How to make gingerbread

May 21, 2024
by HelloFresh Tips & tricks

    A festive favourite, gingerbread is delicious year-round, not just at Christmas. Whether you’re a beginner baker or enthusiast, gingerbread makes a great addition to your collection of recipes. It’s also a perfect way to spark kid’s interest in baking for the first time.

    Step-by-step guide to baking gingerbread

    To make basic gingerbread, you’ll need the following ingredients:

    • 75g light brown soft sugar
    • 2 tbsp golden syrup
    • 1 tbsp black treacle
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 100g butter
    • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 225g plain flour
    • Place the sugar, syrup, treacle and spices in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, together with 1 tbsp water.
    • Bring it to a boil, stirring continuously. Once the mixture boils, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter.
    • Leave the mixture to cool for 10 minutes, then sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
    • Mix well and leave the dough, covered, in the fridge for 30 minutes.
    • Remove from the fridge, roll it out to 3mm thick on a floured surface, then cut into the desired biscuit shapes.
    • Cook at 180°C for 10-15 minutes until the gingerbread is firm to the touch. Cool on a rack before decorating and serving.
    Helpful tip!
    Experiment with different spices if you prefer. A pinch of cloves can add a more complex flavour, while a dash of mixed spice will give your gingerbread a festive flair.

    How to make a gingerbread man

    To make gingerbread men, follow the standard gingerbread recipe. When it’s time to roll out your dough, roll it out to a thickness of 3mm and use a gingerbread man cutter to make the biscuit shapes.

    The real fun starts when the gingerbread men have been cooked and cooled down. Wait until they have completely cooled before decorating, otherwise your icing or other toppings could melt. The traditional way to decorate gingerbread men is by using royal icing piped through a thin nozzle. But get creative and decorate your gingerbread men as you like. It’s also a fun way to get the kids involved.

    Helpful tip!
    Don’t throw away the scraps when cutting out the gingerbread men. Stick them together to make a ball of dough. Roll it out again, and you may be able to get some extra gingerbread men out of it.

    Making a gingerbread house

    A gingerbread house is a lot more complicated than a gingerbread man, so don’t be surprised if your first attempt doesn’t look like a fairytale cottage. There are two essential tips to make sure your gingerbread house stays upright. First of all, the dough should be an even thickness throughout, and second, you should use a template to cut the shapes evenly – rectangles, squares and triangles. Structural engineers don’t just freehand these things, and neither should you!

    Leave the shapes to cool down before you get to work. Royal icing makes the perfect concrete, but make sure you hold the pieces together firmly until the icing hardens — this will be a lot easier with another helping hand in the kitchen! Then you can decorate your house with all kinds of sweets, which can also be held in place with blobs of icing.

    Unlike gingerbread men, a gingerbread house requires some advanced preparation. So, carefully plan your templates and structure, to accomplish your dream gingerbread house.

    Tips for making the perfect gingerbread

    • Always chill the dough for half an hour before cutting it out. This gives it enough time to firm up, meaning it will hold its shape.
    • Royal icing is naturally white. Add a few drops of food colouring for some vibrant variations.
    • You can freeze your tightly wrapped dough for up to a month. It’s a great idea to make a large batch and freeze it in small portions for days when you’d like to do some quick baking without the mess!

    FAQs

    What is gingerbread made of?

    Gingerbread is a biscuit dough traditionally made from golden syrup, treacle, flour and butter. It uses ground ginger for flavour, along with other spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

    What are the key ingredients for gingerbread?

    Ensure you use plain flour instead of self-raising flour to prevent thhe gingerbread from turning out too fluffy. Most recipes call for dry ginger rather than fresh. It’s possible to make gingerbread with fresh ginger, but you’ll need to work out the right ratio, as dry ginger is more potent.

    What is the process of making a gingerbread man?

    It’s pretty simple to make a gingerbread man at home: first, make your dough. Then, roll it out and shape it using a gingerbread man cutter. Bake it, then leave it to cool before decorating it.

    How thick should you roll gingerbread dough?

    When making biscuits or gingerbread men, aim to roll out your dough to a thickness of 3mm. For gingerbread houses, increase the thickness slightly to enhance structural integrity — aiming for around 4 to 5mm.

    Can gingerbread dough be made in advance?

    Yes. You can store gingerbread dough in the freezer for up to a month. Leave it to defrost in the fridge before rolling it out.


    All food products vary. The instructions printed on the food packaging always supersedes those printed in this article and must always be followed.
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