Friday, 12 December 2014


Apologies for the unforgivably crappy piping here - I was listening to Serial at the same time and so was distracted 

Gingerbread is the most terrific stuff. It is easy to make, easy to handle and then takes and keeps a good, clear shape when cut and baked. Not all doughs are like this. It explains why gingerbread is used to make the men, the houses and so forth - you can cut and re-roll without too much heartache.

Anyway if you have a big tub of excellent Christmas-shaped cookie cutters lurking about somewhere and fancy it, this is a really good dough to get creative with.

Alas, I do not have any novelty biscuit cutters, only 1 single rather lame star-shape, but I do so resent giving over space in my kitchen to something that is only going to be used once a year. The star-shape gets a good year-round work-out.

This quantity of dough makes easily enough for an entire class or a healthy contribution to a bake-sale, even if you cut out your shapes reasonably thick.

This recipe is from the much-maligned and misunderstood Celebrate by Pippa Middleton. The thing is that Pippa Middleton did not write this book. Of course she didn't! How could she have done? And whoever did write this book is a fucking good cook and deserves to be recognised as such.

So here we go:

130g butter
100g dark brown sugar
6 tbs of golden syrup
350g plain flour
1 tsp bicarb of soda
2 heaped tsp ground ginger
large pinch of mixed spices

1 Melt the butter, sugar and syrup together in a medium pan over a low-ish flame until melted, about 5-10 mins, then take off the heat.

2 Sieve together the plain flour, the bicarbonate of soda and the spices and then add the dry ingredients to the wet about a third at a time and mix together. This will look frighteningly sloppy for a dough, do not fret! It will become dough-like upon chilling.

3 Remove the dough to a bowl and then chill for 30 min.

4 Roll out using a bit of flour to help you along. Cut and bake at 170C for about 10 mins, but do a few tester biscuits first. Regular readers of this blog will know that my oven is a monster and burns the shit out of everything so even though the instruction was to bake for 12-15 mins, my biscuits only needed about 8 mins.

Go NUTS with the icing when cool and do a better job than I did.


  1. I happen to know who helped to write 'Celebrate' as she's an old friend - Anna Burges Lumsden who is defnitely the most incredible cook, often the brains behind many a 'celebrity' book...and she has a 3yo and 1 yo.
    love this post as jsut an insanely bad gingerbread house with my daughter this morning, it is, as you say, forgiving stuff.

  2. Although, if you use soft butter instead of melted, you can jam all the ingredients at once into a mixer and stand around for a few minutes while it does its stuff.

  3. Having just made shortcrust pastry for mince pies that ended up so think the children had to keep drinking water to swallow them, I'm only sorry I didn't read this *before* I made them. Will be doing this one instead next time.

  4. Totally agree re: Pippa book. I like the recipes.

    NB: Can I suggest you buy Kitty & Sam a set of plastic cutters for Christmas for them to keep in their Play Doh box? Then you can steal them to use just once a year. I find this a most satisfactory way of keeping too much crap out of my kitchen.

    Merry Christmas!

  5. Made these and they were GREAT! The whole house smelt so Christmassy afterwards, and they had just the right level of spice. My husband doesn't usually like ginger biscuits, but he gobbled these down!

    Also - mince pies - the BBC Good Food website has the easiest recipe, and it worked brilliantly (you don't even need cutters...!)

  6. Totally late to the party (as usual) but felt I had to say that *Pippa's* Blackberry butter is a fruity form of heroin.

    As for who wrote her book, I don't really care about such matters. Once you've accepted that your parents lied about Santa Claus, reality becomes an elastic concept.