I must admit that this Christmas spirit has yet to hit me but the baking has.
I am one of those people who like to give edible gifts to young and old and hope that it brings a smile to their faces.  
It’s all about handmade and giving someone something you created is much more valuable for me than popping into a shop and grabbing something off the shelf.

I remember many years ago whilst studying I had given a friend a card I had made and another “friend” asked why I didn’t have time to just buy one.  
It has been about 11 years and I still remember that like it was yesterday.  
The reason I thought of this again was because we were going to wrap a birthday present for one of Amelie’s friends and I asked her to grab a painting of hers so we can wrap the present up in, she then asked me if we had “real” wrapping paper because everyone else uses real wrapping paper so why don’t we…. a part of me was a little sad that she thought real wrapping paper was prettier that her artwork
So back to handmade Christmas, here’s a recipe for Lebkuchen which just made our house smell deliciously of Christmas.
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
makes about 30-40
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 30-40
  • 100g butter at room temperature
  • 250g golden syrup (or a mixture of both golden syrup & treacle)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 350g plain flour
  • 60g cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. preheat oven to 180C/160C fan and line baking trays with paper
  2. place butter and golden syrup into a small saucepan and continuously stir over a low heat until smooth and melted. remove from heat and add the milk
  3. sift dry ingredients into a bowl and add butter mixture and mix until combined and mixture comes together
  4. roll out onto baking paper about 7-8mm thick
  5. cut out shapes and place onto prepared trays and bake for around 10-20 minutes depending on sizes, just until lightly browned, a 6cm shape may take up to 20 minutes
  6. cool slightly and place onto a wire rack to cool completely
  7. you can decorate by dipping in chocolate or piping chocolate or icing words onto them



If you are in Melbourne and would like to do a Christmas Cookie workshop with me on the 4th of December, details are here
Hope you enjoy the following weeks before the Christmas rush. 

  • Yum – thanks for the recipe – I will try that one. We do a family cookie run, where I bake gingerbread men all day, then we drive around like lunatics with tinsel hanging off car wearing santa hats all evening, dropping off cookies to family friends and the kids friends.

  • I do so love a handmade gift! You have brought back grand memories for me with your Lebkuchen recipe. When I was a child, my best friend lived across the street. Her mother was German and every year for Christmas she would bake like a woman possessed (always with a song and a smile), she would fill every available surface with trays of cookies; traditional German delicacies as well as all other sorts of amazing confections. I would walk into her house and the smell was divine and the view of hundreds of cookies was absolute magic to me. She would let help decorate some of them and of course eat some. She was an outstanding baker and a lovely woman. She would plate up the cookies and wrap them beautifully, then she would take them to every house on our street as gifts for the neighbors. Such a labor of love and deliciousness! Thank you for bringing that back to me.

  • Handmade gifts and cards are all the more nicer because of the time and love that has gone into making them. Plus anything homemade always tastes better. Your stars with the bakers twine look lovely and anyone would be lucky to receive these from you x

  • Yummo!!! I can just smell your yummy kitchen.
    Yeah it is sad about the real wrapping paper, but I reckon she'll come round, one day xo

  • Love this handmade gift – the red and white,
    with the xmas bickies.

    Miss Eva delights in the fact that we do things a bit differently than others. (with the handmade gifts/wrap etc) But she is 9! Its all about being different to others at the moment. Without her glasses on this morning – she thought she looked quite boring!

    Anyway – we will have to book mark this recipe for some decorations for our tree! Hugs to you for another delicious one!xx

  • Oh Golly you're wonderful 😉 The aroma must be as deeelish as you and your thoughts. Isn't it sad that people don't get it? And even sadder that mothers out there are perpetuating the trend that retail is better! Wish I was there for your baking class … it will be a doozie 😉

  • OH yum ! That recipe looks devine !
    I have been busily handmaking as much as humanly possible this year – even made some homemade basil pesto as gifts.

    Your lovely daughter will come around – what a great idea to use her artwork as wrapping paper. Altho, it does take a while – I'm sure I'll get a few raised eyebrows when I present gifts wrapped in pages from an old Melway this year 🙂

    Happy Wednesdya, Dee xo

  • Hi Cathie! I'm so happy to read that more people like handmade gifts. I do and I like to surprise people with selfmade gifts too but it's not always appreciated. One person I can do a real pleasure with that and is always so thankful for that, much more than when I buy her something, is my grandmother. She recently gave me something too, something she made herself years ago, but she didn't know if I'd love it. Well, I did!!! And I made sure she knew she didn't have to doubt about that!!! I think handmade things are so much more personal! Thank you for sharing the recipe! I will try it!

  • Thanks Cathie, Timely recipe I just need few pretty jars and I will be done! lol
    Your workshop sounds really good…sigh!
    Yes I know what you mean about handmade gifts and how we just had been conditioned lately…Thanks goodness some people appreciate the love that goes into it…:)xx

  • Yummmo…I see you have your camera back!! Whaoooo! xx

  • those biscuits look delicious! I love the stories of the first two commenters on this post. I'm seriously considering that christmas cookie workshop….
    i am absolutely appalled at that "friends" ignorant comment regarding your handmade card – appalled!
    we use children's paintings for wrapping paper all of the time and you know i make my cards, well, the children do at the moment….

  • will have to have a go at these, they sound delicious and i can just imagine how good they would make the house smell!

  • mmm nom nom nom they look yummy! every year i buy the man a packet of Pfeffernüsse. Its become a bit of a christmas ritual. Pfeffernüsse and strong coffee.

    Happy Christmas cooking.


  • TK

    I am so proud that my little M takes great pleasure in being one of the only kids who does home baked/handmade christmas gifts for his class mates….we have great fun working on it together…..thats what gets me into the Christmas spirit!

  • Oh why can't I just fly over the ocean blue and take your workshop….I would be in Heaven!

    You cookies look amazing..thanks for sharing the recipe…xoxoxo

  • Bec

    Christmas Cookie workshop!!!??? OH I wish I was there!! I have plans to bake for xmas pressies this year too, so much nicer I think 🙂 We dont do 'real' wrapping paper either lol Mainly because I always forget to bu it or think its way too expensive for something someone just rips open but I too have come to prefer the recycled kind. I guess some people just never appreciate or understand the homemade/handmade gift but I hink its the best kind.

  • Mmmm – those look and sound delicious – I can almost smell them! Lucky recipients!
    Wish I could make it the workshop, but we don't go down to Victoria until 19 December. If you are thinking of doing any workshops in the New Year, let me know.
    Good to see you here today.

  • Yep, we are a make everything including the wrapping paper family too.
    I get why people buy prezzies and cards but the paper??? Its just going to be torn up and chucked out.
    The bikkies look divine. Bet your house smells pretty delicious right about now too. XX

  • Gosh, I can't even remember the last time that I actually bought a card from a shop. It was probably twenty years ago!
    I love your wrapping paper idea. My sister bought home a heap of artwork from creche and was asking what on earth she was going to do with it all, so I told her to keep it and use it as wrapping too. It's a brilliant way of recycling (and who wants to pay for paper that will be ripped off and put in the bin)!

  • oh yum! i love this recipe and was just talking to a friend about the warmth of a handmade gift. i share your sentiment and will be giving handmade or buying handmade this year for christmas. We use artwork as wrapping paper too (usually to wrap a handmade gift) – so double the handmade-ness!! i think your daughter will value the unique way in which you are teaching her to give xx

  • Hi Cathie, so lovely to see you back. I think handmade gifts and card are so much more lovely and personnal i think as you get older you appreciate it more. Its hard as a child i think, because sadly you don't want to been seen as different which is sad. yummy recipe i can imagin the smell. Have a great week. dee x

  • oh cathie, you have totally inspired me. i just adore christmas craft and cooking – but i have not been so motivated yet….
    this post made me smile and i am off to print this lovely cookie recipe. x

  • I wish I was in Melbourne..but I guess I'll have to do with the recipe:) These look great. My son loves baking and finding new recipes, thank you x

  • I totally agree receiving handmade things are very special. I am making my niece cute cupcakes with roses made out of flower paste and glitter. She makes her own cards and gives them too me – she has a handmade soul.

  • I have an absolute hatred of wrapping paper, I really do, it is such a waste!!! i cannot stand it, we are the same, brown paper or butchers paper with drawings on it and of course lvoely twine to make it look pretty.

    as a non baker I may even be tempted to make them there little biscuits, it was the little holes that makes them threadable that got me!!

  • Just what I needed. I've offered to 'bake' the name tags for our family Christmas this year – I'm icing names onto cookie Christmas trees. This here is the recipe I want to try – thank you! x

  • Just perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  • mmmm looks delicious! I am going to give your zucchini and carrot cupcakes a go tomorrow x

  • Cathie, dear, you always inspire me with your bakery and your pretty images!!! I wish I could live near near you and then taste these delicious yummi yummi cookies!!!
    Love!!! Bela.

  • Gorgeous pictures, thank you for sharing your recipe. I agree with you completely, homemake items make the best gifts.

  • oops "homemake" sound say "homemade" 🙂

  • your blog is rather splendid
    just putting it out there! 🙂

    x x

  • Oh will definitely try that recipe I've always wanted to make some lebkuchan to remind me of chlidhood christmases. Amazing images by the way. x

  • Well hello Cathie friend, how are you? When looking at your amazingly pretty pictures I can tell you are enjoying your days. Your cookies, your cupcakes, your you name it, it all looks awesome, always! The 'love' and 'joy' is beautifully written.
    We have had a couple of rather warm days with blue skies, now we are getting ready for cold, cold days and nights. You are celebrating Spring, try to picture the trees in full blossom around YOU, sweet friend. Enjoy all the little things today and everyday! I know you do though.

  • your photos (again) makes me smile 🙂 perfect mother and perfect baker! i'll try this,can i do this? or should i join the workshop ? 🙂

  • homemade rocks! you don't need to worry about any negative comments you know we all LOVE what you bake & give. Wrapping up presents in children's paintings is pure love XO

  • I love receiving, and giving, handmade gifts. Your cookies look adorable an delicious! I arrive in Melbourne on Dec. 22nd….I wish I was there for the 4th! Sounds like so much fun.

  • Oh, I wish I could join you.

  • As always I sit here in amazment of your baking skills! THose cookies truly can't be eaten…they are works of art! I like the edible gifts too! Giving & receiving 🙂

  • Oh yes, i wrap gifts in art (great way to share it) & adult gifts in fabric or tea towels, all round purpose for everything!! Always handmade cards from our house, love Posie

  • Jen

    handmade is always best, and those biscuits look amazing. I can almost smell them already xx

  • Hello gorgeous gal,
    Sorry I missed you this afternoon (bloody Melbourne drizzle… but gosh I really love it!)
    Miss Amelie's little friend was OVER the moon with her gorgeous gifts.
    To be honest I was blown away with the idea of a little sunflower shoot …just one week old.
    So lovely Cathie… Miss Evie thinks you and your family are just "awesome♥"
    See you soon xx

  • I can never decide whether to be more in awe of your baking or your photography…

    Glad to see you have your camera back in hand, Cathie…

  • I can almost smell that yummy Christmas scent all the way up here in Brissie! Thanks for posting this recipe and gorgeous pictures!

    "Thank you" also for your sweet birthday message. Your comment really meant a lot to me! I am so sorry it has take me so long to visit, but I had a great week celebrating and making things with my new kitchenAid!

    I hope your weekend is fabulous!

    Best wishes always,

  • That Christmas spirit might take a few years to creep back, sweet friend… go easy.

    Thanks for the Lebkuchen recipe. It has always spoken of Christmas to me as we had Austrian neighbours growing up who always made some for us. I was going to abandon Christmas gifts for friends, teachers etc all together this year, but this gives me hope – we move in two weeks but there will be time to make these after that. Beautiful, and as you say so much more meaningful (those who don't think so have whacked priorities!)

  • Anonymous

    Thank-you for that card. I luv you mbxxx

  • Cat

    Dear baking guru,

    I'm wondering if you could share the secret of keeping the biscuit well-formed when you use the cutter? I always end up squishing it slightly and want them to look pretty and well-formed like yours! 🙂 I want to use them for xmas decorations too. Gingerbread is a fave around here! 🙂