Heat the sugar, golden syrup and butter
until melted. Mix the spices and flour in a
large bowl. Dissolve the bicarbonate of
soda in 1 tsp cold water. Make a well in
the centre of the dry ingredients, add the
melted sugar mix, egg and bicarbonate of
soda. Mix well. At this stage the mix will
be soft but will firm up on cooling.
Cover the surface of the biscuit mix
with cling film and leave to cool, then put
in the fridge for at least 1 hr to become
firm enough to roll out.
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured
surface and knead briefly. (At this stage
the dough can be put into a food bag
and kept in the fridge for up to a week.)
Cut the dough in half. Thinly roll out one
half on a lightly floured surface. Cut into
shapes with cutters, such as gifts, trees
and hearts, then transfer to baking sheets,
leaving a little room for them to spread.
If you plan to hang the biscuits up, make
a small hole in the top of each one using
a skewer. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake for 12-15 mins until they darken
slightly. If the holes you have made have
closed up, remake them while the
biscuits are warm and soft using a
skewer. Cool for a few mins on the
baking sheets, then transfer to a wire
rack to cool and harden up completely.
Break up the chocolate and melt in the
microwave on Medium for 1-2 mins, or
in a small heatproof bowl over simmering
water. Drizzle the chocolate over the
biscuits, or pipe on shapes or names,
then stick a few silver balls into the
chocolate. If hung up on the tree, the
biscuits will be edible for about a week,
but will last a lot longer as decorations.