Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Cookies

The time between my last post at the end of October to now, one week away from Christmas, has gone by with the blink of an eye.

With social aspects of my life taking centre stage of late, I have been left with little time to bake, take photos and blog. I have really missed it, particularly after seeing some of the great things people have been creating on my favourite blogs.

Being one of those people that declares Christmas as their favourite time of the year, I could not miss out on doing a festive post.

A house filled with lit up Christmas scented candles, blaringly loud festive tunes and a batch of snow white frosted star shaped cookies later and I'm filled with so much joy and Christmasy good feeling.

I hope you are all enjoying the festive season too. 

These cookies, recipe by the ultimate advocate for Christmas baking and food, Nigella Lawson, are lovely. I was abit dubious about the addition of the pepper but it works nicely with the aromatic notes of the cloves and cinnamon. These are definitely going to be a regular part of my Christmas baking repertoire from now on.


  • 300g plain flour, plus more for dusting 
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1–2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 
  • 100g soft butter
  • 100g soft dark sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten with 4 x 15ml table-spoons runny honey

  • 300g instant royal icing, from a packet 
  • edible gold or silver balls or sprinkles 
  • florists’ ribbon for hanging

Serves: 35 - 40

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and preheat the oven to 170°C/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 freezer bag, in the fridge while you get started on the other.
  4. Then dust a work surface with flour, roll out the disc, also floured, to about 5mm and cut out your Christmas decorations with cutters of your choice, which could include fir-tree shapes, angels, stars, snowflakes, and so on.
  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.
  6. Now take a small icing nozzle and use the pointy end to cut out a hole just below the top of each biscuit (through which ribbon can later be threaded).
  7. 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.
  8. Make up the instant royal icing, beating it until it’s thick enough to be able to cover the biscuits with a just-dripping blanket of white; but don’t beat it for as long as the packet says or you’ll have icing so thick it will need to be spread with a spatula and you won’t get such a neat outline.
  9. Carefully ice the cold decorations, using a teaspoon (the tip for dripping, the back for smoothing), and scatter sparkles or sprinkles as you like. When the icing is set, thread ribbon through the holes and hang on your tree.


Make the biscuits up to 1 week ahead and store in an airtight container. Ice the biscuits the day before needed to allow them plenty of time to set.


The raw cookie dough can be made and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge overnight.  The cooked biscuits can be made and frozen in sealable bags for up to 6 months.