Why am I posting a recipe for Spiced Christmas biscuits, when Christmas isn’t for another six weeks? Well, I like to think of myself as an organised person, but there is something about Christmas which leaves me doing things a little too late. For the first time ever last year we left the house to stay with my parents for the Christmas holidays and we had bought all our presents. Every other year I have been waiting for the presents I had bought to arrive, keeping everything crossed that they will arrive in time. Or I’ve even been out shopping on Christmas Eve. I hate it; it’s stressful, it ruins what should be a few, quiet enjoyable days before Christmas. Last year felt so good to be on top of the presents. This year I hope to have this same relaxed feeling. So that’s why I’m posting this recipe. I have to start early on Christmas, otherwise I won’t get myself sorted in time.
These biscuits are full of honey, candid peel, nuts, cinnamon, ginger and ground nutmeg. There are all things Christmas in these biscuits. They are dead easy to make. They would be fun to make with kids. For me, doing the icing is the best bit. If you don’t have an icing bag you could use a sandwich bag with a tiny hole cut in one of the bottom corners. For many years this was how I would ice biscuits. (You might need just a tiny bit more lemon juice than is detailed in the recipe, to get the icing a little looser so you can pipe it out of the sandwich bag.) If you are using a sandwich bag, pop an icing bag on your Christmas list, as they make life so much easier. But either way, icing biscuits for me is a job I do sat down at the kitchen table with a mug of tea and the radio on. It’s a quiet job to take your time over, and then it’s seriously satisfying. If I rush it, I get poor results and I feel irritated that I didn’t allow myself the time to do it well. If you are making these biscuits with kids, why not let them ice half of them, and keep the others for you to do when they are in bed. That way the kids can have fun making their beautiful biscuits and you can have fun making a more polished version.
I use caster sugar to roll the dough out with, because I find if I use flour I end up with unattractive floury patches on the top of the biscuits. This doesn’t happen with caster sugar.
These aren’t biscuits to hang on the Christmas tree. If left out of an air tight container they become moist and crumbly. It would be fun to have biscuits on the tree this year perhaps I need to have a think about that?
I use lemon juice in the icing to temper the sweetness of the icing sugar, but if you haven’t got lemon juice, water is fine. My star cutter is 7.5cm/3” long on each side. The icing is piped with a number 2 writing nozzle. You will probably need two baking sheets to bake all the biscuits in one go.
Spiced Christmas biscuits recipe
85g/3oz caster sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 large egg beaten
50g/2oz candid peel
zest of a lemon
zest of an orange
225g/8oz self raising flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
140g/5oz icing sugar
1½tbsp lemon juice or water
Makes 30 biscuits
Carbohydrate per biscuit – 13g
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/340°F.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter until it’s soft. Add the sugar and beat until soft and creamy.
3. Stir in the egg and beat. Add the honey and beat again
4. Finely chop the candid peel and the hazelnuts and then add to the butter mixture. Stir in the zest of the lemon and orange.
5. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, spices and salt. Sift the flour into the butter mixture.
6. Stir to combine the mixture into a dough. The moment the dough is combined stop stirring, to keep as much air in the dough as possible.
7. Sprinkle some icing sugar on your work surface. Roll out the dough to 6mm/¼” thick.
8. Cut the biscuits out using a cutter and place onto a non stick baking sheet, or lightly greased baking sheet.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 -12 minutes until lightly browned.
10. Leave on the baking sheet for a minute to cool and then transfer to a cooling rack.
11. Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl. Stir in the lemon juice. The icing will be thick.
12. Spoon into an icing bag, and ice the biscuits. Store in an air tight container.
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