- 300g plain flour
- 50g cocoa
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 120g butter, cubed
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 120g brown sugar
- 140g golden syrup
You will need
- baking parchment
- cookie cutters or cardboard to make templates
- a few plastic straws
- icing and sprinkles, to decorate
- string or ribbon for hanging
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put the flour, cocoa, ginger, butter and sugar in a processor, and whizz until you can’t see any lumps of butter. Dribble in the syrup and pulse to a smooth dough.
Take about a quarter of the dough at a time and roll out between 2 sheets of baking parchment to the thickness of a £1 coin. Peel away the top layer of parchment and use cookie cutters to make shapes – leaving about 2cm between each shape as they will spread as they cook. Peel away the dough trimmings and lift the parchment with the shapes onto a baking tray. Bake for 12-15 mins until firm. Remove from the oven and use a plastic straw to make a hole for hanging. Work quickly – if the biscuits cool and harden too much, the holes won’t be as neat – then pop the tray back in the oven for 1 min to re-warm.
Continue rolling and shaping all the remaining dough and trimmings while you bake a tray at a time, until all the dough is used up and you have at least 24 biscuits. Cool completely, then decorate and string up as you wish.
To make number bunting: Cut your biscuits into triangles using a template – ours was 7cm on each side. After baking, cut two hanging holes in the middle of one side. Use number cutters (or cut out with a small sharp knife like we did) to stamp out 1 to 24 from a sheet of ready-rolled icing. Make runny icing by mixing some sifted icing sugar with a dribble of water. Use small paintbrushes to paint the tops of the icing numbers with some runny icing before dunking in their favourite coloured sprinkles and edible glitters. Leave the numbers to dry for 10 mins, then use more runny icing painted on the bottom of the numbers to stick them to the biscuits.
To make sparkly snowflakes: Stamp your biscuits out using different snowflake cutters – cakescookiesandcraftsshop.co.uk have pretty ones. Decorate each biscuit differently by painting some with runny icing (see instructions above), then dunking into edible glitters and sprinkles – it’s easiest if you tip them onto a small, flat saucer first. Add more icing sugar to your runny icing to make a stiffer consistency, spoon into a piping bag and pipe on pretty details. You can pipe a number onto each with this icing too, if you want.
To make biscuit baubles: Make a stiff-ish icing using fondant icing sugar this time (this results in a shinier finish). Then thinly pipe around the outsides and holes of each biscuit. You’re making a ‘wall’ to hold in the other icing, so make sure you don’t leave any gaps. Leave to set for 30 mins until hard. Make more icing of a slightly runnier consistency. Pipe or spoon the icing onto the biscuits, ‘flooding’ the area inside your icing ‘walls’. Shake a little to evenly spread the runny icing, then immediately use the remaining stiffer icing to pipe on a number. These biscuits will need at least a day to harden before hanging. For step-by-step instructions on ‘flooding’ icing, see Edd Kimber’s Fancy iced biscuits (see 'goes well with')
Making a chocolate gingerbread advent calendar
However you decide to hang your Advent biscuits, remember you’ll be untying them every day. So if you go for a bunting style, you might want to hang them individually from a main string or ribbon. We've baked grown-up sized biscuits, but if you’re making for little ones, scale down the size, then one batch of dough should make enough for two or three children. If you haven’t got enough room to hang three Advent calendars, just make sure the biscuits are thoroughly dry, then hang each day’s treats off the same string.
Create a board for your chocolate gingerbread advent calendar
We painted a sheet of plywood with chalkboard paint (both from Homebase), then used white chalk to draw our Christmas tree, and hung our biscuits on it using drawing pins. If you put up your real tree early enough, you could hang them from there, or tie the biscuits on a long string and hang along a wall.
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Step 1Cut out a hole while still warm
While the gingerbread is still hot from the oven, press the end of a straw into each one to cut out a hole.
Step 2Snip off the end of the straw
Snip off the end of the straw with the piece of gingerbread inside, and continue with the other biscuits.