Gingerbread figures with a morbid twist.


"Although inspired by the creepy twins from the 1980s horror film The Shining, these cookies still maintain the classic gingerbread features," says food writer Helena Garcia.

"Draw the silhouette of the twins on a piece of paper and use it as a template. If you don’t feel confident icing them with royal icing, you can always cut the dress out of modelling chocolate or fondant and decorate that – but if I’m able to do it, you can too, as I hardly ever ice cookies!"

Makes 12

  • 450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 and a 3/4tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp ground cloves
  • 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 165g dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 230g golden syrup, maple syrup or molasses
  • 2tsp vanilla extract

For the royal icing:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 600g icing sugar, sifted

To decorate:

  • Blue food colour
  • Pink food colour
  • Cocoa powder
  • Black edible ink pen
  • Red edible ink pen
  • Green edible ink pen
  • Red powder food colour
Gingerdead twins (Patricia Niven/Quadrille/PA)
Gingerdead twins (Patricia Niven/Quadrille/PA)


1. Sift the flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. Set aside.

2. Mix the butter, brown sugar and egg together in another bowl. I like to use a wooden spoon for this – somehow gingerbread seems like it has to be mixed with a wooden spoon. Add the syrup and vanilla and continue to mix. Mix in the dry ingredients and combine until smooth.

3. Divide the dough in half and wrap in cling-film pressing down to create two discs. Refrigerate for three hours, or up to three days.

4. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan [400°F/Gas mark 6] and line a baking tray with baking paper.

5. Roll out the first disc of dough on a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thick. Cut out six cookies by cutting around your template with a small sharp knife and place on a lined baking tray. Bake for seven to 10 minutes – the longer they are in the oven, the snappier they will be, but I like them a bit soft. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before icing. Repeat with the second disc of dough to make six more cookies or alternatively, freeze for another time.

6. For the royal icing, whisk the egg whites until frothy, then stir in the vanilla extract. Slowly add the icing sugar, mixing until fully incorporated. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water. If it is too thin, add more icing sugar, one tablespoon at a time.

7. Dye small amounts of the icing pink and blue with food colouring, and a third amount brown with the cocoa powder. Decorate each twin by outlining the dress with piped blue royal icing, then filling in the outline. Pipe the little lace details with white icing around the hem of the sleeves, collar and skirt hem. Leave to dry, then pipe on the pink belt and buttons, and the brown hair.

8. Pipe the eyes in white and draw the eye lashes with the black edible ink pen. Draw the mouth with the red edible ink pen and finish the faces with a dust of red coloured powder on the cheeks.

9. Leave to dry completely before adding the lace on the belt with white icing, the shoes with black pen, and green irises and black dots on the eyeballs. The gingerbread twins will keep in an airtight container for around two weeks.

The Wicked Baker: Cakes And Treats To Die For by Helena Garcia, Photography by Patricia Niven, is published by Quadrille. Available now.