Less than a week ‘til Christmas and I am feeling festive! The tree is up, carols are playing in shops and through the streets, and the fragrant smell of cinnamon and spice has filled our home. To me, Christmas would not be Christmas without mince pies. I love all that dried fruit, mixed with spices and booze and encased in a crisp pastry shell. Mince pies are always on my Christmas baking list. But while the fruit soaked up its quota of booze, I got a little impatient. While waiting for the fruit to do its thing, I rolled out my favourite gingerbread dough and made a couple of batches of cookies. I couldn’t find my ‘gingerbread man’ cookie cutter; instead I used a beautiful maple leaf shape – a present for my birthday earlier this year. I topped the cookies with a lemon glaze (a bit like the iced Spice Cookies in Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem cookbook). All I really needed finish them off was some silver cachous. Terrible for the teeth but so pretty and festive! As I count down the last few days til Christmas and wrap the presents to pop under the tree I will be happily nibbling away on gingerbread biscuits and mince pies. Santa will be lucky if there is anything left for him come Christmas Eve!