350g plain white flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
pinch ground cloves
pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
100g cold butter, cubed
145g light brown muscovado sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp black treacle
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
finely grated zest of half a small orange

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Spiced Gingerbread

SERVES: Makes 16

Eating gingerbread men always demands a certain sense of ceremony. I can never decide whether to devour the head first in cannibalistic glee or slowly nibble my way around their various gingery
limbs. I like my gingerbread packed with plenty of spice, the zing of orange zest and a double hit of ginger. Make these as men, women, animals or any shape your heart desires: the quantity of biscuits you’ll end up with will vary accordingly.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas mark 4. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.

Sift the flour, ground spices, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a medium bowl. Quickly rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (you can also do this in a food processor). Mix in the sugar.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, golden syrup, treacle, fresh ginger and orange zest. Pour into the flour mixture and mix to form a soft, smooth dough.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and immediately roll out to a thickness of about 3–4mm – slightly thicker if you prefer a softer biscuit, slightly thinner to make them really crisp. Cut out gingerbread men or any other shapes you like, re-rolling any scraps to make as many biscuits as possible. Carefully transfer to the prepared trays.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden and the smell of ginger fills the room. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes on the trays then transfer to a wire rack to cool  completely. The biscuits will crisp up as they cool.

The gingerbread will keep in an airtight container for 2–3 days.