100g butter, softened
50g caster sugar
150g plain flour
1 medium egg white
125g icing sugar, sifted
Yellow, black, blue, brown, red and purple food colours
Tiny quantity ready to roll white icing, for eyes
YOU WILL NEED:
1 'gingerbread man' cutter
1 x 6cm round cutter
7,800 jars of wildfire
View an easy to print version
A very small biscuit that casts a very large shadow . . .
Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan assisted/325°F/Gas mark 3). Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon until creamy, like Shae’s soft, soft skin. Mix together the flour and cornflour and add it to the butter/sugar, encouraging it to blend in with the back of the spoon.
Turn the lumpy mix out onto a work surface or silicone sheet dusted with flour, and work the dough gently with your hands until it comes together (don’t overdo it or the dough will become oily and tough). Ask friends for help if necessary: Bronn, perhaps, if Jaime isn’t to hand. Wrap and chill for at least an hour.
Dust the work surface and a rolling pin well with flour and roll out the dough very gently, pushing it together with your hands as cracks form. Cut shapes with a gingerbread man cutter. Using a 6cm round cutter, cut and add large heads to the bodies by pressing gently together, using a little water to stick if necessary. (Bake the cut off heads to nibble separately.)
Place on the prepared tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until just beginning to brown around the edges. Allow to cool on a rack.
Prepare the royal icing by lightly whisking the egg white in a cup. Place the sifted icing sugar in a mixing bowl and add the egg white, little by little, beating between each addition with a wooden spoon until a piping consistency is achieved (you will probably not need all of the egg white).
Divide the icing into 3 cups and colour the different amounts black, yellow and purple. Place the black into a small piping bag with a plain nozzle and pipe the outline of jackets and trousers. Add a little water to the purple icing and spoon into the jacket shapes. Add a little water to the remaining black icing and spoon it into the trousers. Place the yellow icing in a bag with a plain nozzle and pipe on hair. Add a tiny amount of brown colour to the remaining yellow icing and add eyebrows. Paint on a scar with red colour. Add piped on black nostrils and mouth. Add tiny ready to roll icing eyes and paint on irises and pupils with the blue and black colours.
Don’t expect anyone to show gratitude for this diminutive delight. Often overlooked, if not outright despised, it takes a more subtle mind to appreciate its hidden depths.