Helena’s Foolproof Gingerbread

Helena’s Foolproof Gingerbread

by Helena Close

I moved to the west coast of Ireland last year and after the novelty wore off I found myself with a very severe case of Cabin Fever – just cliffs and sea and bog outside my door and a constant whining wind! I thought I was living in an Enya video but baking proved my saviour. I am a writer (or so they tell me) and I bake like I write – sporadically and furiously. So there could be a month of wonderful cakes and buns and then nada for three months!

This is a recipe I stole from my good friend Monica. It is foolproof and delicious – the best gingerbread ever! For a crispier bread roll the dough a little more thinly. Dust with icing sugar when cookies or men are ready (are men ever ready?). It will keep in an airtight tin for days and actually tastes better the older it is!


  • 190g brown sugar
  • 150g golden syrup
  • 150g butter
  • 5ml each, ground ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves
  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 5ml bic. soda
  • 5ml cold water


1. Set oven to 180c (maybe a bit lower depending on your oven)
2. Put sugar, syrup, spices and butter into a saucepan and stir gently over a low heat until the butter has melted
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
4. Beat egg with a fok.
5. Disolve the soda with water in a cup.
6. Sieve flour
7. Once the sugar/syrup mixture is cool, add in all other ingredients.
8. Mix well and turn onto a lightly floured board – kneat lightly and shape as desired.

Bake for about 10 – 15 mins depending on the size of the pieces.

Helena Close is an amazing writer and a bad influence. She wrote ‘Pinhead Duffy’ and ‘The Cut of Love’, and taught Little Fire how to swear! Her new novel – The Clever One – is out in 2010.


One response to “Helena’s Foolproof Gingerbread

  1. Helena, you never tokd me about your baking! Going to sample some the next time I visit you in Liscannor:)

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