Gingerbread men

Gingerbread men

The 12 Days of Christmas
Mark Roper

Gingerbread men bring out the cannibal in everyone – nibbling away at feet, legs, hands and finally the head. Use your skills with the icing to pipe buttons, eyes, mouths, bikinis, skirts or whatever you like, giving each biscuit its own personality. Kids love to decorate gingerbread people, so let them do their own thing.


Quantity Ingredient
1/4 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125g unsalted butter, chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
currants and glacé cherries, to decorate


Quantity Ingredient
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons hot water


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line 2 baking trays. Combine the golden syrup, sugar and spices in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. When the sugar has dissolved, stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Remove from the heat as soon as the mixture bubbles.
  2. Mix the butter and the warm golden syrup mixture together in a large bowl. Stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. Add the egg and 1 cup of the flour to the bowl and mix well. Add the remaining flour and bring the dough together using hands. Knead gently on a lightly floured board, until the dough is soft and smooth. Halve the dough and wrap each portion in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll a portion of dough between 2 sheets of baking paper to 5 mm thick. Using gingerbread cutters, cut out 14 people shapes. Arrange on the baking trays. Re-knead the dough scraps and chill before rolling out again. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  5. To decorate the biscuits, press in currants for eyes and buttons, and a sliver of glacé cherry for a mouth. Bake for 10–15 minutes, until starting to colour and firm to the touch. Cool on racks before decorating further.
  6. To make the icing, beat the icing sugar and hot water together in a bowl until smooth. Using an icing pipe with a fine point (or make baking paper triangles into cones for piping), ice the biscuits.


  • If the dough is very soft and difficult to handle, place on a baking tray in the refrigerator until firm.

    Kids may not want to make the dough, or roll it out, but they have a lot of fun cutting out the men and making eyes, mouths and buttons for their new creations. Look for boy and girl shaped cutters for fun.
The 12 Days of Christmas
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