Gingerbread clowns

Makes 16
Time 55 mins
181 calories per clown
4G fat of which
1.8G is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Plain flour 250g (9oz)
Ground ginger 1 tsp
Mixed spice 1 tsp
Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
Unsalted butter 50g (2oz)
Dark soft brown sugar 50g (2oz)
Black treacle 50g (2oz)
Golden syrup 25g (1oz)
Egg 1, beaten
Ready-made royal icing 225g (8oz)
Smarties 2 tubes

1 Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line 2–3 baking trays with non-stick baking foil. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Make a well in centre.

2 Put butter, sugar, treacle and golden syrup into a saucepan, stir over a moderate heat until melted, then pour into flour. Add egg and mix to a soft dough. Knead on a floured surface and roll out to 3mm (1⁄8in) thick.

3 Using a gingerbread man cutter, stamp out as many men as you can and place on baking trays. Re-knead trimmings and repeat until you have 16.

4 Re-roll trimmings as necessary, cut out 4 rounds with a plain 9cm (33⁄4in) round cutter. To make clown hats, cut each one into 4 triangles. Brush undersides lightly with water and place across heads.

5 Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm. Cool for 2–3 minutes, then transfer to wire racks. Decorate the clowns with royal icing and Smarties, as shown in photograph.

A Dairy Diary recipe.

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