Chocolate gingerbread Advent calendar
- Preparation and cooking time
- without decoration
- Makes a few more than 24 biscuits
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
- STEP 1
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.
- STEP 2
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.
- STEP 3
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.
- STEP 4
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.
- STEP 5
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.
- STEP 6
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')