This is a variation of the Gingerbread Men & Women Recipe and the idea to stack was from Pinterest, but adapted like many recipes out there.
2 cups plain / all-purpose flour
1/4 cup self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (125g) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses (you can use golden syrup as a substitute)
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 egg, lightly beaten
Icing: Wilton Royal Icing
4 cups icing sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
5 tablespoons warm water
Hundreds & thousands (that’s what those tiny tiny sprinkles are called!)
Decorative ribbon, 5mm (1/4″) thickness
Plastic gift bags , see through kind
- Place flours, ginger & baking soda into a plastic bag. Give it a good shake to mix well.
- Place butter, sugar & molasses in mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed till the mixture is light or well beat up.
- Add egg and beat till mixture is light & fluffy.
- If your mixer has a STIR speed, use it at this stage. Add flour mixture at intervals to the wet mix till it comes together. You might want to use a spatula to scrap the bottom of the bowl every now and again. Stop well it becomes an even coloured (more or less) dough. Refrigerate till easy to handle, about 30 minutes.
- If your mixer does not have the STIR speed. Remove the mixing bowl and slowly add in the flours. Folding method is easier in the beginning until the rest of the flours are added in. You can then use either the spatula or your clean hands to mix the dough together. Refrigerate till easy to handle, about 30 minutes.
Tip: Pack the dough into 2 or 3 portions in plastic bags, close the end to prevent the dough from drying out. Use 1 bag or portion at a time.
Cutting the Squares :
- Preheat oven to 180ºC (375ºF).
- Sprinkle flour on a cutting board. Roll the dough to about 5mm (1/4″) thick and cut out with a floured cookie mould.
I prefer rolling the dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper or baking paper to prevent it from sticking to the board and it is easier to transfer to the baking sheet.
- Transfer the cut-out cookie to a baking sheet that has been lined with baking paper or parchment sheet or a silicone baking mat.
- Re-roll the scraps and cut out more men. Put the dough back in the fridge when it gets too soft to handle or add the scraps to the next portion of dough.
- Bake the cookies for about 10 – 12 minutes or when lightly browned. If you are baking both sheets at the same time, rotate the sheets at the halfway mark of the baking time, i.e. 5 minutes. In other words, Top shelf goes to bottom shelf and vice versa. Turn left to right, the baking sheet as this will help to ensure that the baking is even unless you are using convection baking.
- Transfer to a cooling rack or wire racks. The cookies must be completely cool not warm before you start icing them.
- While the cookies are cooling on the racks, time to prepare the icing. This recipe uses the mixer, so please make sure that you have washed your mixing bowl and it is grease free. Tip – wipe the mixing bowl with white vinegar helps to remove any remaining grease.
- Beat icing sugar, water & meringue powder on medium speed until soft peaks form. This will take a few minutes, maybe 5 minutes.
- Press cling wrap on top of the icing and cover with a dish towel. DO NOT REFRIGERATE. If you do, it will harden.
- When you are ready to ice the cookies, remember the cookies must be cool to the touch.
- Stack 4 cookies of a similar size on top on each other. You can then see which ones are closer in size & makes a good stack, aesthetically.
- Starting with a stack of 4. Unstack the cookies.
- Spread some icing on top of a cookie or the base. Stack the next cookie on top. This helps to ‘jam’ them together so they don’t free fall or wobble when you tie the ribbon.
- Repeat until the last cookie (No.4) is on top. Spread another layer of icing on top and sprinkle with the hundreds & thousands. You will need to lightly press them down so they will stick in the icing.
- Repeat with all the other stacks that you’ve made.
- When the icing is dry, tie the ribbon around the stack, cut off at a suitable length. It is recommended that you cut more lengths of ribbon from this template for the rest of the stacks as it will save you time to re-measure & cut.
- Place each stack into a see-through gift bag like the one below.