Place the caster sugar, honey, orange juice, vanilla extract, ginger and star anise in a pan over a medium heat and stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
Remove from the heat and add the butter. Stir until it has melted, then set aside and leave to cool.
Once cool, add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt, and bring the dough together.
Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for at least 2 hours.
Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap it and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 0.5cm. Cut out shapes with a gingerbread-man cutter ñ a 7.5cm cutter will make around 30 biscuits.
Gather off-cuts and re-roll the dough as necessary.
Place the gingerbread men on the lined baking sheets and transfer to the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up. Preheat the oven to 180∞C fan/gas mark 6.
Transfer the sheets from the freezer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden around the edges and paler in the centre.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Have fun decorating your gingerbread men with icing!
175g golden caster sugar
6 tbsp clear runny honey
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground star anise
(You will need a spice grinder for the star anise, or you can swap it for the same quantity of ground nutmeg)
200g unsalted butter
450g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
Writing icing tubes, for decoration