Fun for children (and grown ups!) to decorate | serves approximately 12
- 300g plain flour - extra for dusting
- Half a teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)
- ¼ teaspoon cloves (ground)
- 100g soft butter
- 100g soft dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs - beaten
- 4 tablespoons liquid honey
- 300g powdered royal icing
- edible glitter, silver or gold balls
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3/350ºF and line two baking trays with parchment (grease-proof paper).
- Mix together the dry ingredients – starting with the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves in a food processor. Next add the butter and sugar, then slowly combine the beaten eggs and liquid honey, (no need to use all of this liquid if the pastry has come together before it’s used up).
- Form 2 large discs and place one - covered in cling film or inside an air tight container - in the fridge while you get started on the other half.
- Then dust your (clean) work surface with flour – lightly sprinkle flour onto the disc, then roll out to about 5mm (¼ inch) and cut into Christmas shapes using cutters of your choice, including snowflakes, Christmas stockings, stars, angels, etc.
- Re-roll and continue cutting out more shapes, then begin rolling out the second. When you’re left with both leftover clumps of dough, roll out and cut out again, and repeat this pattern until all the dough is used.
- Now using a small piping nozzle, with the pointed end, cut out a small hole just underneath the top of each biscuit. (This will enable you to threat ribbon through to hang on the tree later!)
- Sort the biscuit shapes on the lined baking trays and cook for 20 minutes approx. bake until the underside is no longer doughy, then you know they’re ready. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
- Mix in the royal icing powder, slowly adding a touch of water while beating it till its thick enough to cover the biscuits with a slightly-dripping blanket of white. Don’t beat it for too long or you’ll have very thick icing that will need to be spread with a spatula – which won’t give you the desired consistency.
- Once cooled, carefully ice the decorations, using a teaspoon (the tip for dripping, the back for smoothing), and sprinkle on edible decorations of your choice such as silver or gold balls, white shimmering powder, etc. When the icing is solid, thread the ribbon through the pre-cut holes and hang on your tree.
Bake the biscuits 1 week ahead and store in an airtight container. Ice them one day before desired to give time to set. The cookie dough can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. Gradually defrost in the fridge overnight. The cooked biscuits can be frozen in an airtight container for approximately 6 months.
This is a versatile recipe, for special diets you can substitute plain flour for gluten-free plain flour. For vegan you can use olive oil butter, and for eggs use vegetable oil; (be careful not to use too much oil and measure in a separate measuring jug before adding to the mixture).