Gingerbread People – Christmas Baking, part 1

The kids and I have made a start on this year’s Christmas cookies. I’m well impressed with myself since it’s not even December yet…

It’s a tradition in these parts of the world to spend December making (and eating, of course) Christmas cookies. All sorts and shapes. And obviously you dig out the recipes you won’t even contemplate during the rest of the year.

Our first lot was Gingerbread People. When I made them last year with Master Meike’s Kitchen for the first time, we decorated them (or “made them colourful”, as he put it) and some of them were recognisable as girls (they had a skirt or dress) or boys (dungarees or shirts). This year they’re just people… And last year we seemed to have a huge amount of them but this year I had two helpers concerned with quality control so it’s actually not that much.

I used the recipe for Gingerbread Kids in Williams-Sonoma’s Kids Baking (2003). The recipe can be found here. I’ve not changed it – apart from the obligatory one third less sugar.

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Mixing the dough is straightforward. Above you can see the spices that go in: cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger. The dough is supposed to be chilled for an hour. Ours went in overnight. It wasn’t quite planned like that but Miss Meike’s Kitchen toppled over with a glass in her hand. She cut herself on the shards (there was banana custard in the glass, she didn’t want to let go… but I seriously need to rethink my dessert presentation…) so there was lots of blood out of lots of wounds which required a trip to the doctor’s. And, would you believe it, after that I really wasn’t in the mood for baking anymore. It really didn’t do the dough or the resulting Gingerbread People any harm. We cut them out and baked them this morning.

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If you are wondering why some have a round whole in their heads: they will become decorations, probably for little presents like a jar of homemade jam. You get the idea.

And now for the fun bit, making the Gingerbread People colourful. Mix icing sugar with warm water until it’s easily spreadable with a spoon. (You know what I’m like with piping bags and the like! And now I was doing this with my kids! Easiest option…) We left some of the icing white, other portions were coloured yellow, blue, green and red. But in the process we also ended up with orange and a grey-purple. For decorations we had chocolate drops and sugar hearts.

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I was very pleased: Master did his all by himself whilst Miss started on the colouring and then requested help but did all the decorating herself. It was good fun.

Master Meike’s Kitchen left this puddle of icing on his bit of the table (and it became a lovely teal colour when mixed):

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Just to round things off: Miss Meike’s Kitchen is fine now and the cuts are healing nicely. Phew.

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