I have mentioned before my love of cooking and collecting recipes and I like to digress from shop talk. This recipe is my own and adapted from a recipe given to me by Mrs Audrey Hill of Tarlee South Australia about 10 years ago. This will be one of the best boiled fruit cakes you will ever taste,why wait for Christmas.
Use a 22 cm / 8 inch cake pan greased and lined three times with baking paper Bake in a 150c / 130c fan forced or 300 f Ingredients Make up 1kilo /35oz of mixed dried fruit -Chop coarsely. Just a note here! I used 200gm/7oz of each of these fruits,mixed dried fruit,sultanas,dates,apricots and glace cherries. You can use what ever you like. 250 gm/ 8oz Butter chopped. 275gm/ 9oz Firm packed brown sugar 1 cup Sherry,Brandy or Fruit juice 2 Tablespoons Golden Syrup 2 Tablespoons Apricot or Fig Jam 1 Tablespoon Mixed Spice Place all these ingredients into a large saucepan bring to boil, and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool. I heat my oven here. When cool add these ingredients First 2 teaspoons of Bi-carb soda.Stir well 4 eggs lightly beaten Pour into the batter your beaten eggs and stir well through 225 gm/8oz Plain flour Sifted 75 gm/ 3oz Self Raising Flour Sifted Add both these flours a bit at a time and stir well through. Pour batter into your prepared cake pan and gently tap pan to remove any air bubbles. Place in middle shelf of your pre-heated oven Cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours or when a skewer pierced into centre of cake comes out clean. You can brush the cake with a little more Sherry or Brandy if desired,cover with foil and let cool in the pan. Decorate now as desired. Some people like to cover with Marzipan and Royal Icing,just the white icing or almonds or cherries.
Finally I baked The Best Gingerbread Men, after three failures with previous gingerbread cookie dough mixes,this is the one that worked for me. You know what it’s like when you are baking for Christmas especially if the gingerbread Men like other Christmas cookies are going to be a Christmas Baking Gift. They need to be great to look at.
The Best Gingerbread Men
What makes the Best Gingerbread Men recipes, for me it is the Golden Syrup and the Ginger spice. If you have other sweet spices that you really like such as Allspice and Cinnamon add a teaspoon or so, I have always been known to ad lib with recipes.
Chilling Gingerbread Dough
Although not stated in the recipe you will work with your dough better if you chill it,but this is entirely up to you. You can chill overnight and then get a head start in the morning or place in the fridge 1-3 hours.This is because Gingerbread Cookie dough is quite sticky.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap,then flatten into a circle, smooth out and chill,when you remove the dough to cut out your shapes it is nice and easy to start rolling with the circle.
ROLLING THE GINGERBREAD DOUGH
Flour your work surface or board, your rolling pin and your hands and roll to about a 1/4 inch thick. Should you find the dough becomes a little sticky just sprinkle a little more flour.
You can freeze Gingerbread dough, I have a girlfriend who makes lots of Gingerbread houses and prepares mountains of dough about late October.
Recipe Gingerbread men Dough
350g (12 oz) Plain Flour
5 gm (level tsp ) Bicarbonate of soda
10 gm ( 2 level tsp) ground ginger
100g (4 oz) butter or block margarine
175g ( 6 oz) Raw Sugar
60 gm ( 4 level tbsp ) Golden Syrup
1 egg beaten
Raw sugar to decorate ( Tip: sprinkle an extra layer of sugar on top just before putting in oven to give them a little armour of crunchiness
Easy Gingerbread Method
Pre heat oven Gas mark 5 (190c or 375 F) Grease 3 baking sheets. Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger into bowl. Rub in fat until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in sugar. Beat syrup into egg and stir into bowl. Mix to a dough Take out bowl and knead until smooth. Divide it into two Roll out on floured surface to about 0.5cm (1/4 inch ) thickness Stamp out figures and place apart on baking sheets. Finally sprinkle with a little Raw sugar. Bake for 12 – 15 mins Cool slightly then transfer to a wire rack Makes 12 I did not use the Raw sugar, but brown firm packed in the recipe itself. If you find this dry keep handling and kneading,I rolled on baking paper too.