The lead up to Christmas gets me excited for lots of different reasons, and in recent years it has helped to spark a creativity that had been lying dormant and unfulfilled. Planning a cake for a family gathering, baking edible gifts for friends or making decorations all give me a sense of calm that I can struggle to achieve otherwise. Although I do all these things throughout the year, Christmas combines one present-giving event for everyone with long dark evenings, perfect for cosying up with a project.
After the Gingerbread House Cake I made last year I wanted to go back to basics with biscuits this year. Whilst browsing Pinterest I found a great looking no spread recipe from The Kitchen Paper that I had to try – you can never have too many biscuit recipes! As a big fan of allspice, I added some in place of cloves, and added in some orange flavouring to really get the Christmas spirit going. I tried orange liquor in another batch but the flavour didn’t come through as well.
I sat and decorated these little guys wearing lots of layers and looking out onto a snow-covered garden. We’ve had a few days of proper snow here in the midlands and the effect is distractingly beautiful. My little snowy trees don’t quite have the same level of majesty, but they are pretty as a picture.
My top tip for biscuit decorating is incredibly simple and will keep your decorating quality control, and fuel you through the process. If you decorate a biscuit and you aren’t happy with the result, eat it. Easy! And delicious.
If you don’t have any Christmas cookie cutters, not a problem. Ice snowflakes on plain circles, or letters to santa on rectangles. Even pigs and dinosaurs look festive in gingerbread, so let your imagination run riot.
Gingerbread Christmas Biscuits (Biscuit recipe lightly adapted from The Kitchen Paper)
Ingredients: Gingerbread Christmas Biscuits
380g plain flour
1tbsp ground ginger
2tsp ground cinnamon
85g butter, at room temperature
130g dark brown sugar
140g black treacle
1tsp orange extract
Method: Gingerbread Christmas Biscuits
- In a bowl whisk together the flour and spices to combine.
- In another bowl cream together the butter and sugar until combine but not fluffy. (By hand or by mixer)
- Add the egg and beat to just combine.
- Add the treacle and orange extract, beat to just combine.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix to form a dough.
- Roll out on a floured surface and cut into shapes.
- Bake at 170C for 7-9mins. Leave to cool.
Recipe: Vegan Royal Icing (recipe from Black Food Bloggers Club)
40g aquafaba (the drained liquid from a can of chickpeas or beans)
285g icing sugar
1/2 tsp orange flavouring
- Whisk the aquafaba for a minute until frothy. Beat in the icing sugar and flavour until combined. Then beat on medium for 5-7 minutes, then on low for a few minutes (to get rid of any big air bubbles).
- Put in a piping bag with a fine tip and ice to your heart’s content.