muscovado sugar 225g
golden syrup 175g
cinnamon 2 tsp
ground ginger 2 tsp
mixed spice 1 tsp
finely ground black pepper ½ tsp
baking powder 1 tsp
plain flour 650g
butter 200g, chilled and roughly grated
royal icing sugar to decorate
red food colouring to decorate
Mix the sugar, syrup, spices and egg in a jug. Tip the bicarb and flour into a bowl and add the butter stir it through the flour and then rub it in more thoroughly until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the contents of the jug and a pinch of salt and stir the mixture to combine it. Use your hands to bring the dough together and then knead it until it is smooth. Divide the dough into 4 and press each batch into a disc. Slide them into plastic bags and chill for at least an hour.
Let them stiffen for 5 minutes before moving them to a cold surface. Keep rolling, cutting and baking until you have 24 or 25 biscuits (you may have more dough than you need but you can always freeze this for another time).
Put both into piping bags fitted with small nozzles. Thin the next two batches in the same way, this time the icing should flow like honey, add red colouring to one, you can put these into piping bags with fatter nozzles or squeezy bottles to fill in the outlines.
Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Roll the dough out in small batches on a silicone baking mat or lightly floured work surface to the thickness of a £1 coin and cut out shapes. Lift them carefully with a palette knife onto a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in batches for 8-15 minutes, depending on how big the biscuits are.
Make up a batch of icing using the instructions on the pack, then divide into 4 and keep the surface of each batch covered. Thin one batch down with a spray or drips of water until it feels like toothpaste, this should be perfect for piping the outlines and dots on the biscuits. Thin down the next batch using red colouring in the same way.
Pipe out lines around the biscuits and flood some of them, add decorations to the others. When the decorations are dry pipe on numbers. You can also buy icing numbers if you prefer.