1. Shortbread cookies – makes 12 biscuits
Ingredients: 500 g butter – softened, 200g caster sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 500 g plain flour
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / Gas mark 4
2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
3. Stir in vanilla and add flour. Beat the mixture until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
4. Roll out your mixture to 1 cm thickness. Cut out the dough with your favorite cutters, or make them round and emboss with your holiday themed stamp/plunger.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
6. Once the biscuits are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a wire rack and set aside to cool completely.
7. Use your imagination and decorate your cookies with frosting, rolled out icing, add non-pareils, pearls, sprinkle… In order for your decoration to stick to the cookie use some edible glue or a small amount of jam dissolved with a few drops of water. Apply with a brush and decorate!
2. Basic recipe for holiday cookies – makes about 20 biscuits
Perfect to be rolled out and cut with shaped biscuit cutters to make your own festive cookies.
Ingredients: 200 g unsalted butter (at room temperature), 200g caster sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 egg, 400g plain flour, pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, royal icing to decorate
1. preheat oven to 170 degrees C / gas mark 3.
2. Cream the butter, vanilla extract and sugar with a mixer till light and fluffy.
3. Add the egg and mix well.
4. Add the flour, salt and cream of tartar and mix well but do not overmix. The dough should be light, soft and easy to handle
5. Dust a clean working surface with flour and roll the dough with a rolling pin. Cut out the shapes with your cutters. Arrange on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
6. Bake for about 10 minutes, checking constantly that they are not burning. The cookies should be very light golden on the edges and pale in the center.
7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before turning on a wire rack. Once they cool completely you can decorate them with the royal icing.
Royal icing for decoration: 1 egg white, 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 310 g of icing sugar, food colouring. Beat the lemon juice and the egg white together with and electric mixer. Gradually start adding the icing sugar, mixing well after each addition. Whisk until you get stiff peaks. If the icing is too runny, add a little more sugar. Stir in a couple of drops of food colouring and decorate the cookies. We recommend the use of small size greaseproof paper bags (you can find in our store under the piping tools section) for the decoration of your cookies if you want to pipe shapes, lines, dots .. onto your cookies or simply use your knife to evenly spread a layer over your cookies.
*made two dozens the other day, but the kids finished them before I was able to decorate them. (Picture above)
These fabulous dough does not necessarily have to be used with gingerbread man cookie cutters (available in three sizes packs -visit our store ) but it is so much fun to decorate them individually.
TIP: Make the dough one day in advance
Ingredients: 400 g plain flour, 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, a pinch of salt, 180 g unsalted butter, 100 g dark brown sugar, 1 egg, 125 g golden syrup, royal icing for decoration (use the above given recipe).
1.Stir in a bowl all the dried ingredients – flour + all spices + bicarbonate of soda + salt. Mix well and set aside
2. Whisk the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and golden syrup. Mix well.
3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix well after each addition.
4. Once an even dough is formed divide the dough and wrap in cling film. Leave in fridge overnight to rest.
5. When you want to bake the cookies preheat oven to 170 degrees C / gas mark 3
6. Take the dough out of the fridge and leave to soften. Roll our to 4 mm thickness, and cut with cookie cutters. Place on baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Leave the cookies to cool completely.
8. Set your imagination to work and decorate! If you have used the gingerbread man cookie cutter, bring out a different personality from each one of your cookies. If not then make a Christmas tree, a snowflake, a star or whatever you may think of and decorate to make them unique.