I’ve been away from home so much this winter that I just couldn’t find time to make either a Christmas Cake or Christmas puddings. So I’ve had to find some new Christmas baking recipes to give the house that amazing smell that only homemade festive treats can do.
This is a recipe adapted from the wonderful Nigella, for spiced Christmas tree decorations using my Yuletide Sleighride cookie cutters. I got caught red-handed eating these throughout various stages of making them so be warned – some strong will power is required. (And maybe a chilled glass of sherry to wash them down with.)
For the Biscuits
In a food processor or mixer measure out–
300g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
zest of 2 clementine’s
… and mix together. Then, leaving the mixer on add…
100g soft dark brown sugar
100g soft butter
… then slowly add…
2 large eggs (beaten)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
You may not need all of the maple syrup – just enough to bring the mixture together. This mixture can be kept in the fridge in cling film for an hour or so until you are ready to make the biscuits.
Dust out your work surface and rolling pin with flour and roll out your dough (best in two batches) to about 5mm thick.
Cook biscuits on a tray lined with baking paper in an over pre-heated to 170°C/gas mark 3/350º for between 15 and 20 minutes or until they are no longer doughy underneath.
Leave to cool on a rack before decorating. Keep an eye out for hungry boyfriends during this process.
For the Icing
Whisk 2 egg whites to stiff white peaks in a mixer (or with a whisk if you fancy a serious upper body workout), then add 2 teaspoons of juice from a clementine and 300g of sifted icing sugar and mix to a smooth paste. Using an icing bag and nozzle (make sure there’s no biscuit dough left in the nozzle from earlier…), ice and decorate your biscuits in whatever way you feel inspired to! I’m a big hundreds and thousands fan myself!
The icing will take a couple of hours to set totally hard but then you’re free to tie some pretty string round your biscuits and hang them on the tree. Unless of course you’ve already eaten them, in which case you can start again from the beginning.