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There’s no better way to welcome in the Christmas season than with a batch of fresh, homemade gingerbread men. But why limit your favourite sweet bake to the festive season? Whatever the day; whatever the month, it’s time to gather the family around the kitchen table with spoons at the ready, read the method below, and celebrate all that is great about these spiced, seasonal goodies.
In a large saucepan, heat together the water, black treacle, golden syrup, sugar, spices and orange zest, and then bring it all to the boil whilst stirring constantly. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the butter and bicarbonate of soda.
Gradually stir in the flour until you achieve a smooth dough; add more flour if you feel it needs it./p>
Cover the dough and leave it in a cool place for around 30 minutes to firm up the dough. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan or gas mark 4) and place sheets of greaseproof paper onto your baking sheets.
After 30 minutes, retrieve your dough, dust your work surface with flour, and turn the dough onto this surface, rolling it out to a 3mm thickness. Finally, cut out your shapes.
Arrange your gingerbread men onto the prepared baking sheets and bake them in the centre of your oven, one sheet at a time, for between 10 and 15 minutes – until the biscuits feel firm when lightly pressed.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly, before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Decorate your gingerbread men with icing and other edible decorations – you could dress them up in Santa outfits, turn them into celebrities, or make each member of the family!