For the decorations


  • STEP 1

    Melt the butter, sugar and syrup together in a pan over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and cool for a few minutes. Whisk together the flour, cocoa and ginger in a large bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together until you have a dough. Wrap and chill for 30 mins. Will keep frozen for up to three months.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and line two large baking sheets with baking parchment. To make the game board, roll half the dough into a 20 x 20cm square. Bake for 12 mins until the edges are firm and slightly darker in colour than the middle. Leave to cool slightly and firm up, then lift onto a wire rack to cool fully.

  • STEP 3

    Meanwhile, to make the playing pieces, roll the remaining dough out to a 3mm thickness. Use a 7cm round cutter and 7cm tree cutter to stamp out about 32 biscuits (16 of each shape). Arrange on the baking sheets and bake for 8 mins until slightly darker at the edges. Leave to cool.

  • STEP 4

    Mix the royal icing with 2 tbsp warm water until the icing is loose enough to pipe, but still thick enough to hold its shape. Add a little more water, a teaspoon at a time, if needed. Pipe lines over the large square biscuit to make a noughts and crosses board. Pipe drips of ‘cream’ onto the round biscuits to create Christmas puddings. Colour most of the remaining icing green, and use this to decorate the trees and pipe holly leaves onto the tops of the puddings. Colour any remaining icing red and pipe holly berries and baubles on the biscuits, or use sprinkles, if you like.

  • STEP 5

    Leave the icing to set completely, then pack into an airtight tin. Will keep for at least a week.

Goes well with


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