Gingerbread Men and Reindeers

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Prep 25min (+ 2hr chilling, cooling and standing time)Bake 12-15minMakes about 35

Based on a deliciously spiced gingerbread, these fun biscuits are given their personalities through simple decorations... Make them into cheeky gingerbread men or turn them upside down and decorate them as cute, Christmas-themed reindeer.


  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 90g (½ cup, lightly packed) brown sugar
  • 160ml (⅔ cup) golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or essence
  • 375g (2½ cups) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda


  • 185g (1½ cups) pure icing sugar
  • 35ml (7 teaspoons) boiling water
  • Red food colouring   


  1. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, or until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup and vanilla and beat to combine. Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda. Add to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until just combined and a dough forms. Divide the dough into 2 portions. Shape each into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160ºC (140°C fan-forced). Line two large oven trays with baking paper.
  3. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out one portion of dough (leave the remaining portion in the fridge) on a lightly floured bench top to 4mm thick. Use an 8cm tall gingerbread man cutter to cut out shapes and then carefully transfer the shapes to the prepared oven trays using a palette knife, leaving a little room between each for spreading. Reroll any scraps to make more shapes. Discard any off cuts from the second rolling. 
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the biscuits are just starting to colour and are cooked through. Stand on the trays for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread dough portion.
  5. To make the Icing, sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Gradually add 30ml (6 teaspoons) of the boiling water and mix until smooth. The icing should be a piping consistency (see Baker’s Tips). If it is too thick stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon of boiling water and then test the consistency again. Spoon ¾ of the icing into a piping bag fitted with a 3mm nozzle (see Baker’s Tips) and set aside. Stir a couple of drops of red food colouring into the remaining icing to reach the desired colour. Spoon into a separate piping bag fitted with a 3mm nozzle.
  6. Use the icing to decorate the cooled biscuits to make men and/or reindeer as desired (using the photograph as a guide). Set aside for about 20 minutes or until the icing sets.

Baker's Tips

  • To test if the icing is the correct consistency for piping, drizzle a little on a plate and set aside for a few minutes. If it keeps its shape it is ready to use.
  • If you don’t have piping bags and nozzles you can spoon the icing into a resealable plastic bag, seal and then cut a small hole in one of the corners to pipe through.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Photography by Georgie Esdaile.