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Gemmerkoekmannetjies (Gingerbread Persons)

South Africans know them as gingerbread men, but in New Zealand these delightful ginger persons tend to be genderless. Helping you to bake and decorate them is guaranteed to keep your kids busy for a long time.



  • 1/2 cup golden syrup or honey
  • 125 gram butter (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons milk (approximately - add milk according to need)
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) ground ginger or a mixture of cinnamon and mixed spices
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • A little bit of flour or corn flour, to add if the dough is too soft

Royal Icing

  • 1 egg whites
  • 1 cups sifted icing sugar
  • A few drops of lemon juice


  1. Whisk syrup, butter, milk and egg together. Add baking soda.
  2. Sift rest of dry ingredients and add with confectioners sugar to egg mixture. Mix into a stiff dough and chill in fridge.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  4. Roll the dough out on a flour sprinkled bench to a thickness of 2 to 3 mm. Cut forms out.
  5. Bake on greased cookie sheets for 10 to 15 minutes.


Decorate with M&M's.

You can use melted chocolate to stick M&M eyes and buttons onto your persons, but Royal icing is a superior "glue", and dries quite dry.

To make Royal icing:

  1. Beat egg whites in clean, large bowl until stiff.
  2. Gradually add sifted sugar and lemon juice.
  3. Beat until thickened.
  4. Pipe onto gingerbread persons.

A note on baking spices

All Spice Pimento, Jamaican pepper (wonderpeper): This berry has the spicy flavour of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.

South-African Mixed Spice is a blend of pimento, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Dutch Spices (For cake and speculaas) is a combination of cinnamon, cloves, cardomon, ginger, nutmeg, and white pepper

Lebkuchen, the traditional German Christmas biscuits from Nuremburg, is made from a spice mix consisting of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, cardamom, ginger and mace.