Decorated Gingerbread


  1. Beat the butter, brown sugar and molasses together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Add this to the butter mixture and stir until blended. Shape the dough into two disks, wrap and chill for about an hour up to two days (the dough will still be soft, even once chilled).
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2-3 baking trays with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the first disk of dough until just over ⅛-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter of your choice and cut out cookies. Lift them carefully to the prepared trays, leaving about ½-inch between them. Any scraps can be stored chilled and then re-rolled until it has all been used.
  4. Bake the cookies for 15-18 minutes until you see them brown a little just around the edges. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the tray before removing to cool completely.
  5. For the royal icing, beat the meringue powder, icing sugar and warm water with an electric mixer until peaks form (approximately 10-12 minutes). Divide the icing into bowls and add colour if you wish. For a “flood” style of icing, add a few extra drops of water and stir until it is a consistency that can flow over the top of the cookie without dripping.
  6. To assemble, spoon the royal icing into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the icing to decorate the cookies as you wish. For a flood style, pipe and edge around the outside of the cookie and then fill in with the fluid icing, using a toothpick to coax it into every space. Allow the cookies to dry for 2-3 hours before packing up. The cookies will keep up to a week in an airtight container.