Gingerbread Husbands

The tradition goes that on All Hallow’s Eve (31st October) young girls would make a “gingerbread husband”. Once the mixture was rolled out the girls would cut out figures in the image of the man they would like to marry. Seems to me that if your art skills weren’t up to much you could end up with someone looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. This magical biscuit would be presented to the man of their dreams. If the unsuspecting chap ate it before midnight he would be married before he knew it.

Ingredients - Makes approx. 18, depending on the size of your ideal husband

1lb (450g) plain flour 1 dessertspoon ground ginger
½ dessertspoon cinnamon 4 tablespoons black treacle
8oz (225g) soft brown sugar 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Pinch salt 1 tablespoon milk
4oz (125g) butter A few currants to decorate


  1. Sift the flour, spices and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Warm butter, treacle and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the treacle melts, stirring continuously.
  3. Let this cool a little before stirring into the flour mixture.
  4. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in milk and add this to the mixture to make a pastry like dough (you may need to use a little more milk).
  5. Chill in the fridge for about 40 minutes
  6. Meanwhile, make a cardboard pattern of your ideal husband (or use a gingerbread man cutter if you are not that fussed).
  7. Pre-set oven to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas Mark 3.
  8. Roll out the chilled dough and cut out your gingerbread husbands.
  9. Place your husbands on a greased baking tray and put currants on them for eyes , noses and buttons (mouths optional).
  10. Back for 15 minutes or until evenly brown.
  11. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight tin.

Actually my gingerbread husbands didn’t last long enough to either cool or store in a tin!


Ground ginger and cinnamon