The Little Book of Christmas

Activity Type:

Cooking, Squidgy


Food, Winter

Type of Content:


Related Activities

Dancing Dough People (Christmas cooking)

An idea for Christmas

by Sally Featherstone

Individual spicy biscuit figures to hang in a window or on a tree. They also make great edible gift tags!

What you need for 24 dough people:

  • 550g (4½ cups) plain flour

  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 100g (½ cup) butter/margarine, plus a bit for greasing trays

  • 125g (¾ cup) soft brown sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 125g (¾ cup) molasses or black treacle

  • white & coloured icing or icing pens

  • sprinkles, silver balls, jellies

  • measuring cup or scales

  • 2 large bowls

  • a wooden spoon

  • a rolling pin

  • a tablespoon, a teaspoon

  • gingerbread cutters

  • a straw for making holes

  • flat baking sheets

  • knife or spatula to lift figures onto rack to cool

  • cooling rack

  • plates or cups to hold decorations

  • decorative string for hanging

  • aprons, table cover

Helpful hints

If you haven’t got a gingerbread cutter, draw a shape on thick card and cut it out to make your own.

Put the decorations in paper cake cases or a bun tin, so each child has their own for decorating. Use liquorice strings to make smiles and stripey jumpers.

What you do

  1. Try smelling the spices before you start!

  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, spices and salt in a bowl.

  3. In the other bowl cream the butter and sugar.

  4. Add the eggs one at a time

  5. Add the molasses or black treacle to this mixture, stirring well.

  6. Add the flour and spice mixture a bit at a time. stirring until the mixture is well mixed.

  7. Cover and put in the fridge (or a cold place) for an hour.

  8. Heat the oven to 180C (350°F) Gas mark 4, and grease some trays with margarine or oil.

  9. Sprinkle flour on a clean surface and roll out half the dough to about half an inch thick.

  10. Cut out people shapes and transfer them to the baking trays. Make a hole with the straw for hanging.

  11. Now get the children to gently move the arms and legs to make each figure ‘dance’.

  12. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they are crunchy and set.

  13. Use a knife or slice to lift them onto a cooling tray.

  14. Cool completely before decorating with icing etc.

Ready for more?

You can also use this recipe for tree shapes, or even whole gingerbread house. Cut four rectangles for the walls, two rectangles for the roof and stick them together with icing. Put on an iced board, decorate with small sweets and cake decorations and add ‘small world’ trees and people for a snow scene.

Where to go next: Dough Decorations
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