Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Tale (and recipe) of The Gingerbread Man

"I've run away from a little old woman,
A little old man,
A barn full of threshers,
A field full of mowers,
A cow and a pig,
And I can run away from you, I can!"

From the classic fairytale, The Gingerbread Man

You know what? Thinking back now, I can't seem to get the point of this story. If you don't already know the ending; the Gingerbread Man eventually gets outrun by a fox and eaten as in this online version. I also recall a version from my childhood where the fox gets the Gingerbread Man to ride on his head to get across a river and along the way, the Gingerbread Man gets eaten.

So what is the moral of the story?
a) No matter how far you run or how many people you overtake you eventually get eaten?
b) Don't trust foxes?
c) It doesn't pay to be an overconfident, boastful, arrogant S.O.B.?
d) Don't bake food that can run away from you?

I draw my own conclusion:

When it comes to gingerbread men,
always eat the legs first.
That way they can't run away.

As usual, I digress. Let me give you the recipe.

For Diane ;)

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe


125g butter, cut into cubes
150g caster sugar
5 tablespoons double cream
3 tablespoons black treacle
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
finely grated zest of one medium sized orange
375g all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Place the first 8 ingredients into a saucepan. Melt over a very low heat, stirring occassionally until the sugar and butter has melted.
2. In a seperate bowl, mix the flours and baking soda. Add this to the mixture in the saucepan and stir until a soft dough is formed. Knead the dough gently with your hands till everything is well mixed. Divide dough into two balls, wrap in clingfilm, and chill for about an hour.
3. Preheat oven to 180C/fan 160C. Line baking trays with baking paper.
4. On a lightly floured surface, flatten out a ball of dough with a rolling pin till it's about 3mm thick. Cut into shapes, reroll and reuse any extra dough.
5. Bake the cookies well spaced apart for about 10-12 minutes. Leave cookies on tray for about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool and harden completely. Deccorate cookies however you like.

An alternative conclusion:

Maybe the Gingerbread Man ran away because he was lonely.
Nobody likes to be lonely.
So make sure your Gingerbread Man has lots of friends.
Which you can then share with yours.

Ah, I just love this season.
Hopefully I'm not starting to sound too preachy though.