Halloween isn’t a night for us grown ups it’s more for little monsters, it’s okay to call them that on Halloween night anyway! As the party night approaches lots of us will be looking forward to having a get together with family and friends, dressing in all manner of costumes.
I’m sure many families are getting ready for Halloween celebrations and a bit or trick or treating. It’s something I missed out on as a child, the tradition hadn’t yet made its way over to the UK. I’m pretty sure my younger (and chunkier) self would have loved getting dressed up as a ghost or ghoul and coming home with lots of chocolate and sweets.
If you have little monsters then they will be getting in the mood for a spooky day of fun and possibly a bit of trick or treating themselves. Whether it’s for a party, when trick or treaters call or just for a treat at this time of year I like to bake up a batch of Halloween themed gingerbread cookies.
Last year I baked up a batch of spooky Halloween Gingerbread skeletons which I think look scarily good. You can find the recipe here. This year as we came around to Halloween again I thought I’d try taking it up a notch or two. You can make gingerbread skeletons by using a gingerbread man cookie cutter or give it a go making your own shapes.
Find an adult helper
One of my favorite childhood memories was baking cakes, cookies and biscuits with my nan. There’s something about baking which really bonds parent and child and it is a really fun way to introduce kids to cooking in general. This is a quick and easy recipe which you can make with a couple of little helpers in the kitchen.
Kids will love baking these gingerbread cookies and then have a lot of fun decorating them after. There are a few tricky bits, cutting out the paper templates with scissors and then the dough shapes with a knife so they’ll need your help with this bit but for a lot of this you can let them take the reins.
So if you’re a little ghost or ghoul here is my recipe for some fun gingerbread men. Make sure you have your grown up helper on hand and let’s get baking!
350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g/4½oz butter cut into small cubes
175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
1 free-range egg
4 tbsp golden syrup
1 pack of white ready to roll icing
Royal icing to decorate + royal icing
Food colours, orange and green work really well
Take all the ingredient out of the cupboard and fridge about 10 minutes before you’re going to bake.
Ask your grown up helper to preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
In a big mixing bowl sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon. Add the butter and work the butter in by hand till the mixture looks like a bowl of bread crumbs. Add in the soft sugar and work this in by hand too.
Your hands will get a bit sticky when you do this, so ask your helper for a cloth.
Beat the egg and golden syrup together. If you use an electric whisk you may need to ask your grown up helper to do this and mix it all together. Wrap it in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for 15 minutes
Whilst the dough is in the fridge it’s time to cut out your spooky templates. I chose 4 shapes, two ghosts shapes and a gravestone to go with them and a pumpkin. I drew these freehand and them cut them out, ask for help with that bit if you need to.
Roll the dough mixture out to a 0.5cm thick on a lightly floured surface. Using your templates, place them on the rolled out dough and cut them out with a knife. This bit’s a little tricky to again ask your grown up to help. Place them on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them as they will get bigger.
Ask the adult helper to pop the gingerbread men in the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Remove from the over and places on a wire rack to finish cooling.
When cooled it’s time to decorate. I rolled out some white ready to roll cake icing to about 5mm thick. I then popped the gingerbread ghosts and gravestones on and used them as a template to cut the icing to shape. You’ll need to press it on a little to keep it on.
You can decorate the pumpkin in the same way but using some orange food colouring mixed into the white icing to make this.
Make up some Royal icing and add your favourite food colouring. Now add a face to each ghost and write R.I.P on the gravestones.
Here are mine, I think they turned out pretty well!
Recipe, text and photos By Russell Bowes