These delightful Christmas cookies can double as pretty tree decorations

Get the whole family involved in filling the biscuit tin with this delicious recipe that’s easy to make — and easy on the budget

02 December 2020 - 10:22 By hilary biller
These Christmas cookies would make great gifts.
These Christmas cookies would make great gifts.
Image: Jenny Kay

Makes: 36 biscuits

Ingredients:

250g butter (you could use baking margarine if you prefer)

250ml (1 cup) light brown sugar

2 extra large eggs

900ml (3 ½ cups) cake flour

20ml (4 tsp) ground mixed spice (if you’d prefer them plain leave out the spice and add 5ml/1 tsp vanilla essence)

Royal icing:

4 egg whites

1,000ml (4 cups) icing sugar, sifted

Green and red food colouring

Ready-made icing holly leaves and other small decorations of choice

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar well (an electric mixer makes this much easier).
  3. Add the eggs and beat well.
  4. Sift in the flour and spice, if using, and mix to make a stiff dough.
  5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thick. Cut out the desired shapes — we did rounds for Christmas puds, a scalloped biscuit cutter for festive wreaths (using a small round cutter to remove the centre), and candy cane shapes.
  6. If you’ll be using the cookies as Christmas tree decorations, use a large knitting needle or kebab stick to make a hole at the top of each biscuit through which to thread a piece of string once they’re baked.
  7. Transfer the biscuits to a greased baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes. You can bake multiple trays of biscuits at once if using the fan setting on your oven. If not, it’s best to bake them in batches, one at a time.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow the biscuits to cool on the baking tray(s).
  9. For the icing, beat the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until foamy.
  10. Add the icing sugar to the egg whites and, covering the mixer with a dish cloth (so icing sugar doesn’t splash everywhere), beat on a low speed until it’s incorporated. Then beat on a high speed until thickened.
  11. Place ¾ of the icing in a large piping bag with straight nozzle and divide the remaining icing into two separate bowls. Add a drop of green colouring to one and red to another and mix through, adding more if necessary. Place the red and green icing into individual small piping bags. Royal icing dries out very quickly, so fold the bags so it doesn’t dry out.
  12. Ice your cookies — see below. Once the icing is completely set, transfer the cookies to an airtight container or, if you'll be using them as decorations, thread with string and hang from your Christmas tree.

HOW TO ICE YOUR CHRISTMAS COOKIES

Christmas puddings: Pipe white icing on one side of the biscuit adding four “drips” and allow to set. Add dots of red icing for “cherries” and a small holly decoration.

How to ice Christmas pudding cookies, step by step.
How to ice Christmas pudding cookies, step by step.
Image: Jenny Kay

Festive wreaths: Pipe white icing to cover the biscuit and allow to set. Add evenly spaced green dots all the way round. Pull the tip of a toothpick through the green icing to create two green “leaves” and a line joining them. Add red dots as “berries”.

How to ice festive wreath cookies, step by step.
How to ice festive wreath cookies, step by step.
Image: Jenny Kay

Candy canes: Pipe white icing over the top of the biscuit and allow to set. Add a small green dots evenly over the cane then pull the tip of a toothpick through the green icing to create “leaves” and lines and add a trio of red dots on the leaves for the mistletoe.


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