175 grams butter
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup golden syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons each ground cinnamon and ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 large egg, size 7
3½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
purchased royal icing
gel food colouring
Put the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup, salt and the spices in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved then take off the heat.
Tip into a large bowl and cool. Beat in the egg.
Combine the flour, baking powder and soda together.
Stir into the butter mixture to make a thick, smooth dough.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces and pat each piece into a thick rectangle. Wrap well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or longer. The dough will be sticky and hard to roll if not thoroughly chilled.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Grease flat baking trays and line with baking paper.
Working with one piece of chilled dough at a time, dust both sides with flour and roll out between 2 large pieces of baking paper to ½ cm thick. Remove the top sheet of paper and stamp out shapes, cutting them close together.
Remove the excess dough from around each shape and carefully transfer to the baking trays, leaving a little space between each one. If the dough is soft, place the tray in the fridge until firm otherwise they will lose their shape when baked.
Bake for about 12 minutes until a good golden colour, turning the tray for even browning. Leave for 5 minutes then carefully lift off and place on a cooling rack.
Repeat with remaining dough. Form all the scraps into a rectangle then chill before rolling and cutting out more cookies.
To decorate: I have used purchased packets of royal icing which just require you to add the exact amount of water to get it to the perfect consistency. For 40 cookies, I used 3 bags of royal icing.
Cook’s note: Use your own recipe for royal icing if you wish. When tinting the icing, always use a gel, not a liquid. A liquid will thin down the icing too much and it won’t set properly. Start with just a pinhead of colour – especially for the paler, pastel colours – and mix well before adding more. Follow the packet instructions for icing the biscuits.