Daughter N loves the story of the Gingerbread Man. I came across the book on holiday in Mallorca last year and because it brought back memories of my childhood in New Zealand I bought it without hesitation. That evening I read it to the children, not suspecting how different their responses to the story would be.
I'm sure many of you remember it well: the Gingerbread Man not only escapes his bakers but everyone else who pursues him with the sole intention of gobbling him up. Gingerbread Man is too fast for all of them: "Run, run, as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man." That is... until he meets sly and cunning Fox. Fox tricks the Gingerbread Man when he helps him cross a river and as a result is able to enjoy a good ginger-flavoured afternoon snack.
|Here's the little guy getting away from everyone|
|Oh, the horror... the horror|
That evening was one of tears and talking in the late evening Mallorca heat about the unfairness of it all: sweet, happy-go-lucky Gingerbread Man devoured by sly, mean Fox whilst celebrating his deeply desired freedom. And I realised with a heavy heart that when the time comes to really break the news that bad things happen to good people, I will have my work cut out for me.
And N? Well she was far more pragmatic about the whole thing: "Bye bye Gingerbread Man. Fox must be hungry, poor Fox, and the Gingerbread Man must taste delicious. Can you bake some soon, mama, so I can eat one too?"
Gingerbread Man certainly does taste delicious and there is nothing quite like the scent of ginger wafting through the house and into the garden on a sunny Sunday morning. Without further ado, here is the recipe, adapted from the one in Mary Berrry's Ultimate Cake Book. I use coconut and brown sugar instead of muscovado sugar; and maple syrup instead of golden syrup (cutting down on the refined stuff somewhat) and as always, spelt flour instead of wheat.
adapted from Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book by Mary Berry
350g spelt flour
1 heaped teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
100g coconut palm sugar
75g brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
4 tablespoons maple syrup
gingerbread man cutter
yields 17-20 biscuits, depending on your cutter
- preheat oven 190 degrees Celsius
- line a baking tray with baking paper
- put flour, bicarb and ginger into a large bowl; rub in the butter to form something that resembles bread crumbs
- stir in the sugars
- add egg and syrup
- knead mixture with a light hand until you form a smooth dough
- divide the dough into two halves
- take one half and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the gingerbread men and place them on a tray
- do the same with the second half of the dough
- you may need to bake in two batches, as I always do
- bake 10-12 mins