Christmas baking: Shortbread & Gingerbread men

24 December 2010
by Phuoc

Woohoo!! Christmas is on it’s way. Are you excited? I am! Tonight will be spent at Ant’s grandparents’ place, where we have a traditional roast dinner and then wait up until midnight to open presents. The following day will involve a full day of feasting, feasting and more feasting. I can’t wait!

Continuing on with the festive baking, I decided to bake two things that first come to mind when I think of Christmas; shortbread and gingerbread men (of course there is fruit mince pie but I’m not a fan of them). Both of which are fairly easy to make but I decided to add a little twist to both.

Buttery, crumbly and sugary. I decided to take it one step further by making it chocolatey because we all know that chocolate makes everything better.

Instead of making regular gingerbread men, I decided to make mine without some of their limbs. I bought these cutters about 2 years ago and finally have been able to use them. For some reason I like the headless gingerbread man the most.  I was actually looking for a soft gingerbread recipe and thought this was it but it was slightly crunchy; although I did bake it for 15 minutes, so if you are after a soft gingerbread maybe try baking them for 12 minutes. The spices were subtle but feel free to adjust the amount of spices according to your taste. EDIT: Actually, I found them to be slightly soft the day after; so if you still want a soft cookie, bake them for 12 minutes.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas. Feast up and may your bellies grow full over the next few days.

Marblised shortbread

Adapted from

Makes 45

250g butter, softened

1 cup icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups plain flour, sifted

1/2 cup cornflour, sifted (I used rice flour)

1 tbs cocoa powder

1 egg white, lightly whisked

Caster sugar

  1. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until pale.
  2. Add flour and cornflour and mix to combine. Knead gently until smooth.
  3. Divide dough in half and place into another bowl.
  4. Add cocoa powder to one bowl and mix until well incorporated.
  5. Grab a handful of chocolate dough and regular dough and combine the two, squishing them together to create a marble effect, repeat for remaining dough.
  6. Once all the dough is “marblised”, roll the dough in between two sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 1cm.
  7. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  8. Cut 8x2cm strips of dough and place them onto the trays, about 2cm apart.
  9. Brush the cookies with egg white and sprinkle with caster sugar.
  10. Poke holes in the cookies with a fork.
  11. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm.
  12. Preheat oven to 160C (320F).
  13. Bake for 25 minutes or until light golden and firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely on trays.

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Gingerbread men

Adapted from Bill Granger Everyday

Makes about 40 cookies

Gingerbread dough

60g butter, melted

2/3 cup golden syrup (I used honey)

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Additional flour for kneading


1 egg white

1 cup icing sugar, sifted

Food colouring (if using)

Smarties, to decorate

For the cookies

  1. Mix the butter and golden syrup in a bowl until combined.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160C (320F).
  3. Sift flour, baking powder and spices together and then mix into the butter mixture.
  4. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and no longer sticky.
  5. Roll out dough to thickness of 5mm and cut into shapes. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. Bake in oven 12-15 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

For the icing

  1. Lightly hisk egg white in a bowl.
  2. Add icing sugar and mix until smooth. (If using food colouring, add now.)
  3. Pipe icing onto cooled cookies and decorate with Smarties.

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  1. kristy @ ksayerphotography

    Marblised shortbread sounds delicious and looks reaaally good! and your little gingerbread men are just too cute. Have a fantastic Christmas!

  2. Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul

    LOL! @ the headless gingerbread man! All the best Phuoc…enjoy your feasting!

  3. chocolatesuze

    HAHAHA i love the headless gingy the most too ♥

  4. Helen (grabyourfork)

    heh so cute, although i’d be miffed that i was missing out on gingerbread goodness! someone ate my head! lol

  5. mademoiselle délicieuse

    Hehe, I still haven’t made my gingerbread tree so may have to borrow your recipe…Merry Christmas!

  6. Jeff Ha

    Love the gingerbread men, very cute! I’ve received two sets of the ‘ninjabread’ men cutters this year, haha.

  7. billy@a table for two

    I love those bitten gingerbread men! your icing on them is perfect too! LOL MErry Xmas Phuoc, hope you are unbuckling the belt one bite at a time!

  8. Ellie (Almost Bourdain)

    Love the gingerbread men. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and your family, Phuoc!

  9. Jacq

    hehe I love your limbless and headless gingerbread men! hope you have an awesome christmas 🙂

  10. Sweet.Petite(LikeMe!).Treats

    Yes chocolate does make everything better & the limbness & headless gingerbread men is just brilliant!

    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas food-filling Christmas & a Happy full of joy New Year!

  11. Sara @ Belly Rumbles

    Hehehe, love, absolutely LOVE the gingerbread men. Merry Christmas Phuoc.

  12. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    LOL, I can’t get over how awesome those cookie cutters are! I have to try Bill Granger’s gingerbread men. I’ve heard so many good things about him but have yet to try one of his recipes.

  13. Phuoc

    Kristy: It’s amazing how the addition of some chocolate marblisation to a shortbread dough so make a difference to the presentation hey?

    Peter: Thanks! It’s like you can’t hear them scream.. LOL!

    Chocolatesuze: *hi5* 😀

    Helen: Hehe yeah I know! Chopping on the limbs and heads is the best part of eating..

    Jeff Ha: Yeah those ninjabread cutters are pretty awesome stuff!

    Mademoiselle délicieuse: Cool! Let me know how you went!

    Billy: Thanks Billy!

    Ellie: Thanks! All the best for you and your fam too!

    Jacq: Thanks! I’m sure you did as well.

    S.P.T: Thanks darl! Same to you too.

    Sara: Hehe they are kinda cute aren’t they? 🙂 I’m sure you had a delicious one as well!

    Sylvie: I haven’t tried many of his recipes too, I hear they are simple but great!

  14. FFichiban

    Merry Xmmaasss!! Your gingerbread men are soooo cool hahah although it means u get less gingerbread :O sneaky

  15. Maria @ Scandifoodie

    Your gingerbread men are too cute, haha! All the best for 2011!

  16. Sarah @ For the Love of Food

    Hope you had a great Xmas! Love the limbless sad gingerbread men! Although I’m over Xmas now I do love the idea of baking some chocolate laced shortbread (esp as my Mum didn’t bake any of her best ever shortbread this year!)

  17. Obesebaby

    Haha cute idea! I thought you bite the head off initally. happy new yr and have a great holis!

  18. Ellie (Almost Bourdain)

    Love hte shortbread! Happy New Year, Phouc!

  19. Phuoc

    FFichiban: Thanks, but it also means that you get to eat MORE! 🙂

    Maria: Same to you!

    Sarah: Thanks, I hope you did as well.

    Obesebaby: Thanks, same to you.

    Ellie: Best wishes to you too!

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