Nothing brings greater joy than celebrating Christmas, baking and writing. And so this Christmas, I combine the holy trinity for happiness into an edible poem borne of a pastiche of my childhood Christmas memories – Twas the Night before Christmas, The Nutcracker and Gingerbread.
Gingerbread Men of Joy – An Edible Poem
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
all the creatures were hungry, even the mouse
I was cooking, baking, chopping and washing
the kitchen a disaster, calles for a galosh!
My family was nestled all snug in their beds
while visions of Ginger Bread baked in their heads
And mama in her kerchief demanding batter
she desired a man and I, a letter
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my stool to see what was the matter
Away to the window I flew like a flash
tore open the shutters and threw up the sash
The moon on breast of the dark pebbled porch
gave a lustre of midday to gnomies below
When, what to my wondering eyes did appear
but ginger bread Gigogne, mother ginger
With a look in her eye, so lively and quick
she said, “You want gingerbread? Well, here, take your pick.”
More rapid than eagles, her ingredients came
as she whistled and shouted and called them by name
Now, Carrot! Now, Ginger! Now, Buckwheat and Almond!
On, Ginger! On, Maple! On, Cloves and Cinnamon!
To the mixing bowls the wet and the dry
mix away, whisk away, christmas is nigh!
As flour before a baking storm fly
coat every surface like a white silk tie
So towards the mixing bowls the ingredients flew
sugar, oil and all spice too
And then in a twinkling, I smelled it quite plain
the wafting fragrance of ginger and cane
As I drew my head and was turning around
into the kitchen, she came with a bound
She was dressed like a fairy, from her head to her toes
with a crucifix adorning her clothes
Ten knobs of ginger, she had on her back
and the baking began when she opened her pack
Her ginger were so potent! Her cinnamon, how sweet
the adjunct included carrots and buckwheat
The flour was sprouted in the sun
then baked in the oven with the others till done
Excitement had me gnashing my teeth
as the sweet smell encircled my head like a wreath
Gingerbread was baked, in man and in word
The sugar caramelized, a sensual veneer
And then it beeped, the oven dimed
and just being done when midnight had chimed
A wink in her eye and a twist of her head
soon gave me to know, I’d be shortly in bed
She spoke not a word but kept on her work
and cooled all the gingerbread, then turned with a jerk
And laying a finger alongside her nose
she bleached (quite a burp!) before she arose
Clean-up was easy
with only a whistle
And away the mess flew
like down on the thistle
And I heard her exclaim
this’s the nights game
Merry Christmas to all
and a giggly New Year!
- ¾ cup almond meal
- ½ cup buckwheat flour, sifted
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground all spice (or nutmeg)
- Pinch of Himalayan sea salt
- ½ cup grated carrot
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
- 1-inch knob ginger, peeled and grated
- In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients except the buckwheat flour and mix well.
- In a small bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and whisk well. Then add in the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
- Sift in the buckwheat flour and mix in to the wet dough till well combined. This well take away a lot of the stickiness of the dough. Bring to a rough ball and cover with cling wrap or a snug plate and place in the fridge for half an hour to chill.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced. Remove the dough from the fridge. On a clean working surface place a big piece of baking paper and dust with some flour. Place the dough over the paper and sprinkle a little more flour over the dough and a rolling pin to stop it from sticking. Roll the dough out to 3 to 4 mm thickness. Using your cookie cutter, cut out your gingerbread men. Carefully remove the gingerbread men from the paper and place on a lined baking tray. Once you have cut out all the men from the first batch of dough, bring the remaining dough to a ball and roll out again. Repeat cutting of gingerbread men. Do this until all your dough has been used up.
- Once your gingerbread men are all on the tray, place in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly browned. Allow the gingerbread men to cool for 10 minutes on the tray before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. The gingerbread men will harden up as they cool. If you would like to keep them soft, cover them with a tea towel as they cool as this helps retain some moisture.