Spiced winter biscuits (with a secret ingredient)

This biscuit recipe rose from a love-hate relationship with gingerbread.


I would love to say it wasn’t so, that I had it passed on from my grandmother’s recipe book or that I came across it by asking a restaurant (!!!) to share it with me, but it is not the case.


kid friendly spiced winter biscuits alternative to gingerbread



It is a mashup of various Google results of the term “baby friendly gingerbread”.


I love the taste of gingerbread, but I hate the fact that, even though labelled as such, most of the recipes that have the “baby-friendly” adjective attached to them have, in one way or another, sugar on the list of ingredients. This can be either the white stuff, molasses or golden/maple syrup, all of them disguising that sweet ingredient that babies shouldn’t be getting too much of in the first place.


I was determined to make something that remotely reminds me of the sweetness of gingerbread, but without the nasty stuff I couldn’t share with the kids.


The result is not entirely up to that standard, to be honest. It’s not a fail, either, as both of my kids enjoyed these extremely. They haven’t tasted gingerbread, so they don’t have a comparison. 


the inside of these spiced winter biscuits or cookies


I find the sweetness of the dates quite enough and satisfying. The secret ingredient also reminds me of winter.


And the spices… well, let’s just say this is a mild version of what could be if you were to increase the amounts considerably. I’ve toned it down because I am not yet entirely comfortable with spices as to judge quantities and take risks. But feel free to add more than this and come back and comment how they turned out for you.


Oh, and get ready for the smell. At around the 10 minute mark, you’ll see what I am talking about. It’s the magic of cooking biscuits and cookies, I think. Because not even when baking loaves or cakes I couldn’t smell the aroma of the dough/batter that sits there in the warmth of the oven, ready to finish its time, as much as I can smell it when making smaller pieces like these.


These baby-friendly spiced winter biscuits are a great alternative to gingerbread and sugar-free too. You can make these with your kids and enjoy eating them together as Christmas cookies why not?


All things considered, make these before Christmas, make them with your kids, make them with your grandma, put them in jars and give them away, or simply eat the lot in one go and make another batch the next day. And because winter means also January and February, you have the perfect excuse to make these 3 months a year.


Happy cooking and I welcome feedback of any kind. Please share on your favourite social media platform (I do prioritise Pinterest of all, because that’s where most of my traffic comes from, but you do you) and much appreciated for reading and visiting my blog. Full recipe in the card below.


stack of winter biscuits with spices


Here are more shots from the rolling and cutting process. My dough was kinda hard to work with because it spent more time than planned in the fridge (kids!).


Have patience and it get softer as you work with it. The stamping is optional, like I mentioned in the recipe notes, so don’t fuss too much about that part.


how the dough looks after incorporating the secret ingredient for these spiced winter biscuits
how the dough looks for these spiced winter biscuits


rolling of the spiced biscuits dough
rolling the dough


cutting the shapes for the winter biscuits
cutting the dough


stamping the biscuits
stamping the biscuit dough


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Spiced winter biscuits a baby friendly alternative to gingerbread

Spiced winter biscuits (with a secret ingredient)

Yield: 28 medium biscuits
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 57 minutes

I wish these were gingerbread, but I think they're better.


  • 1 2/3 cups (200g) flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinammon
  • 12 pitted dates (hydrated for 5 minutes in hot water then mashed with a fork)
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter (85g)
  • orange juice (read instructions on how much to add)


  1. Mix the flour with the baking powder and spices.
  2. Then add the dates puree and peanut butter.
  3. Finally, start with 5 tablespoons orange juice then keep adding 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get a ball of dough that holds together. If you put too much juice, compensate with flour if need be.
  4. Chill your dough for around 30 minutes. If you go longer than that, it needs to be left at room temperature for a while so that you can roll it.
  5. Preheat your oven to 160C(fan)/180C(electric)/350F/Gas 4.
  6. Using a rolling pin or glass, roll your dough on a floured surface. I don't have an exact thickness, because I don't keep a ruler in my kitchen. Go with your guts. Worse case scenario, you will need to bake them for longer.
  7. Cut your biscuit shapes and place them on 2 baking trays lined with baking paper.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes until golden brown.


1. You can definitely mix and match the spices according to what you have in the cupboard: ground nutmeg, cinnamon, ground ginger or ground cloves (just a pinch of the latter!) all work here. Mixed spice is a combo of all of these and others, usually used in gingerbread.

2. I tried stamping the cookies to make some Christmas patterns, but after baking you could hardly see them anymore, therefore they're not mandatory.


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