Growing up it was never a big tradition in my household to bake non stop in the lead up to Christmas. Of course, mum would make her annual Christmas fruit cake months before the big day, but other than that she wasn’t much for making biscuits or other tasty treats. Don’t get me wrong on Christmas day my mother always went completely overboard and the table would positively groan with the amount and variation of desserts she would lay out (trifle being a real star of the show).
However, since I have found my love of baking (and it’s no secret that I love Christmas), I am embracing the baking fervour that has started in the blogging world and I’m adding to it with my version of a Christmas spiced biscuit.
This biscuit was inspired by Andrea at The Kitchen Lioness who has been blogging about the most beautiful European Christmas treats, but it was her gingerbread biscotti that caught my eye. More specifically her gingerbread spice mix that went into the biscotti. As soon as I read the ingredient list my over active imagination was coming up with recipes that I could use it in.
While these biscuits were baking the most wonderful aroma of all the spices wafted through the house. It was hard to distinguish between them all: cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise; it was all there teasing and tempting us. It called for some Christmas music, so with “Let it Snow” playing in the background I pulled the biscuits out of the oven. Of course, the temptation was too much to wait for these biscuits to cool; we ate a couple warm from the oven – Yum! If you can wait, these biscuits are even better iced and eaten the next day once all the spices have infused.
I have always loved the idea of edible Christmas decorations, but the realities of living in sub tropical Queensland means that it just isn’t going to happen. Still I went with the inspiration and gave these away as Christmas gifts.
Christmas Spice Biscuits
Makes 17 x 6cm round biscuits
- 200gm plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice mix
- 50gm dark brown sugar
- 100gm salted butter, cubed
- 50gm golden syrup.
Place the flour, baking powder, spice mix and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix well.
Add butter and mix on a low speed until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Add golden syrup and mix.
The mixture won’t fully come together, scrape out mixture onto the bench and press together.
Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge until ready to use (I made my mixture the night before).
Bring dough back to room temperature when you are ready to use it and roll out between two sheets of baking paper to approx. 3-5mm thick. Use your favourite Christmas shaped cutters to cut dough. Use a piping nozzle to put a hole in the top of the biscuit then place biscuits on a tray lined with baking paper. The scraps of dough can be gathered together and re rolled and cut into biscuits until all the dough is used.
Place the trays of biscuits in the fridge to chill (at least an hour).
Preheat oven to 170°C and bake for 15-18 minutes.
Remove from heat, allow biscuits to cool for 5 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
Use a piping bag and a number 2 nozzle to pipe the outside lines of the biscuits with royal icing. I have used a store bought variety of icing. Use a thicker consistency to pipe the outside lines, I follow the direction on the packet and find that is thick enough to hold it’s shape (keep some icing aside for the words on top).
Add some red gel colour to the icing and mix, add more gel until you reach the desired colour. Add a small amount of water and mix together to get a thick but pouring consistency. Once again start with a small amount and then add more water if you need it – if you go too thin it will run off the biscuit.
I use a squeeze bottle with a screw on nozzle (as recommended in the Biscuiteers book) to squeeze the pouring icing onto the biscuit.
Wait for the icing to dry a little then pipe words on top of the biscuit.
Place all the biscuits back on a baking tray lined with paper and place back in the oven @ 120°C for 30 minutes to allow the biscuits to dry off.
Remove from oven.
Place on wire racks and allow biscuits to cool completely.
Thread ribbon through the hole and tie in a knot at the top.