Our Christmas Food Tradition – Gingerbread Shapes

There are hundreds of different foodie Christmas traditions all around the world.  For example, here in Britain, we enjoy Christmas pudding, mince pies and turkey on Christmas Day. However other countries have quite different traditions, for example, in Denmark rice pudding is the traditional Christmas dessert!

As well as traditions by nationality traditions often differ by family too and like most families we have our own too.

Christmas for us means baking and the kids favourite thing to make is Gingerbread Men, although our Christmas twist is to make stars and Christmas trees and here is how we do it.


300g Butter
125g Caster Sugar
125g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
225g Golden Syrup or Treacle
725g Plain Flour
2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
3tsp Ground Ginger
1tsp Ground Cinnamon


Part One:

    1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter together with the sugars and golden syrup (or treacle)
    2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of sofa, ground ginger and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl
    3. Add the melted butter and sugar and mix
    4. Knead the mixture for a few seconds until it comes together, adding a teaspoon or so of water if necessary. (Don’t allow the mixture to become too wet – it should bond and hold nicely together without crumbling)


  1. Flatten the dough slightly into a round about 2cm thick, wrap with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Have a break and go and enjoy a cuppa whilst it chills.  Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) / Gas Mark 4 and Line two Baking Trays with greaseproof or parchment paper.

Part Two:

  1. Remove the dough from the fridge
  2. Dust the work surface with flour and roll all of the dough out to about 5mm thick
  3. Cut out your preferred shapes using cutters and transfer onto the baking trays
  4. Cook in the oven for 12 minutes, until they are slightly firm, a little darker at the edges and slightly drier on top.
  5. Allow the shapes to firm up for a few minutes whilst still on the baking tray and then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool

Sift the Icing sugar into a bowl and add the water. It is up to you how you decorate.  As ours are for Christmas we chose to use Dr Oetker Writing Icing so the children could decorate their own gingerbread shape themselves with minimal mess, however if you want to make your own you will need:


175g Icing Sugar
1-2 Tbsp Boiling Water

  1. Beat until the icing comes together, adding a little more icing sugar if necessary (be careful not to make it too runny)
  2. Using a small palette knife or the back of a spoon dipped into boiling water (to make it easier to spread), spread the icing over the gingerbread shape

Whilst the icing is still unset on the biscuits, decorate with silver balls, smarties or whatever decorations you are using and set aside for the icing to set!


Our shapes were Christmas trees but the kids designed lots of different pictures including Rudolph, Santa and even a ghost. They may not be picture perfect, but they are delicious!!

Inspirational Christmas recipes will be added to Waitrose.com over the Christmas period – what is your Christmas speciality?

13 thoughts on “Our Christmas Food Tradition – Gingerbread Shapes”

  1. We made some last night, they are very tasty and make the house smell so Christmassy! I am sure with such a great army of helping elves, they get done in no time in your house!xx


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