Saturday, 29 December 2012

Merry Christmas (with biscuits)

We've had some sort of biscuits at home at Christmas for as long as I can remember, and a few years ago I started adapting a recipe for traditional Speculaas biscuits. As well as being super yummy, they also make great presents - either for Christmas presents or post-Christmas thank yous. Also you're allowed to make them after Christmas so long as you're still within the twelve days of it, I've decided. So GET BAKING PEOPLE.

- 200g/8oz plain flour
- 2tsp cinnamon
- 1tsp ground ginger
- 1tsp nutmeg
- 1tsp baking powder
- ½tsp salt
- 100g/4oz soft brown muscovado sugar
- 2tbsp milk
- 150g/5oz butter
- 2tbsp glacé ginger
- 1tbsp candied peel
- zest of 1 orange
- zest of ½ lemon
This is meant to make 24, but I used a variety of cutters and ended up getting 40. But honestly? You can't really have too many biscuits.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper
2. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and spices in a bowl, then rub in the butter. Add in the sugar, mixed peel, glacé ginger and zest and mix well to combine.
3. Add the milk, a little at a time, and use your hands to bring the mixture together into a soft dough.
4. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, and roll out to about 0.5cm thick. Cut out your shapes and use a spatula to help transfer them to the baking sheet.

Tip: there'll probably be bits of flour on the biscuits from rolling out - if you dip a soft brush or even just your finger in a bit of water you can use it to brush the flour off and ensure an even colour after baking
5. Bake for 15-18 minutes - they should be puffed up and turning golden brown. Let the biscuits cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

You can decorate them however you like - I mixed some icing sugar with the juice of half the orange I'd zested, put it in a plastic bag, cut off the tip and iced around the edges of my shapes. I also stuck on some dried cranberries, and added edible glitter to a few for that extra festive sparkle.

So, enjoy! A very merry Christmas to you all from myself and Zosia, and all the best for your 2013s!

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