Christmas is a time for fun. These Christmas biscuits are simple to make and of course the icing on top gives it an extra bonus, but they are delicious plain too. These could make great gifts if you are on a budget.

Makes about 30 (5-6cm diameter) biscuits.

INGREDIENTS:
210 grams plain flour (plus extra for dusting & rolling)
Pinch of salt
½ t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
½ t ground ginger
¼ t ground cloves
½ t ground black pepper
60 grams soft butter
60 grams soft brown sugar
1 large egg
2 T honey

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 160̇̇̇̇̇̇̇̇̇̇̇०C bake. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

In the kitchen wizz (food processor) put in all your dry ingredients (ie. everything except butter, egg and honey). Give it a 20 second blitz to mix the ingredients. Add in the butter while the processor is still going and stop after about another 20 seconds when combined well.

If your honey is not runny, microwave for 15-20 seconds on high to make it so. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and add in the honey – stirring well. Turn on the processor and dribble the egg/honey mix (may not need it all) till a nice firm dough has formed.

Turn out onto a floured surface. You may need to dust with a bit of flour and work that in if the dough is quite soft. You want a nice firm dough – similar to pastry. Once this is achieved wrap in cling-wrap or place in a container and chill for half an hour.

Once rested and chilled, dust your work surface with flour and turn dough out onto it. Roll out to about 4-5 mm thick and cut your shapes. Bring together all the uncut bits, knead for a few seconds till smooth and combined, roll out and cut more shapes. Repeat until all dough has been used. Place shapes on the baking paper lined oven tray and bake for approximately 16 minutes. Bear in mind that cooking time will differ depending on the shapes and sizes chosen. You want a nice golden biscuit without the edges getting scorched. Allow to go completely cold before decorating with royal icing.

ROYAL ICING:
The juice of one lemon
1 egg white
1 ½ cups of icing sugar (powdered sugar)
Colourings and decorations of choice

With electric beaters, beat the egg white in a bowl until soft peaks form. Add in 1 teaspoon only of lemon juice. Beat for a few more seconds to mix well. Then, gradually sift in the icing sugar ½ cup at a time and beating well in between additions. Beat for a good few minutes to get a nice smooth icing. At this point you can now split up the mixture into separate little bowls and add your different colourings according to your liking. Gel colourings are recommended but normal colourings are fine too, just add a little bit more icing sugar if your liquid colourings soften the mix too much. This consistency should be great for edge piping, loosen with more lemon juice for flooding.

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