THE BEST EASY CHRISTMAS BISCUIT RECIPES
STAINED GLASS BISCUITS
From: MARY BERRY'S CHRISTMAS COLLECTION
Time Needed: 40 Minutes
175g/6oz chilled butter, cubed
225g/8oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
75g/2¾oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large free-range egg, beaten
about 20 boiled sweets (in a mixture of colours)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
2. Place the butter, flour and sugar in a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the vanilla and beaten egg and pulse until it forms a smooth dough.
3. Using a rolling pin, roll out on a lightly floured work surface until the dough is about 5mm/¼in thick. Use your large cutter to cut out the shapes. Then use a small cutter to remove the middle (where the ‘glass’ will sit). If you don’t have any small cutters you can cut the middle out by hand, leaving about 1cm/½in of biscuit around the edge. Use a cocktail stick or skewer to make small holes if you want to hang them by thread or ribbon. Re-roll any scraps of dough to make more biscuits. Arrange on the prepared baking sheets and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
4. Separate the sweets into their colours and put them in plastic bags (one colour in each bag). Crush using a rolling pin until broken into fine grains. Sprinkle these grains in the middle of each biscuit in a generous layer that covers the hole. You can stick to one colour per biscuit or create a rainbow effect by mixing the colours.
5. Bake for about 15–18 minutes or until the biscuit is a pale golden brown and the sweets have melted. Leave to stand on the trays for about 5 minutes, or until firm enough to move. Carefully transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool and firm up.
CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE COOKIES
From: NIGELLA CHRISTMAS
Time Needed: 45 Minutes
For the Biscuits
250g soft butter
150g caster sugar
40g cocoa powder
300g plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
For The Topping
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
175g icing sugar
60 millilitres boiling water (from a kettle)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/gas mark 3/325ºF and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl and, when you have a light, soft, whipped mixture, beat in the 40g / one-third cup cocoa powder (sieving if it is lumpy) and, when that’s mixed in, beat in the flour with the bicarb and baking powder. Or just put everything in the processor if you prefer.
3. This mixture is very soft and sticky. It might be easier to form the biscuits wearing disposable vinyl gloves. Pinch off pieces about the size of a large walnut, roll them into balls, then slightly flatten into fat discs as you place them, well spaced, on your baking sheet; you should get about 12 on at a time.
4. Bake each batch for 15 minutes; even though the biscuits won’t feel as if they’ve had enough time, they will continue to cook as they cool. They will look slightly cracked on top.
5. Remove the baking sheet to a cold surface and let it sit for 15 minutes before transferring the biscuits to a wire rack.
6. To make the topping, put the cocoa powder, icing sugar, water and vanilla extract into a small saucepan and whisk over a low heat until everything’s smoothly combined. Take off the heat for 10 minutes.
7. When the biscuits are cool, drizzle each one with a tablespoonful of chocolate glaze to glue the sprinkles on.
8. After you’ve iced 6 biscuits, scatter with some of the Christmas sprinkles, and continue until all the biscuits are topped. If you ice them all before sprinkling, you will find the cocoa “glue” has dried and the sprinkles won’t stick on.
CRANBERRY AND WHITE CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD
From: NADIYA'S BAKE ME A FESTIVE STORY
Time Needed: 60 Minutes
125g unsalted butter, softened
55g caster sugar, plus 20g for rolling
1 tsp vanilla extract
180g plain flour
60g white chocolate, finely chopped or chocolate chips
60g dried cranberries
1. Preheat the oven to 170C fan / gas mark 5
2. Cream the butter and the 55g of sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy . Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
3. Add the flour and mix to make a smooth dough.
4. Add in the chocolate and cranberries, stirring until they are evenly spread throughout the dough.
5. Pour the 20g sugar for rolling into a shallow dish.
6. Separate the dough into 18 small balls. Dip and roll each ball in the extra sugar so they are completely coated. Place the balls on the trays spaced about an inch apart.
7. Bake for about 20 minutes until they are golden brown.
8. Remove from the oven and leave the biscuits to cool on the tray for 15 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
From: JAMIE OLIVER'S CHRISTMAS COOKBOOK
Time Needed: 40 Minutes
40g mixed dried cherries or candied orange peel
20g unsalted butter
2 teaspoons plain flour
60 ml crème fraîche
50g flaked almonds
30g mixed seeds , such as sunflower, sesame, poppy seeds
150g dark (70%) or milk chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4 and line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
2. Finely chop the dried fruit or peel.
3. Place a small saucepan over a low heat and add the sugar, butter and flour, stirring to combine. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then gradually add the crème fraîche.
4. Take off the heat and stir in the flaked almonds, seeds and dried fruit or peel.
5. While it’s still warm, use teaspoons to drop little mounds of mixture onto the baking sheets, leaving a few centimetres between each one to allow them room to spread.
6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Leave to cool a little on the sheet before cooling on a rack.
7. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, then, using a spoon, drizzle it over the florentines.
8. Let the chocolate set completely, before transferring the biscuits to boxes, or wrapping in greaseproof paper and ribbons.
From: THE HAIRY BIKERS BRILLIANT BAKES
Time Needed: 2 hours
250g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp cayenne or hot chilli powder
pinch of salt
125g dark brown soft sugar
200g golden syrup
200g black treacle
150ml whole milk
1 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g dark chocolate, finely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/Fan 150°C/Gas 31⁄2. Line a 30 x 20cm baking tin with baking parchment.
2. Sift the flour into a large bowl with the cocoa and spices. Add a generous pinch of salt and stir or whisk to combine.
3. Put the butter, sugar, golden syrup and treacle into a saucepan. Heat gently until everything has melted together.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the milk, bicarbonate of soda and eggs. Don’t be surprised if the mixture froths up a little.
5. Gradually stir the contents of the saucepan into the flour mixture, making sure it’s all well combined and there are no little pockets of flour. You should have a very wet, pourable batter. Stir in the chocolate.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes. When the edges of the gingerbread have pulled back slightly from the side of tin and it’s springy to the touch, it’s done.
7. Leave the gingerbread to cool in the tin for half an hour, then remove it and place it on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting it into squares. If possible, wrap the cake and keep it for several days before eating – this will allow it to develop the classic gingerbread stickiness as it matures.
CHRISTMAS SHORTBREAD COOKIES
From: THE BEST EVER BAKING BOOK
Time Needed: 45 Minutes
150g plain flour
50g caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 170C / 150C Fan / gas mark 3
2. Put all the ingredients into a bowl.
3. Rub the mixture between your thumb and fingertips. Add any additional flavours if you would like to now.
(Suggestions: 25g cocoa, 50g chocolate chips, 50g coconut, 1 tsp cinammon, 50g raisins, 1 tblsp peanut butter, a few drops of almond essence)
4. When the mixture looks crumbly, squeeze it together to make a ball of dough.
5. Sprinkle flour on your work surface and roll out the dough until it is 5mm thick.
6. Cut out your desired shapes.
7. Grease a baking tray and place your shapes on it, leaving spaces in between.
8. Bake for 15 minutes. Then remove the cookies from the oven and cool on a rack.
9. Decorate! Ice and sprinkle.
For the icing: 3 tblsp icing sugar + 3 tsp water. Add a few drops of food colouring if desired. Spoon the icing over and add sprinkles.
BEAR PAW COOKIES / BÄRENTATZEN
From: GRANDMA'S GERMAN COOKBOOK
Time Needed: 40 Minutes (Plus 4 hours resting time and overnight drying)
6 Egg Whites
200g grated dark chocolate
1 tsp cinammon
zest of 1/2 organic lemon
500g ground hazlenuts
sugar to taste
1. Beat the egg whites with an electric hand mixer until they form stiff peaks, gradually adding the sugar, and stiring constantly. Mix in the chocolate, cinnamon, lemon peel, hazelnuts and cocoa. Let the dough rest for 4 hours.
2. Shape the mixture into walnut-sized balls and roll them in sugar. If you have a wooden bear-paw mold, press the dough into the mold. Alternatively mold the dough in the hollow of a teasoon. Place the moulded bear paws on a baking tray lined with parchment papaer. Leave the bear paws to dry overnight.
3. The next day, preheat to the oven to 130C (265F). PLace the baking tray on the middle rack and bake the bear paws for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and klet the bear paws rest in the oven for 5 minutes more.
4. Dust with sugar to taste.
CINNAMON SWIRL COOKIES
From: JANE'S PATISSERIE CELEBRATE!
Time Needed: 40 Minutes plus 1 hour chilling time
300g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
175g unsalted butter (room temperature)
150g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
50g caster sugar
1tbsp ground cinnamon
15g unsalted butter (melted)
100g icing sugar
2-3 tsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a bowl, add the flour, salt and baking powder and mix to combine.
2. In a separate large bowl, beat the butter for a minute or two until smooth. Add the sugar and beat again until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
4. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a rectangle until is about 1/2 cm thick.
For The Filling
5. In the small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Use a pastry brush to brush the melted butter over the top of the dough and then sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar.
6. Tightly roll the cookie dough into a sausage shape, from one long side to the other long side. Transfer to a tray and chill inthe fridge for at least 1 hour.
7. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan and line 2-3 large baking trays with parchment paper.
8. Remove the dough from the fridge and slice into 1cm thick cookies with a sharp knife. Put the cookies onthe trays allowing space for the cookies to spread slightly.
9. Bake in the oven for 10-11 minutes until lightly golden. Leave the cookies to cool in the tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.
For The Icing
10. In a bowl, whisk the icing sugar, water and vanilla extract together and drizzle over the cookies. Let the icing set for about 30 minutes.
PEPPARKAKOR GINGER BISCUITS
From: SCANDIKITCHEN CHRISTMAS
Time Needed: 35 minutes (+12 hours rest time)
550 g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 pinch ground all spice
1 pinch salt
150 g butter - room temp
200 g golden syrup
100 g caster sugar
100 g dark brown sugar
150 ml double cream
1. Mix the flour and bicarbonate of/baking soda with the dry spices and salt.Add the butter and all the other ingredients and mix until you have an even dough. It may still be sticky, but shape into a log and wrap in plastic wrap and leave to rest in the refrigerator overnight before using.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.Roll out the dough thinly on a lightly floured work surface and use cookie cutters to cut your desired shapes. You want the biscuits/cookies to be thin.Place on the prepared baking sheets and bake in the preheated oven for 5–6 minutes or until the biscuits turn a darker shade of brown.
3. This is a large quantity of dough so you may need to bake the biscuits in batches (or you can freeze part of the dough for next time you wish to whip up a few trays).Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
MELTED SNOWMAN COOKIES
From: ANNABEL KARMEL
Time Needed: 55 minutes
225g plain flour
100g caster sugar
500g packet Royal Icing Sugar
About 20 tbsp water
2 tsp glycerine
Large white Marshmallows
Writing Icing Pens
1.Preheat the oven to 160C Fan.
2. Measure the butter, plain flour, cornflour and caster sugar into a mixer. Whiz until combined. Tip out and lightly knead to form a soft dough and chill for 10 minutes. Roll out and stamp out about 16 x 8 cm round biscuits. Place on baking sheets and chill for 20 minutes. Bake for about 15 minutes. They will spread a little. Leave to cool.
3. To make the icing measure the Royal Icing and 10 tbsp of water into a freestanding electric mixer and whisk until the icing is thick and shiny.
4.Add the glycerine and whisk again. Continue adding a tablespoon of water at a time until the icing is the consistency of thick yoghurt.
5. Put the cooked biscuits onto a piece of nonstick paper.
6. Spoon the icing onto the biscuit and spread out so the icing drops off the edge to look like melted snow.
7. Place the marshmallow at the edge of the cookie on top of the icing.
8. Stick orange tic tacs onto the marshmallows (for the nose) using a little Writing Icing and arrange three Mini Smarties or other small sweets in a row for the buttons.
9. Use short lengths of strawberry liquorice for the scarf. Draw on eyes and a mouth and some hands.