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Be inspired every day with Living North
Gingerbread People
November 2023
Reading time 1 Minute

Perfect for a fun family activity or as a festive gift, these candy cane holding gingerbread biscuits are a fabulous, festive treat

With step-by-step instructions you can easily bake and decorate your own biscuit people, no matter your level of kitchen experience!
  • 175g dark muscovado sugar
  • 85g golden syrup
  • 100g butter
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tbsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1 medium egg
  • You’ll need
  • Paper drinking straws
  • Two baking trays
  • A cooling rack
  • Tin foil
  • Parchment paper
  • A bowl and spoon

To make the candy canes, take equal amounts of red and white modelling paste – start with a small ball at a time (approximately 3cm diameter) as the icing dries out very quickly. Knead and warm each colour in your hands to make it soft and pliable. 

Roll each colour into a long thin sausage and then wrap the two colours around each other like a rope.

Lay the twist down on the surface and roll your flat hands over the twist to merge them together into one long sausage. Roll the sausage to the same thickness as a drinking straw. Cut lengths approximately 12cm long and bend the ends to form the candy canes.

Leave overnight on a flat surface to harden. Top Tip: Make the candy canes well in advance and when hardened, store them in an airtight container until you are ready to use them.

For the gingerbread, put the sugar, syrup and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and bubble for one or two minutes, stirring until well combined. Cool for 10 minutes.

Tip the flour into a large bowl, along with the spices and bicarbonate of soda. Add the cooled syrup mixture and the egg and stir together. 

Gently knead the mixture in the bowl until smooth. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and lightly flour your work surface. Roll out the dough approximately to the thickness of a £1 coin, and stamp out shapes with the gingerbread cutter.

Transfer the gingerbread shapes to the prepared tins ensuring they are well spaced out.

Take the paper straws and roll a strip of foil around them to cover. Cut each straw into three and lay them across each biscuit. Wrap one arm loosely over the straw.

Bake in the oven for 10–12 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through baking. 

When the gingerbread starts to brown on the edges, remove the trays from the oven onto a cooling rack. Gently rotate the straws underneath the gingerbread arms to loosen them slightly, but don’t remove them.

Leave the biscuits to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before transferring them onto a rack to cool completely. Remove the straws when the biscuits are cold. 

Decant three or four tablespoons of royal icing into a piping bag fitted with a small writing nozzle. Pipe eyes and buttons onto the gingerbread shapes and slide a candy cane into position under the arm. Fix in place with a little royal icing if needed. 

Your sweet treats are now ready to be enjoyed!


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