Gingerbread stars with buttermilk icing


We love gingerbread any time of the year, but at Christmas it's an absolute must. Here, a hint of tang in the buttermilk icing adds another level of savour to this festive classic. Buy fresh spices for the best flavour.

  • 350 gm (1 2/3 cups) plain flour
  • 110 gm chilled butter, diced
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp each ground cloves and ground allspice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 90 gm golden syrup or treacle
  • 1 egg
  • Buttermilk icing
  • 480 gm pure icing sugar, sieved
  • 90 ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
01   Process flour, butter, spices and baking powder, and a generous pinch of salt in a food processor to form fine crumbs. Add golden syrup and egg and process until mixture comes together into a smooth, glossy dough (2-3 minutes; at first it will look dry, but comes together when processed for long enough). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Gingerbread dough can be made 1-2 days ahead.
02   Preheat oven to 180C and line baking trays with baking paper. Roll out gingerbread dough on a lightly floured piece of baking paper to 4mm thick, transfer to a tray and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes). Cut out stars with biscuit cutters (we used a nesting set for different sizes), transfer to baking trays and bake until edges start to darken (6-8 minutes). Cool on trays for 10 minutes.
03   Meanwhile, for buttermilk icing, combine ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth, then spread over gingerbread stars and transfer to a wire rack. Stand until set (30 minutes), then serve or store in an airtight container with baking paper between the layers for up to a week.

Note This recipe makes about 24 stars in assorted sizes.

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