Have a go at making these Elizabethan gingerbread biscuits

Explore Playground to discover more recipes. And don’t forget, a grown up should help you to measure out the ingredients and use the oven!

COOKING TIME: 15 minutes


  • 350g/12oz plain flour, plus a little for rolling out
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tsp ground ginger (or 4 tsp for a stronger flavour)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg (optional)
  • 125g/4½oz unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 175g/6oz light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 egg


  • Sieve
  • Large bowl
  • Food processor (optional)
  • Shaped cutters
  • Small bowl and beater
  • Wooden spoon
  • Rolling pin
  • Two flat baking trays

To decorate

  • Writing icing
  • Cake decorations


Elizabethan recipes for gingerbread used stale manchet (a white bread), red wine and fresh ginger. For a more traditional recipe replace the 350g flour with 55g breadcrumbs and 280g of flour. Use honey not golden syrup and try two tablespoons of finely grated fresh ginger instead of the dry ginger!


Into the bowl sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Add the room temperature butter. Work the ingredients together with your finger tips until it looks like breadcrumbs.

Tip: If you want to keep your fingers clean, this part can be done in the food processor by a grown up.


Slowly stir through the sugar.

In a small bowl lightly beat the egg and golden syrup. Pour the liquid into the large bowl and stir until the mixture forms a single ball.

(If you’re using a food processor, have grown up pulse it until you achieve the same result).

Put the dough on a lightly floured surface to stop it sticking and knead it briefly until smooth.

Wrap the dough in cling film and pop in the fringe for 15 minutes.

While it’s chilling, ask an adult to preheat your oven to 180c/gas 4.

Lightly grease two flat baking trays.

Remove the dough from the fringe and roll it out on a lightly floured surface.

We suggest a thickness of about 5mm which has a little crunch when cooked, but is also quite soft.

Using the shaped cutters, cut out gingerbread shapes and place them carefully on your baking tray.

Remember to leave a little gap between them! Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown.

Tip: Ovens are hot and dangerous! Get a grown up to help with this part.


Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack.

When your gingerbread has cooled you can decorate it with icing and decorations!

An illustration of a bear