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Christmas spice biscuits

Makes about 40

360g plain flour

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

1tsp ground ginger

2tsp cinnamon

120g unsalted butter, softened

180g light Muscadavo sugar

1 egg (at room temperature) beaten

4tbsp golden syrup

For the icing

2 egg whites

300-400g icing sugar

¼-tsp red food colouring

Silver balls to decorate

Preheat the oven to 175C/gas mark 4. Sift the plain flour on to a sheet of greaseproof paper with the bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl with a wooden spoon for 4-5 minutes until fluffy. Slowly add the egg until well mixed then add the golden syrup. Fold in the flour mixture; mix to a smooth dough.

Dust a work surface with flour then dust your rolling pin with flour. Roll out the mixture to about 1cm thickness and cut out using a 4cm round cutter; keep putting the off-cuts back into a ball to re-roll so you get more biscuits out of it (sprinkle with water if it dries out).

Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes; while still soft, make a hole near the edge of the biscuits with a skewer to allow you to thread a ribbon through them; cool. Now make the icing: mix the egg whites with enough icing sugar to make a firm but pipe-able icing. Divide the mixture in two then stir in the red colour paste to achieve the desirable colour. Spoon the icing into two separate piping bags, and decorate the cooled biscuits with stars, hearts and any other patterns that take your fancy. Allow to dry before threading with ribbon and hanging on the tree.