Preheat oven to 180C. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat, add corn syrup, sugar and milk, stir to combine, heat until mixture reaches 43C on a sugar thermometer (1-2 minutes). Meanwhile, sieve dry ingredients into a bowl. Add milk mixture, stir to combine. Form into a disc, wrap, refrigerate until firm (1-2 hours).
Roll out gingerbread on a lightly floured surface to 4mm thick, refrigerate until firm (25-30 minutes). Cut stars with a set of graduated star-shaped cutters (see note). Place on baking trays lined with baking paper and bake, turning trays occasionally, until evenly golden (20-25 minutes). Cool on trays for 5 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 35 biscuits of varying sizes.
Meanwhile, for royal icing, combine icing sugar and eggwhite in a bowl, mix until smooth, spoon into piping bag with 1cm plain nozzle.
Pipe a little icing on a serving plate and place a large star on top. Pipe a little icing in centre of star, top with another large star, offsetting slightly and pressing biscuits together. Repeat, gradually decreasing size of stars and finishing with smallest stars. Stand until icing sets (15-20 minutes), then dust with icing sugar. Gingerbread stars will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks and can be assembled on the day of serving.
Note Sets of graduated star-shaped biscuit cutters are available from specialist kitchenware stores. The ideal set for this recipe has 5 or 6 different sizes. Corn syrup is a clear syrup available from David Jones food halls and select supermarkets.
This recipe is from the December 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine.