Halloween is the perfect time to have some fun with baking and these gingerdead men are certainly fun. Made from a delicious spiced gingerbread dough and decorated to look like voodoo dolls complete with sweetie pins for stabbing them with, they are a great addition to a Halloween party spread and much enjoyment can be had torturing them with sweetie pins before eating them.
The decoration is fairly simple to do, the most awkward bit is the hair, which is made from liquorice and strawberry laces (or whatever flavour you prefer/can find). You have to punch holes in the dolls heads for the hair to be threaded through as soon as they come out of the oven, the best implement to use to do this is a straw as it cuts a clean hole.
And do make sure that the dolls are well baked, I had a few that could have done with a couple of minutes longer in the oven so were a little soft (still delicious) and ended up being scalped by the weight of their own hair....
The button eyes are made from white fondant icing, I used the wide end of a small piping nozzle to cut them out, and a marker pen cap to create an indentation on each. I used red writing icing and red sugar sprinkles to do the hearts, and the stitching detail is painted on using a fine artists brush and liquid black food colouring.
The sweetie "pins" are simply cocktail sticks with a small round sweet stuck on one end, I used skittles but found that the outer shell was too hard to pierce with the cocktail stick so I had to scrape some off with a knife in order to stab them, I don't recommend that you do this! Next time I will try to find some softer sweets...
I can't take the credit for the decorating idea for these - that goes to the incredibly talented Heather Baird of Sprinkle Bakes
(Please note: although I have provided a conversion from grams to US cup measurements I cannot guarantee the accuracy as I do not bake using cups, I thoroughly recommend investing in a digital metric scale, it is far more accurate.)
- 350g (3 cups) plain flour plus extra for rolling out
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 2tsp ground ginger
- 1tsp mixed spice
- 125g (½ cup + 1tsp) butter
- 175g (1 cup) light brown soft sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 4tbsp golden syrup
- large gingerbread man cutter
- liquorice laces
- strawberry laces
- white fondant icing
- red writing icing
- red sugar sprinkles
- liquid black food colouring (or gel mixed with a little water)
- sweets such as jelly beans/skittles
- fine paint brush
- plastic drinking straws (not the fat kind)
- a 1.5 cm round piping tip, marker lid or similar (for cutting out the button eyes)
- an 8mm marker lid or similar (for making the indentation on the eyes)
To make the gingerbread, sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and mixed spice into a large bowl, add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles sand, alternatively, do this in a food processor. Stir in the sugar then add the egg and golden syrup and mix until it comes together into a soft dough, knead lightly until smooth then shape into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 and line 3 baking trays with greaseproof paper. Roll out the dough to 0.5cm thick and cut out your gingerbread men, place on the trays leaving a gap between them, re-roll the scraps to cut out more men. Bake them one tray at a time, place the other trays in the fridge. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. As soon as the tray comes out of the oven, use a straw to pierce four holes in each gingerbread mans head (to thread the hair through), leave to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes then gently transfer them using a spatula or fish slice to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining trays.
Wait until the gingerbread men are completely cold before decorating. Cut the laces into pieces approximately 25 cm long, you will need five 25cm pieces per voodoo doll. Thread a lace through each of the holes in the dolls heads, there should be an even length on either side; gather the laces together and gently tie with another lace to make a topknot, don't pull the laces too hard or they will break. I tied one knot at the front then wrapped both ends of the lace around and tied another at the back.
To make the button eyes, roll out a small piece of fondant and use the wide end of the piping nozzle or the marker cap to cut out 1.5cm approx circles, you need one for each gingerbread man. Make an indentation in the centre of each with the smaller cap. Using the fine-tipped paintbrush and the black food colouring, paint an "X" inside each circle to represent thread. Leave to dry before affixing so that the X doesn't smudge.
While the buttons are drying, use the red writing icing to draw and fill in a heart shape on each doll, sprinkle some of the red sugar on each one. Once the buttons have dried, use a dot of writing icing to affix one to each doll's face, press gently to adhere.
Using the paintbrush and food colouring, draw a large “X” beside each button eye. Paint a 2.5cm horizontal line under the doll’s eyes for the mouth and make several vertical lines across it to represent stitches. Paint a long, slightly curved vertical line from the middle of the doll’s chest to the bottom of the biscuit where the legs meet, paint short horizontal lines across it for the stitches. Draw a line across each of the doll's hands and feet with stitches across it.
To make the sweetie pins, press one sweet onto the end of each toothpick. I used skittles but found that the shell was to hard to pierce with the toothpick so I had to scrape some off with a knife, I don't recommend this...find some softer sweets!
(Decorating idea originally from https://blog.etsy.com/en/2012/monster-doll-cookies/ )
I am sharing these with Foodie Fridays and Fiesta Friday