also be super hot and scald little hands that might want to help. At this point pop the oven onto Gas 6 and locate a couple of baking trays. 

Once the mixture is molten add the flour, bicarb, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper. Then mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture is all combined and has formed a blob of dough. Roll out onto a smooth work surface. I don't use flour on the work surface or the rolling pin but do a quick roll of a small blob to check your work surface is similarly non stick. Then cut away! I roll my dough to about the thickness of a pound coin but it's really all about how thick you like your men (!) 

Move your little men, or whatever other shape you fancied making, onto baking sheets - I don't use greaseproof paper to line the trays but if you're nervous about your trays then it'll do no harm. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes depending on your oven, until browning at the edges. Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes and then move to a wire rack. When cool make your icing up. Put a tablespoon of boiling water into a bowl and add the icing sugar until you get a thick consistency. Then either pipe onto the men, or spoon on, or use one of those marvellous little white icing tube pens you get from the supermarket. Add sweets of your choice. 

Try to let the icing set before you eat them as picking it off is deeply satisfying. 

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