We are now counting the hours rather than the days to Christmas in our house. School's out and the excitement is mounting. Those last few pre-Christmas days are my favourite: the anticipation, the wrapping, the baking, those final touches. It's during this time each year that I find a morning to bake biscuits with my two young children. It's messy, sticky and at times rather chaotic, but they really do enjoy it.
My children love to make these stained glass style biscuits which can be hung on the Christmas tree or given as gifts if wrapped nicely in cellophane and donned with a ribbon bow. These biscuits are quick and easy to make so ideal for young children to help with. However, if you would rather indulge in making these without the extra help of little hands, then that is also fine. Put some festive tunes on the radio, turn on the fairy lights, pour yourself a festive tipple and let your creative juices flow.
With this being my last post for 2012, I wish all Heart Home readers a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. See you back in the Kitchen in 2013.
Christmas Tree Biscuits
350g/12 oz plain flour 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 2 tsp ground ginger 1/2 tsp salt 100g (4 oz) butter 175g (6 oz) soft brown sugar 1 egg 4 tbsp golden syrup different coloured fruit flavoured boiled sweets narrow ribbon
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar. Beat together the egg and golden syrup and mix into the flour mixture to make a smooth dough, kneading lightly with your hands.
Crush the sweets in their wrappers using a rolling pin. Sprinkle flour on a clean work surface and roll out the dough until about 1/2cm (1/4in) thick, then cut into shapes using a selection of Christmas Cookie cutters. Transfer to lined baking sheets.
Cut out shapes in the centre of each biscuit, making sure you leave a good edge all around the biscuit. Completely fill the hole in each biscuit with crushed boiled sweets.
Make a hole at the top of each biscuit using a drinking straw so that you will be able to thread a ribbon through it later. Bake for 11-12 minutes until golden.
While the biscuits are still warm, check the holes are still there, otherwise push a straw through again. Do not remove the biscuits from the baking tray until they have cooled as the boiled sweets need to harden. Once the sweets have hardened, gently lift the biscuits onto a wire rack with a palette knife to finish cooling.
You can decorate the biscuits with piped white icing. Thread ribbons through the holes to make loops for hanging.