These pretty sugar and spice gingerbread men and heart-shaped cookies make a great Christmas treat. Make them into special but cost-effective gifts for your friends and family. They take an hour and 20 minutes to make and are a really fun bake to try with kids. Use any Christmas-themed cookie cutters if you don’t want to make them into gingerbread men and you can make them winter-themed instead!
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- 30g (1oz) unsalted butter
- 60g (2oz) light muscovado sugar
- 250g (8oz) self-raising flour
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2-4 tbsp juice
- 60g (2oz) ground almonds
- 1 large egg
- To decorate:
- 50g (5oz) icing sugar, sieved
- Silver balls
- Parchment paper and baking sheets
- 5cm (2in) biscuit cutters
- Small plain piping nozzle
- Paper piping bag
To make this cookie recipe, put the honey, butter and sugar into a small pan and stir over a low heat until the butter is melted.
Sieve the flour, ginger and cinnamon into a bowl. Add the lemon zest and ground almonds.
Pour the egg, melted mixture and lemon juice into the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together.
Knead the mixture on a lightly floured surface for a couple of mins, then wrap in cling film and pop in the freezer for 30 mins to firm up.
Set the oven to Gas Mark 4 or 180°C. Roll out the dough to a 5mm (¼in) thickness, on a parchment-lined surface, and stamp out the biscuit shapes. You should be able to get about 20. Push the tip of a tiny plain piping nozzle near the top edge of each biscuit, and lift out to make a hole.
Put the biscuits on to parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 mins until pale golden. Cool on a wire rack.
To decorate: Mix the icing sugar with 4 tsp hot water, to make a smooth icing. Spoon into a paper piping bag with the nozzle. Pipe icing on the biscuits and decorate with silver balls. Leave to set.
To give: Thread ribbon through holes in biscuits. Wrap in cellophane. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Kids’ baking set £8.99, Ikea (www.ikea.co.uk). Gingham tin, £3.49, Butlers (www.butlersinternational. de/home).