250g Butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 Tbsp Ground Ginger
1/2 Tbsp Freshly Ground Cardamom
180g Caster Sugar
50g Molasses & 50g Syrup
500g Plain Flour
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1. Blend the butter and all the spices in a large bowl.
2. Heat the sugar, molasses, syrup and water until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool for 15 minutes and pour over the butter mixture.
3. Blend the flour and bicarbonate and the stir into the butter and sugar mixture. The dough is fairly loose but is now going to be refrigerated for roughly 8 hours, divide the mixture into 4 and wrap in clingfilm. This dough can be kept in the fridge for several days quite happily or indeed frozen for up to a month.
4. Set the oven 190°C. Take only a little of the dough from the fridge and lightly flour your surface and roll out the dough 2mm thick. Stamp out your shapes and put them on to several lined baking sheets. Retrieve the remaining dough, roll out again and keep cutting until it has all been used. Bake once you’ve filled a tray. Cook the biscuits for 5-7 minutes, they should start to feel hard around the edges as they cool and eventually become really hard – they need to have a nice ‘snap’.
If you are good at icing make a thick royal icing with royal icing sugar and water and get your piping bag out. You can pipe around the edges or pipe pretty festive designs. If you are not so dexterous, just make a thinner icing and flick the fork to and fro above the biscuits.
*If you are making Christmas decorations remember to make a hole for the ribbon or string to go through, (I also make the biscuits slightly thicker for tree decorations). You need to do this as soon as they come out of the oven, I used a very small piping nozzle.