Friday, 27 November 2009

Christmas food recipe

Courtesey of Nigella Lawson!!

To make ~35-40 biscuits:

~300g plain flour, plus more for dusting
~pinch of salt
~1 teaspoon baking powder
~1 teaspoon cinnamon
~1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
~1-2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
~100g soft butter
~100g soft dark sugar
~2 large eggs, beaten with 4x15ml tablespoons runny honey

1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and preheat oven to 170C/gas mark 3

2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and pepper in a food processor and, with the motor on, add the butter and sugar, then slowly, the beaten eggs and honey, though don't use all of this liquid if the pastry has come together before it's used up.

3. Form 2 fat discs and put one, covered in clingfilm or in a freeze bag, in the fridge while you get started on the other.

4. Dust a work surface with flour, roll out the disc, also floured, to about 5mm and cut out your Christmas decorations.

5. Re-roll and cut out some more, setting aside the residue from this first disc, well covered, while you get on with rolling out the second. When you've got both sets of leftover clumps of dough, roll out and cut out again, and keep doing so till all the dough's used up.
(If you want to hang them on the tree, then you can use a small icing nozzle and use the pointy end to cut a hole just below the top of each biscuit, through which a ribbon can later be threaded)

6. Arrange the pastry shapes on the lined baking sheets and cook for about 20 minutes; it's hard to see when they're cooked, but you can feel; if the underside is no longer doughy, they're ready. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Once they're cooled, you can ice them and scatter sparkles or sprinkles. Once the icing is set, thread ribbon through the holes and hang on your tree.

Now, as you can see from the ingredients list, the cookies will be spicy, perfect for Christmas, but if you don't fancy that, just omit the ground cloves and black pepper, and keep the cinnamon. Or if you want, you can use some vanilla essence instead of the cinnamon, and mix a teaspoon with the eggs and honey!