Mini Dairy Free Gingerbread Men


These adorable little gingerbread men make the perfect little sweet treat while out and about. Unlike the usual hard gingerbread men you commonly find in most stores, which aren't suitable before 12 months, this recipe produces a soft and chewy gingerbread with a gentle flavour that softens once chewed or in some cases sucked. My daughter excitedly demolished these at 9 months old, when she only had her two bottom teeth. They are so simple to make and are a great recipe if you want to get little ones involved in baking. Whether you choose a little gingerbread man cutter, hearts or stars, young children will take great delight in cutting them out from the dough. Left plain or decorated with dairy free chocolate chips or icing, these little gingerbread men are a joy to all.

The recipe below makes 15 medium or 25 small gingerbread men



Ingredients

350g Plain Flour
135g Dark Brown Soft sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 whisked medium egg
125g Stork Baking Block
1 teaspoon of baking powder
5 teaspoons of ground ginger
1 and a half teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 160 degrees Celsius if using a fan oven. Line two baking trays with baking paper and put aside for later.
2. Start by placing the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger in a large mixing bowl and stir them together. 
3. Then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles crumbs. Sometimes it helps to soften the butter first by zapping it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds.
4. Carefully mix in the sugar, syrup and whisked egg. Stirring well after each addition until the mixture begins to form a ball of dough. If you find your dough is too dry and not sticking together, add an extra knob of butter and knead well. Repeat until the dough forms a ball. If the dough feels sticky, it is too wet and more flour will need to be kneaded in. 
5. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and pop it in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes. This is not a necessary step but I find it makes the dough easier to roll and cut. It also gives you a chance to tidy up your kitchen and clear a surface which you can lightly flour ready for rolling the dough.
6. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface until it is approximately 5mm thick. Then using your chosen shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many shapes as you can from the dough. Gathering and rerolling until all the dough has gone.
7. Place the cut out gingerbread across two lined baking trays and place on two shelves in the oven. Cook for around 12-18 minutes depending on the size of the gingerbread shapes. You will know when the gingerbread is ready as it will be golden and you will see the edges begin to change colour slightly.
8. Remove from the oven and transfer the gingerbread men carefully from the baking tray, placing them on a wire rack to cool. Please note that the gingerbread will harden once cooled.

Once cooled, you can either enjoy them as they are or decorate with icing. Dairy free chocolate chips can also be added for buttons prior to them going in the oven.


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