A gingerbread man with a ribbon through it

Low-sugar feel-good festive baking

Sugar gets a bad rep these days. It’s certainly true that we’re all eating too much of the stuff. It seems to be creeping into our diets from every corner, and it can seem impossible to limit your intake.

But did you know that all sugars are not created equal. Most of the sugar we worry about in snacks and sweets comes in the form of white refined sugar. Yet there are healthier sugars and sweet alternatives out there.

Our yummy recipe for low-sugar gingerbread men replaces white sugar with some much healthier alternatives. It uses agave syrup which is a fantastic and natural white sugar alternative, as well as muscovado sugar. Muscovado has a really high molasses content, so you don’t need much of it at all.

With these healthier-than-sugar sweeteners, and our low-sugar gingerbread men recipe, you can indulge free from guilt.

Gingerbread Men

Makes 18

* Available at Holland & Barrett


Step 1
Put the butter and sugar into a food processor and whiz until combined. Add the egg and golden syrup and whiz again until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt and whiz until it comes together to form a soft dough.

Step 2
Sprinkle a little flour on a clean work surface and shape into a disc, cover with cling film and chill for at least 1 hour until firm.

Step 3
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC Fan/Gas 4 and line 1-2 large baking sheets with non-stick baking paper. Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the dough until about 3mm thick. Using a large gingerbread man cutter, stamp out shapes. Transfer them to the baking sheets. You will have to keep re-rolling the dough.

Step 4
Bake the gingerbread in batches for 10-12 minutes until firm and just starting to brown at the edges. Leave to go cold.

Step 5
Put 2 tbsp cold water into a bowl. Add the royal icing and whisk until smooth and soft peaks. Fill into a disposable piping bag and snip a tiny piece off the end. Use to decorate the gingerbread men, adding chocolate beans for buttons. Leave to dry before storing in a tin.

We’ve got plenty more festive treats with a healthy twist in our recipe section.

This article has been adapted from longer features appearing in Healthy, the Holland & Barrett magazine. Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies Shop our Food & Drink range.


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Christmas Recipes