The Secret Life of Gingerbread Men

Gingerbread Man Recipe

Renewing an insurance policy is not the stuff one normally writes about in a food blog. Contrary people might enjoy the process but as an overall it is rather tedious. The funniest it gets, is when they ask you if there has been any changes at all?

-"Date of birth?
-"yes, yes, still the same?"
And the sempiternal:

-"What is your occupation... Ma'am?"
-"Well, luckily enough, same as last year: freelance writer" which is usually followed by....... a short silence, a clearing of throat and a "hmmm....sorry? would you mind tell me what your profession is?"

So at that stage, I usually patiently recapitulate the highlights of the past year, explaning what was written, for whom etc... etc..

However this year, the script changed:

-"I take you are still writing, I see here: art, culture, travel, food, May I put you on hold"

Ominous. After what seemed like 10 minutes, the voice came back and solemly said

-"Solange, after consulting with two of my supervisors, we have decided that your occupation is not in the high risk category........However, it is borderline and we will review, In the meantime you should take care."

What did the voice mean?

Visions of mad artists, runaway trains, hungry chefs armed with knifes invaded my thoughts, surely I was over-reacting. Nothing was threatening me and then the penny dropped, oh yes I was at risk........I had been obsessing.

Obsession is rather helpful when writing, it keeps the momentum going but lately I had been obsessed with gingerbread Men.

It started rather innocently, lunching in the park, I bought a gingerbread man, next thing I knew, I could not stop buying them but the worse is to come.

One day he mischievously said "I bought you, a Gingerbread Man....but this one has got only three buttons?"

"Oh yes" I replied, trying to look knowledgeable, not having the faintest "Thank you, very kind, I saw some with two buttons only"

-"ah, have you ever seen any with four"

-"duh! no, why?"

-"very rare, four buttons gingerbread men..... have a willy"

That was it, I knew, it was not possible of course. But since then, I can't pass a bakery or even worse, a child with gingerbread man without staring and make a mental note of how many button there is.

The voice was right, I am at risk and I should be insured heavily against an attack of gingerbread men.
Gingerbread Men Recipe
350g/12oz plain flour plus extra for rolling out
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon( optional) or
1 tsp vanilla powder or extract(optional)
16g unsalted butter
125g/4.5oz light soft brown sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup

To decorate
writing icing
cake decorations

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
In a saucepan, melt butter, slowly, add the sugar and the golden syrup, stir all the time.
Remove from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes add the vanilla extract or the cinnamon if using
In a bowl, sieve flour, bicarbonate, ginger, then mix with the lot with the content of the saucepan until you get a firm paste (food processor can be used)
Flour a worksurface, transfer the dough onto the surface and roll until you get a sheet 5mm thick
Using gingerbread man shapes cut as many men as possible, this recipe should make about 20
Place them onto the prepared baking trays
Cook for 10 minutes (biscuits cooking time is rather fast)
Cool before decorating
Can be stored in sealed containers for up to 2 weeks

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