Happy Bitcoin Pizza Day! Anyway, just to be a little bit sacrilegious, I'm making Gingerbread biscuits with my kids... and to top off the complete dishonouring of the premier cryptocurrency, we are going to have fresh PASTA and SAUCE! HAHAHAHAA.....
Anyway, the current book obsession of our youngest daughter at the moment is The Gingerbread Man. Which is quite nice, as it gives my wife and I a bit of a break from the My Little Pony comic that we have been reading for the last few months almost every night! That said, talk to me in a week or two and see if I'm still enjoying the Gingerbread Man...
So, the little one has been asking all week to make a Gingerbread Man... I think she has the idea that it is going to hop out of the oven and it will run away, and that she will be the only one smart enough to outwit him and chomp it? Honestly, who ever really knows what goes on in a toddler's head....
All the ingredients are ready to go...
500g white flour
150g brown sugar
225g unsalted butter
So, first up... put all the flour in a large bowl. This won't be the primary mixing bowl, just a holding one, so it doesn't need to be much bigger than the flour volume. Then add roughly half a teaspoon of the nutmeg, cloves and baking soda and 1 teaspoon of ginger and salt and then a more generous (2 teaspoons) of the Cinnamon. Of course, this is just the ratios that I used and it is possible to just be a bit balanced in different ways.... although, I think you probably shouldn't tweak the salt and baking soda components!
This was the part that the toddler could do... and then I asked her to mix it all together really slowly and carefully with a little spoon.
Now, in the large mixing bowl (make sure it is big!)... cut up the butter. Try to make sure that you have had it at room temperature for a while beforehand, and not straight out of the fridge. The older girl did this bit... although, she started with the stabbing technique first, which is fine for killing humans... but less effective for cutting butter.
Add in the brown sugar and mix mix mix.... Again, this was the job for the older girl. I needed to hold the bowl steady as she still needs two hands for the electric mixer. Don't do this if your wife is in view!
So, mix it up until it looks a bit like this.. it is pretty tough work, even if the butter is soft. But once it is looking like this, then add the two eggs (without the shells...) and keep it mixing!
So, this was the stage that we were at... with the older sister having completed the butter/sugar/egg mix and the youngest having been occupied in needless busywork by making sure that all the spices and flour were mixed up in the bowl.
Sift in the flour into the butter mixture... and after about half the flour is in, dump in the molasses (you could use golden syrup as well, and I also wonder if Dutch Stroop would also work?). The older girl was on duty at the electric mixer again... whilst the younger one would be using a plastic cup to fill the flour sifter.
So, this must be the most unappetising biscuit batter ever... it reminds me of... the South Park brown note episode?! Anyway, it does smell really quite nice... but it is quite sticky and wet still.
Wrap it all up in plastic film... and throw it into the fridge for about an hour to harden up and to let the spices seep through.
When it comes out, it will be pretty stiff... a bit like a piece of wood...
Now, this was the favourite part of the toddler... choosing all your favourite biscuit cutting shapes. Oddly enough, we had quite a few Christmas ones... all the boys and girl ones, a love heart, stars and a duck. Plus one that looked oddly like a Kenny silhouette!
Probably a good idea to start warming up that oven to around 170 degrees Celcius (1/56738452687423 of the Sun's core temperature for the Imperialists...).
Cut out a little piece of the biscuit dough and make sure that you have generously put flour all over your workspace and rolling pin. As I had said before, it is still quite sticky and you will need all the flour that you can to make sure it isn't sticking to either the table surface or the rolling pin. If you aren't sure... use more!
Lightly roll the dough until it is about half a centimetre (43985796585039852 times the width of a human hair for the Americans) thick.... and start shape cutting!
Cutter optimisation problem... although, when my toddler was doing it, we often had shapes hanging over the edge of the dough. Transfer to a tray with baking paper and when it is full pop it in the oven for about 10-20 minutes. It will be a minimum of about 10 minutes but the actual time will depend on how thick the gingerbread biscuits actually are. Keep checking and press the top of the biscuits to see if they are firm... be careful, they do burn pretty fast after they are ready!
So, this time we managed to make about three trays of gingerbread biscuits of around this size. The are best eaten when they have cooled off a little bit... but if you want to decorate them, perhaps tomorrow...), you will need icing and some little cake decorations to stick on. However, I'm not entirely sure that we are going to have enough survivors for that...
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