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Warm the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan until the butter melts. Bubble for 2 mins to dissolve the sugar, stirring frequently to prevent it burning. Sieve the flour, bicarb and spices into a bowl, add the sugar and butter mix, and beat with a wooden spoon. Crack in the egg, and beat again until you get a soft dough. Wrap and chill for 1½-2 hrs, or until it firms up.
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Roll out the cooled dough on a lightly floured work surface to about 5mm thick and stamp out holly and star shapes (using 5cm cutters), rerolling any off-cuts. Bake in four batches for 6-7 mins, then leave to cool on the trays. If you don’t want to make them all now, freeze or chill up to three-quarters of the dough for another time. Dust with gold shimmer and gold leaf, if you like, and use to decorate our white forest Christmas tree traybake. Will keep for three weeks in an airtight container.