Gingerbread Tree

gingerbread treeRecipe courtesy of Easy Living

This is based on a classic gingerbread recipe.  Cut a tree shape from a thick sheet of paper to use as a template.  As gingerbread softens slightly with storage, make this the day before serving.

Serves:  6    Preparation Time:  30 mins, plus time to cool and decorate     Cook Time: 30 mins
Cals per serving:  745     Fat:  18.9g

Ingredients:  125g (4oz) unsalted butter; 4 tbsp golden syrup; 175g (6oz) brown sugar; 350g (11oz) plain flour; 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda; 2 tsp ground ginger; ½ tsp mixed spice; pinch of salt; 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten; 2 egg whites; 1 tsp lemon juice; 350g (11oz) icing sugar, sifted

Step One:  Place the butter, golden syrup and brown sugar in a small saucepan over low heat.  Cook, stirring, until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Step Two:  Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.  Pour in the egg and melted butter mixture and mix well.

Step Three:  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.  Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Step Four:  Heat the oven to 180oC (Gas Mark 4).  Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Step Five:  Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 5mm (¼ in).  Using a template, cut out two full tree shapes.  Keep one whole and cut the other in half lengthways.

Step Six:  Bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown.  Cool on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Step Seven:  To decorate, make icing by beating the egg whites with electric beaters until foamy.  Gradually add 1 tsp of lemon juice and the sifted icing sugar, beating until the mixture is thick and smooth.  Spoon into a piping bag, attach a fine nozzle and pipe decorate shapes on to the gingerbread trees.  Use the icing to stick the whole tree to the base of a plate and then to attach the two half trees, using the icing like glue; you may need to hold them in place with a small object such as a glass while the icing dries.  Dust with icing sugar to serve.


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