At Christmas time you can’t beat munching delicious gender-neutral biscuit gingerbread people. I just love the fragrant Christmassy warmth that ginger brings to biscuit dough. I might be a bit odd in this respect, but I don’t like my gingerbread to be really hard. There’s nothing worse than hurting your gums on a piece of overly-hard biscuit, so I much prefer a gentle, crumblier, but still robust biscuit texture. This is achieved by using custard powder in the mix, which also adds a vanilla flavour to the gingerbread people.
Gingerbread men date back centuries, to the extent that Elizabeth I served them to her guests way back in the 16th century, and their appeal has never waned. I like the fact that they’ve become synonymous with Christmas now though and I never fail to smile when I see them for sale.
However, they’re actually really easy to make yourself, requiring little more than mixing a biscuit dough, baking it and decorating the gingerbread people with whatever sweeties you fancy. I think they’re particularly great to bake with children because kids never fail to love making their own version of how they think the gingerbread people should look.
These gingerbread people are gluten-free and dairy-free and they’re delicious. They have just the right amount of ginger in them and their texture is not too hard, but delightfully crisp. I chose to decorate mine with dark chocolate because I’m a chocolate fiend, but you can just use icing sugar if you’d prefer, and you can top them with whatever sweeties you think will work best. They’re just the perfect little people for biting the heads off.
200g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F flour because it’s made with low FODMAP ingredients whereas many other gluten-free flours are made with high FODMAP options.)
100g custard powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
70g brown sugar
30g golden syrup
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp of dried ginger
140g coconut oil (or butter)
1-2 tbsps water
100g dark chocolate or icing
Sweeties, such as gum drops or Smarties (I used Skittles)
Have a gingerbread person cutter at hand and keep to one side.
Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6 and put greaseproof paper on a baking tray.
Melt your coconut oil and then simply put all of your ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix it all together.
Add as much water as is necessary to bring the mixture together into a dough and chill in the fridge for an hour.
Once the dough is cold, roll it out between two sheets of greaseproof paper until it is around half a centimetre thick.
Cut out your gingerbread people and place them on the baking tray.
Bake in the oven for 12-14 mins and then leave them to cool on the baking tray until they are completely cold.
Once they’re cold decorate them with piped melted chocolate (disposable piping bags are really useful) or icing and sweeties.