These cute chaps are delicious and fun to make for fun, or with kids, over the holiday! They also make fab presents too. This gingerbread recipe is so delicious and lasts very well for several weeks if well wrapped. It is the same recipe I used for all my Fortnum and Mason and Harvey Nichols treats when I had my bakery! I’ve given substitutes for plant-based ingredients below if you want to make these vegan!
Stuff you’ll need:
Guide sticks/marzipan spacers (optional)
Round cookie cutter (I used an 8cm one)
Large flower shape cutter to fit cookie (or just cut the wobbly white drip by hand)
Small paint brush
Large baking sheet/s lined with parchment paper
Ingredients – this is a small batch, which will make 12-16 cookies (subject to your cutter size) double or triple as necessary!
80g honey (or agave if you prefer a plant based version)
30ml orange juice
100g molasses sugar
1 tbsp ground ginger
½ tbsp ground cinnamon
100g salted butter, diced (or vegan butter if you prefer plant based)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g plain flour
Extra honey or agave, for sticking
250g light brown fondant icing or sugar paste
100g white sugarpaste
50g black sugarpaste
4 tbsp stiff peak Royal icing for piping (I’ve used white, green, black and red for the small details. If you wish to do plant based Royal icing I have the recipe for this on my Youtube channel for the vegan holiday Carrots video, find it here;
A tiny amount of red or pink dust colouring for the cheeks (or red edible pen works too)
icing sugar, for rolling out
Mix the honey/agave, orange juice, sugar, spices and vanilla in a pan. Heat, stirring regularly, over a medium-low heat until all the sugar is dissolved and everything is combined – don’t let the mixture boil. Add the butter, and stir until melted and incorporated into the hot sugar mix.
Add the bicarb and whisk until fluffy and pale. Pour into a mixing bowl. Allow to cool slightly, then add the flour and beat on slow, or mix with a wooden spoon, until the mixture comes together and resembles an oily dough – it should be gloopy, pliable and runny, but will harden as it cools and sets.
Using a spatula, tip the dough onto two large pieces of cling film laid out in a cross, one on top of the other. Wrap up to seal, then chill in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight. The dough can be made ahead to this stage and frozen for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge overnight, then leave at room temperature for 1 hr before kneading until pliable.
Heat oven to 180/160C fan/gas 4 and line a couple of baking trays with baking parchment. Roll out the dough on a lightly-floured surface to a thickness of around ¾ cm. Using a round cutter with a diameter of 6-8cm, stamp out little rounds and transfer to the trays, leaving a 1cm gap between each one. Bake for 12-15 mins until darkened and firm. They will set harder as they cool. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Brush each cookie with a little honey/agave to aid sticking. Roll out the brown fondant icing with a little icing sugar to a thickness of 2mm. Use the same round cutter as before to punch out little brown circles, then stick them to the cookies.
Roll out the white sugarpaste and use a flowery cutter to make a round wobbly splat, roll this a little more to make the drips uneven or use your fingers to pull it a bit out of shape so the drips look random. Cut over this with the original round cutter so you have a topping for the hat. Add the white splat to the top of each cookie.
Dust where you want the cheeks to be.
Use a tiny round cutter or make small balls and flatten for the eyes, stick on the pudding just above the cheeks.
Pipe the little mouth or use edible black pen in between the eyes.
Add holly and berry to finish on the hat.