Christmas Tree Biscuits
Really, where has this month gone?! It feels like only yesterday I was posting my first Christmassy blog post. Yet now we are only FOUR sleeps away from Father Christmas descending down the chimney! By this stage, I am sure you are up to your eyes in shopping, wrapping, baking, prepping, cleaning and beautifying your homes before your guests arrive in a few days time. However, I have one last festive treat to share with you this year. This one can literally be rustled up in next to no time...
Another delicious recipe I spied in 'Christmas Recipes & Crafts,' brought to you by Parragon Books Ltd, Love Food, ⓒ Parragon Books Ltd 2015. I created a yummy 'Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix' to give away as gifts last time round, and they are SO quick and easy to make. Even with Christmas well and truly upon us, you could easily whisk some up to take on your festive travels! Anyway, I am digressing, let's get back to baking....
Homemade Christmas tree decorations which would be fun to bake with children, or, get them doing all the hard work for you! The ingredients you will need...
150 g plain flour
70 g unsalted butter
3 tbsp runny honey (I used 3 tbsp of Golden syrup as an alternative)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I used 2 tsp to intensify the flavour)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (I used 1 tsp here)
1/2 tsp ground ginger (Again, I used 1 tsp here)
2 tsp mixed spice (This isn't listed in the recipe book, but I wanted to achieve a really Christmassy taste to the biscuits. Thus, this ingredient is optional!)
Ribbon for hanging the biscuits to your Christmas tree
First, preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Measure out all of the spices...
Pop them into a mixing bowl along with 70 g of diced unsalted butter and 150 g of plain flour.
Rub the ingredients together with your fingertips and thumbs until the mixture resembles a fine crumble.
Now add the honey, or in my case, the Golden syrup. I also added a dash of cold milk to help form the dough. Once it has been rolled into a ball in your hands, wrap it in cling film and transfer it to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
30 precious minutes to get some ironing done, make up the spare room for your guests, hoover, type some emails! As soon as the time is up, retrieve the chilled dough, place it on a floured surface and then get rolling. The dough wants to be roughly the thickness of a £1 coin.
Once you're happy with the thickness of the dough, grab your cookie cutter and start pressing down quite firmly onto the dough. I tend to start at the edges and cut shapes quite close to one another to save re-rolling out the dough lots of time.
This recipe uses a Christmas tree cookie cutter, no surprises there! But of course, if you don't have this shape, any festive design will do; stars, snowflakes, angels, gingerbread men all make beautiful decorations too.
Don't worry if your dough is coated in a dusting of flour like mine, it will not interfere with the taste of the biscuits once they are baked. You should be able to cut out 12 Christmas trees from this recipe.
Once you have them ready to go, carefully place them onto a prepared baking tray. Before they head into the oven, it's crucial that you remember to insert a hole into the top of each tree (so you can hang them on the tree later on!). Using a cocktail stick, or even a chopstick, gently make the holes.
Now they can be placed in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes...
Take a peek after 10 minutes, and if they are turning golden, whip them out! You'll be surprised by how quickly they can catch and burn.
At last, your kitchen will be filled with the delicious festive aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and mixed spice. Nothing beats it!
Now for the part when the children will definitely want to get stuck in! Make up some white icing (according to the instructions on a pack of icing sugar) and as soon as the biscuits have cooled down, drizzle the mixture onto your trees. Once the icing sugar touches the biscuit, it will begin to set quickly, so have the sprinkles to hand...
Allow the decorations to completely set before...
... you feed some ribbon through the top of each tree...
... then you are good to go; hang your lovely creations onto the tree!
I'm not sure ours will make it to Christmas Eve, as they are just too darn tasty!
Happy Christmas one and all!
Thanks as ever to Parragon Books for your generous gift. You can buy your copy of 'Christmas Recipes & Crafts' here.