Christmas ‘Gingerbread’ (Finnish Spiced Biscuits)

Before a couple of years ago, I had never made traditional gingerbread biscuits. I know, gasp! Growing up, we did have a homemade gingerbread house every year at Christmas, but we used a slightly different recipe for our dough. It may not be traditional in the UK, but it is very much a tradition for our family! Today, I’m sharing the recipe for our version of gingerbread. It can be used for making individual biscuits and Christmas houses- make sure to check back later this week to see what I’m using this dough for this year!

The dough in question comes from the December 2002 issue of BBC Good Food magazine, under the name ‘Finnish fairy-tale house’, and was shared by a woman called Mira Paren. Unlike traditional gingerbread, this dough is flavoured with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and orange- no ginger in sight! But, trust me- it is truly delicious!

The recipe below makes enough to build a standard gingerbread house, which we have done for many years. I will, at some point, share the process of making a house using this dough. However, this year, I’m using this dough for a different gingerbread undertaking, which I’m VERY excited about. Stay tuned! You can also easily use this dough for individual biscuits- which I have also done many, many times. The number of biscuits it yields will, of course, vary depending on how big your cutters are. I have listed this recipe as making about 30 average-sized biscuits, but please consider this figure a rough estimate!

You can decorate these biscuits however you want- glacé icing, royal icing and melted chocolate, alongside an array of sweets and treats, all work well. If you use this for a house, you definitely want to use something that sets firm, such as royal icing or caramel. We only want structurally-sound gingerbread houses on this blog! These biscuits are perfect for making with kids (it’s true! I was the kid!)- easy to make, easy to decorate and very easy to enjoy afterwards.

Let me know if you try this recipe out and, if you do, I’d love to hear how you think it compares to traditional gingerbread! Like I said, keep an eye out later on this week for a post detailing my 2022 gingerbread undertaking- I think it’s going to be so much fun!




Christmas ‘Gingerbread’ (Finnish Spiced Biscuits)

A robust, spiced cookie that can be used as an alternative to traditional gingerbread for both individual biscuits and Christmas houses. Decorate using melted chocolate, glacé or royal icing, with small sweets and sprinkles.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Finnish
Keyword Biscuit, Christmas, Gingerbread, Gingerbread House, Spice
Prep Time 20 minutes
Chill time 30 minutes
Servings 30 biscuits


  • 140 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 100 g golden caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100 ml golden syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom seeds (can be obtained by grinding the seeds from 2tsp cardamom pods)
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 450 g plain flour, sifted


  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and 50g of the sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with the remaining 50g sugar until pale and thick (the 'ribbon stage'). You should be able to draw a figure of eight with the batter as it falls from the whisk.
  • Combine the bicarbonate of soda with the golden syrup, then pour into the butter mixture and mix well. Add the beaten egg mixture and mix again.
  • Add the spices, orange zest and flour to the bowl and mix thoroughly, until a cohesive dough has formed. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • When the dough has chilled, place it on a floured surface and roll it out to the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter, and place on a lined baking tray.
  • Bake the cookies for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size. Allow to cool fully before decorating.

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