Updated: 7 days ago

Did you get the reference?

For those of you who know your films "A Man For All Seasons" is a 1966 film depicting the final years of Sir Thomas Moore, the 16th-century Lord Chancellor of England who refused to sign a letter asking The Pope to annul Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, and to accept him as the Head of The Church of England.

That's enough of that, it has absolutely nothing to do with this blogpost!

Now for the baking bit.

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Gingerbread biscuits are a favourite of many a child, and grown up child, as it's usually one of the first treats we are given from a local bakery. I know that the smell of Gingerbread is reminiscent of Christmas, but I think they should be enjoyed anytime. I want to take them from the every day to something special.

This time of year (it's currently October) lends itself ideally to producing the now popular Gingerbread Zombie Skeleton.

Gingerbread is made from plain flour, light brown sugar, butter, ground ginger and an egg. It's spicy and chewy and yummy.

Hints and Tips.

My gingerbread are a little lighter in colour than some but that's mainly because I don't add any other spices such as cinnamon or cloves. If you like the taste of those in your gingerbread, then by all means add a teaspoon.

It's best to make in a free standing mixer because the dough is a bit stiff and a mixer will make the dough in no time at all.

The dough must be chilled before rolling it out. Don't even attempt baking the dough if you haven't chilled it for at least an hour, preferably overnight. A well chilled dough will keep it's shape during baking.

The final baking time depends on how thick you rolled the dough and whether you like it on the softer side, or with a crunch. 1 minute either way can make all the difference to a biscuit.

If you would like some extra help then I have a How to Bake group over on Facebook that you can join and gain access to a number of videos including one for Gingerbread.

Decorating The Gingerbread

Go as minimal or blingy as you like at this stage.

You will need some Royal Icing for this.

If you haven't made royal icing or decorated biscuits before then I would go for the decorating icing kits that are readily available in supermarkets. There are some reasonable quality ones, although colours are limited. They will already be at the correct consistency for your needs.

If you have decorated biscuits before but don't want to make your own royal icing there are 2 options:

  1. Royal Icing Sugar. All you do is add water according to the instructions on the packet and whip up using a mixer or electric whisk. It can be quite stiff so you are better off using a free standing mixer.

  2. Ready Made Royal Icing. This is sold in all of the supermarkets and can be found in the baking aisle. It's very stiff but you can add water bit by bit, until you get the correct consistency. It is only sold in white so you will need to colour it yourself using gel colours, of which there are hundreds!

How to decorate biscuits is a whole other tutorial and soon you will be able to sign up to get your free copy.

You Will Need:

Coloured icing in tubes in White, Red & Black.

A pack of ready made eyes.

A bag of Piping Bags if the tubes don't already have a nozzle on the end.

Halloween sprinkles.

For safety purposes please make sure that children under 3 are fully supervised due to choking hazards from the eyes and sprinkles.

  1. Squeeze some of each coloured icing into individual piping bags.

  2. Place your undecorated gingerbread biscuits onto a clean, wipeable surface.

  3. Cut the end of each piping bag, about 3 mm from the tip.

  4. Pipe your design.

Here are a few suggestions for things you can pipe, depending on your skill level.

You aren't constrained by these suggestions, go with whatever suits your occasion or mood at the time. Kids prefer to go freestyle most of the time so let them play around.

If you do make some, show me your bakes and comment below.

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Welcome to another quickie.

You've got your kid's friends coming over for a play after school, they're going to be hungry and grouchy. You want to make them cookies but you remember that they take time, and kid's won't wait when they're hungry and tired. You have been at work but you've only got an hour before you have to go and pick them up from school.

This is the recipe for you.

10 minutes to prep, 25-30 minutes in the oven, cooled down by the time you get back, perfect.

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Every year, as the days get shorter, I feel the need to make an apple cake. I find that apples are best eaten wrapped in either pastry or cake!

I love Apple Pie, Apple Crumble, Apple Cake, Apple Auffins (probably in that order too!), so you can imagine my delight at discovering that you can have cake and crumble at the same time.

This wonderful cake is packed full of your favourite apples, cinnamon and topped with a crumble topping.

It's best when it's served warm with custard (my personal favourite), icecream or cream, or you can simply eat it as it is. Eat it cold the next day and it will be a great accompaniment to your afternoon cuppa.

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Before you start here are a few tips to making this cake.

The Apples. There's a lot of advice out there when it comes to which one to use. I use eating apples, although some will scoff at the idea. It's currently apple season in the UK so I would choose a Cox's apple as it's sharp but not too sharp (it's an eating apple after all), but you can use the variety you prefer.

Make the crumble ahead of time. Use room temperature butter as it's easier on your fingers when rubbing it into the flour. It's going into the fridge anyway. Store the crumble in the fridge in a ball. This is to allow the butter to firm up again. Then you can break it up into bigger clumps than you would do for a crumble. The idea is to have bigger pieces of crumble that have been allowed to go extra crispy on the top.

Peel & chop the apples. The joy of this cake is that you can have big chunks of apple, if that's what you are in the mood for, or slices of your favourite apple. If you like the peel left on, then do that - it can make a nice contrast in the cake. The easiest way to core the apples, without an apple corer, is to cut them into 4 and then cut around the core with a small knife. Watch your fingers though!

Why should I make this cake?

It's an apple lovers dream cake. Every bite is filled with chunks of cinnamon dusted apple.

It's cinnamon & brown sugar crumble is to die for! I love my crumble to be crispy and having big chunks of it on top of this cake is another level of bliss you have to experience for yourself.

Cake! This should probably be first for me, after all I am addicted to the stuff. I usually use baking margarine when I bake cakes but some of them just have to be made with butter - this is one of them. The use of light brown sugar adds a lovely caramel twist to the whole cake.

It's easy. When you read through the recipe for the first time you probably think it's a bit of a faff, but honestly, when you start it's not, it's just so easy.

Anyway, enough of all of that, let's get on with the recipe and the actual baking bit.

This recipe can be made in just 4 easy steps.

Make the Cinnamon Crumble topping. This part is simply rubbing butter into flour, sugar & cinnamon.

Prepare the apples. Peel, core and then cut the apple into the size of chunk you want. If you are leaving the peel on then just core and chop or slice. Toss the apples in cinnamon and a couple of tbsp of Demerara sugar, and leave to one side.

Make the batter. This can be done using the all-in-one method so it's super quick and easy. Either use an electric whisk or a free standing mixer.

Assemble and bake. This cake is made up of 5 layers - Cake:Apples:Cake:Apples:Crumble, baked in a deep 8" round cake tin.

Spread the base with half of the cake batter. Add half of the apple chunks or slices (try to distribute them evenly over the batter). Top with the rest of the cake batter. Add the remaining apples. Generously cover the whole thing with the crumble topping.


Store the cake in an airtight container for upto 1 week (if you can resist it for that long!)

The most important thing to get from this recipe is to just enjoy it.

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