Chocolate Gingerbread Men
4 cups plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup treacle (Handling tip: Spray cup with cooking oil spray before using to measure for easy pour)
450g icing sugar
3 large egg whites
1 drop lemon juice or vinegar
food colouring, if desired
# For the dough, sift the dry ingredients (except sugar) into a mixing bowl and stir or whisk well to combine.
# Beat the butter and sugar by machine and beat in the eggs, one at a time.
# Continue beating until the mixture is smooth, scraping down often.
# Beat in half the flour mixture, then stop and scrape down the bowl and beaters.
# Beat in the treacle, scrape again, and beat in the remaining flour mixture, just until combined.
# Divide the dough into several pieces and press each piece into a rectangle slightly more than 1/4″ thick between 2 sheets of plastic wrap (this step is important).
# Chill the dough for at least 1 hour or until firm.
# Can be left overnight or frozen at this point.
# Set racks in the middle and upper thirds of the oven.
# Preheat the oven to 350°F (175C).
# Roll the dough, one piece at a time, on a floured surface just to make the dough flat and even but not much thinner.
# The cookies should be 1/4 inch thick.
# Cut with floured cutters and arrange on the pans at an inch or two apart, to make room for expansion during baking.
# Repeat with remaining dough.
# Re-roll the scraps immediately or press together, chill and re-roll later.
# Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until firm when pressed with a fingertip.
# Cool the cookies on pans a minute or two, then transfer to racks.
# Meanwhile, for the icing, combine the icing sugar and egg whites in a mixing bowl and beat by machine until combined.
# Add the lemon juice or vinegar and continue beating till fluffy.
# Divide the icing into several small bowls and add the colouring.
# Keep plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the icing to prevent a crust from being formed.
If icing is too runny add a bit more Icing sugar.