Christmas treats

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Ginger Cookie Christmas Trees
Gingerbread Xmas Tree 3589-102011

225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp baking powder
50g butter
100g soft dark brown sugar
100g golden syrup
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp milk
Approx 170g royal icing
You will also need a set of 6 star cutters in various sizes ranging from 11.5cm to 2.5cm.


To prepare the dough:

  • Sift the flour, salt, ginger and baking powder into a large bowl.
  • Put the butter, sugar and syrup into a pan and heat gently, stirring occasionally until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  • Beat the egg and milk together and stir in the cooled butter and sugar. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir to form a soft dough. Transfer onto a piece of clingfilm and wrap tightly.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until firm.

Cut and bake the cookies:

  • Prepare 6 different sizes of star cookie cutters.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to around 3mm thickness.
  • Cut out 4 cookies with the largest cutter, then 4 with the next largest, and so on.
  • Transfer the cookies to baking sheets, spacing them about 2 ½cm apart and grouping the larger cookies and smaller cookies together on separate sheets.
  • Re-roll the trimmings and cut more cookies as needed.
  • Chill the cookies for 10 minutes in the freezer, then bake for 8 to 10 minutes for the small cookies and 11 to 12 minutes for the larger ones, until they turn darker around the edges.
  • Cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.
  • To assemble the trees, make up the royal icing according to the packet instructions. Once the cookies are cool, take 2 of the largest cookies and sandwich them together with a little of the icing, making sure the tips of the stars are slightly askew. Carefully stack the remaining cookies, in descending size, on top of the base, securing in place with icing. Do the same for the second tree. Reserve the smallest stars for the tops of the trees, but leave to dry for one hour before adding the top stars. Stick them together with more icing and drizzle over any remaining icing as “snow” decoration. Leave to dry for 5 to 6 hours before serving.

The unbaked cookies can be frozen on baking sheets lined with baking parchment for 2 to 3 hours, until solid. Transfer to re-sealable boxes and store for up to one month. Bake from frozen, adding 1 to 2 minutes to the baking time.

Snowman Christmas Cupcakes


These Christmas cupcakes are fun for children to make themselves. You can line boxes or tins with shredded cellophane or some tissue paper and nestle your decorated cakes inside.

  • For cupcakes

100g softened butter or soft margarine
100g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
100g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence

  • For icing

Icing sugar for dusting
150g  ready-to-roll white icing
3 Tbsp apricot jam

  • For decoration

Red Fizzy Laces for the scarves
Tubes of coloured writing icing
Edible sugar baubles

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  • Place the softened butter or margarine, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla essence into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for a few minutes until the mixture is light in colour and fluffy.
  • Line a bun tin with 8 paper cases and divide the mixture among them, filling the cases about ⅔ full.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until the fairy cakes have risen and are lightly golden.
  • Lift the cakes (still in their paper cases) out of the tin and leave them to cool on a wire rack.
  • Dust a clean working surface with icing sugar and roll out the icing to about 5mm/¼”.
  • Using a small pastry cutter, cut out 8 circles the same size as the top of your cakes.
  • Put the apricot jam into a small dish and stir in 1 tablespoon of hot water, then brush this over the surface of the cakes and stick the circles of icing on top.
  • Decorate marshmallows for the snowmen’s heads using black writing icing for the eyes, red writing icing for the smiles and sugar baubles for noses (stick them on with a blob of writing icing). Stick the heads on the cakes using a little apricot jam, then stick on the sugar bauble buttons. Wrap Fizzy Laces around the snowmen’s necks for scarves.

Rudolph Cupcakes
Rudolph Cupckaes 3692-132222workHres
  • For cupcakes

2 eggs
150g caster sugar
150g butter at room temperature
150g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp milk
Zest of ½ a small orange
45g dried cranberries, chopped

  • For icing

150g icing sugar
100g softened butter
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
Pinch of salt

  • For decoration

4 Curly Wurly chocolate bars
12 glace cherries
White writing icing

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
  • Line a deep muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
  • Combine the eggs, caster sugar, butter, flour, baking powder, milk and zest into a mixing bowl. Beat together using an electric hand whisk. Stir in the cranberries and spoon into the cases.
  • Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until well-risen and lightly golden.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.

To make the icing: 

  • Sieve the icing sugar into the soft butter and beat together until smooth.
  • Add the cocoa powder and the pinch of salt and mix until smooth.
  • Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up a little.
  • Spread the icing over the cold cupcakes using a small spatula. Cut lengths of Curly Wurly chocolate bars for the antlers. Push the antlers into the cupcakes. Place a cherry in the centre of each cake to make a nose. Put 2 sultanas on each cake to make the eyes, and add a blob of white writing icing in the centre. Chill until firm.

Suitable for freezing without the decoration

Cranberry & White Chocolate Cookies
  • For cookies

150g self-raising flour
Generous pinch of salt
50g light brown sugar
100g butter, softened
40g dried cranberries, roughly chopped
50g white chocolate chips or white chocolate cut into small chunks

  • For buttercream filling

75g butter, softened
125g icing sugar, sifted
A few drops of vanilla essence
2 tsp milk

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  • Put all the cookie ingredients into a bowl. Mix together, and, using your hands, knead for a few seconds.
  • Make 20 little balls out of the mixture.
  • Put 10 balls on one baking sheet lined with non-stick paper. Push down to flatten them slightly.
  • Put the remaining 10 on another baking sheet.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack.

To make the buttercream filling:

  • Beat the softened butter until creamy.
  • Sift the icing sugar into the bowl and beat together with the butter.
  • Beat in the vanilla and milk.
  • Spread the buttercream over one of the cookies and place a second cookie on top.

Suitable for freezing

Gift idea

Instead of giving baked cookies as a gift for Christmas, why not give the recipe for one of your favourite cookies and then layer all the ingredients in a glass jar and tie a ribbon around it? 

Annabel Karmel is the UK’s best-selling author of books on baby and children’s food and nutrition. Her new range of Disney snacks is available in Hong Kong at Toys“R”Us and ThreeSixty locations. To learn more about Annabel, visit

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Annabel Karmel
With a career spanning over 25 years, London born mother of three, Annabel Karmel, has pioneered the way families all over the world feed their babies and children. Credited with starting a food revolution with her trusty recipes and methods, she has become the UK’s No.1 children’s cookery author, best-selling international author, and the mother of all feeding experts with 45 cookbooks…and counting. In 2006, Annabel received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her outstanding work in the field of child nutrition, and she has since become recognised as one of the UK’s leading female entrepreneurs. For lots more festive recipe inspiration, special content, insider news, competitions, plus a host of great offers join the AK Club for free today at

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