This very well-behaved dough can put up with quite a bit of punishment and is, therefore, ideal for children to play around with. Gingerbread men cutters are widely available but, if not, you can easily make a template out of stiff card and cut around it. For a children's party, instead of arranging currants along the bodies, leave them plain, then afterwards pipe on in icing the name of each child.
Makes about 20
This recipe is taken from Delia Smith's Book of Cakes.
3 oz (75 g) soft brown sugar, sieved
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 tablespoon black treacle
1 level teaspoon cinnamon
1 level teaspoon ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
finely grated rind ½ orange
3½ oz (95 g) butter or margarine
½ level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
about 8 oz (225 g) plain flour
about 2 oz (50 g) currants (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).
You will also need 2 lightly greased baking sheets measuring 16 x 12 inches (40 x 30cm)
Put the sugar, syrup, treacle, 1 tablespoon of water, spices and rind together in a large saucepan.
Then bring them to boiling point, stirring all the time. Now remove the pan from the heat and stir in the fat, cut into lumps, and the bicarbonate of soda.
Next stir in the flour gradually until you have a smooth manageable dough – add a little more flour, if you think it needs it.
Now leave the dough – covered – in a cool place to become firm, approximately 30 minutes. Now roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick and cut out the gingerbread men.
Currants can be pressed into the dough to simulate eyes, noses, mouths and buttons down their fronts. Arrange them on the lightly greased baking sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the biscuits feel firm when lightly pressed with a fingertip.
Leave the biscuits to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.