Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Flavours Column: Spooky Gingerdead Men

In the spirit of Halloween I decided to get a little spooky recently and whip up some Gingerdead Men. Actually they are more of a Gingerdead Family, cat included. Which, given that just days after I made these cookies we lost a beloved cat member of the family, sits a little uncomfortably now. I wish it wasn't the case but alas, we can't turn back time. R.I.P. Milly-Moo. I hope your mischevious, stubborn, seriously cute and chunky cat spirit comes to visit us this Halloween. We'd offer you Whiska's Temptations as treats. And you would probably play a trick on us. Just like old times. 

Avoid the tricks on All Hallow's Eve and offer costumed kids these creepy cookies instead. They are so much more impressive than store-bought candy! 

Gingerdead Men 
Published in the Bay of Plenty Times, Weds 23rd Oct 2013

Halloween is on the horizon so this week I’m sharing a fun recipe for ‘Gingerdead’ Men. I picked up the Gingerdead Man cookie cutter when I was overseas but you can find a great selection of Halloween themed cutters at most kitchen stores. Bats, cats, pumpkins, witches, ghosts, your Halloween cookie dreams are covered! 

These cookies make perfect treats for the spooky little trick-or-treaters that come knocking on October 31st. I wish we embraced Halloween more in New Zealand. There’s no harm in acknowledging the ‘dark side’ a little and it encourages kids to use their imaginations. My nephew and niece in America have their costumes ready, as does my brother’s dog Tuesday who will be making her Halloween debut as Wonder Woman (or maybe Wonder Dog).

There are tonnes of ideas for Halloween treats online – Pinterest alone is enough to keep any creative Halloween crafter or baker happy. Be inspired, get spooky and have some fun. 

125g butter 
125g brown sugar 
75g white sugar 
½ cup golden syrup 
425g flour 
2 teaspoons ginger 
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon 
1 teaspoon allspice 
40ml milk 
1 teaspoon baking soda 

Melt butter, sugars and golden syrup in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and keep boiling for a few minutes, stirring as it bubbles away. Sift flour and spices together into a bowl. Pour the melted butter mix over the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Mix milk and baking soda together and stir into the dough. The dough will be warm so rest it, covered with cling-wrap, for 10mins in the fridge. Heat the oven to 170°C. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of baking paper until 4mm thick. Cut out shapes and bake for 10 minutes. Cool and decorate with royal icing.

Weekly Tip: Roll dough between two sheets of baking paper. This creates a non-stick surface making it both easier and less messy. After cutting your shapes peel away excess dough from around your cookies and bake on the paper as is.

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