Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Christmas Cookies & Festive Cheer!

Hello, hello, hello and sincerest apologies for my deafening silence in the blog-osphere! I am back again with Christmassy treats and a few seasonal photos to sweeten you up with! I love a nice, crisp, spiced cookie at Christmas time - they are such a good combo with hot tea, or even a hot port or mulled wine, if you feel so inclined. To me, citrus fruits, always have a deep connection to Christmas and the addition of orange zest and an orange flavoured icing really works well in these cookies. They are simple to bake and last very well in a tin or airtight container. The decorating part can be as effortless and insignificant as you choose, or even, wildly imaginative, if you feel like going all out! Let's just say, you'll be sure to win over your guests, when one too many USA biscuit tins have been thrust their way over the festive season!
This recipe makes about 40 star shaped Christmas cookies.

I couldn't resist adding some Christmassy swirling stars to the photo!

Ingredients are...

  • 180g caster or light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp. golden syrup
  • 100g butter
  • 4 tsp. spices - I used a combination of mixed spice and cinnamon
  • 350g plain flour
  • Half tsp. bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 large orange - zest for the mix, juice held back for the icing
  • Icing sugar - I play this one by ear and use very little really
  1. Heat the sugar, golden syrup and butter in a heavy based saucepan on a medium heat, until melted.
  2. Sieve the flour and spices into a large bowl and then make a well in the centre.
  3. Dissolve the bicarb. in a half teaspoon of water and pour this, along with the sugar mixture and the egg into the flour.
  4. Add the orange zest next. Mix and allow the cookie dough to form a ball, which will be quite tough and a little flaky.
  5. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least one hour, wrapped in cling film.
  6. Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees C/170 fan/gas mark 5.
  7. Dust a little flour onto your work surface, knead gently and roll the dough out thinly, to less than 1 cm thick, and then use a cookie cutter to cut out your biscuits.
  8. Bake on a non-stick baking tray for 12 - 15 minutes, until the cookies have just slightly darkened in appearance. 
  9. Cool on a wire rack and within 30 minutes you can begin icing!
  10. I simply use a small shake of icing, say 100g, and add a few teaspoons of freshly squeezed O.J. to make a nice thickish icing. I then scoop it into an icing bag and decorate away to my heart's content! I also sometimes add a few glittery extra bits and pieces such as silver sugar balls etc. Go on, go mad!
And when the madness concludes, grab a cup/glass of your favourite hot beverage, choose a cookie (or two, or three...) and tuck in!
Citrus-spiced Christmas cookies
And now for some of this season's festive photos - it really is the most wonderful time of the year!
Santa and his reindeer

It's always a star to crown the tree chez nous

Irish coffees

Puff pastry mince pies with honeyed whiskey

My first attempt at homemade cranberry sauce!

Ah - hot port. The taste of Christmas!

Scented candles at Christmas are a must!

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