The presents are sorted, the Christmas cake is ready for decorating, and the festive celebrations are reaching their peak: what better way to enjoy the final days in the run-up to Christmas than with some tasty seasonal baking for the whole family to get involved in. See below for a great recipe for gingerbread biscuits, as well as a bonus craft project that’ll have your home smelling delightfully fragrant throughout the festive season.
Christmas Recipe – Gingerbread Biscuits
Makes 20 large or 28 small biscuits
225 g/8 oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75 g/3 oz butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp black treacle
75 g/3 oz soft dark brown sugar
50 g/2 oz royal icing sugar, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4 and grease two baking sheets. Sift the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl.
Place the butter, syrup, treacle and sugar in a heavy-based pan with 1 tablespoon water and heat gently until every grain of sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Cool for 5 minutes, then pour the melted mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough.
Leave the dough, covered, for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 3 mm/1/8 inch thickness and cut out fancy shapes. Gather up the trimmings and re-roll the dough, cutting out more shapes. Place on the baking sheets using a palette knife and bake for about 10 minutes until golden and firm. Be careful not to overcook, as the biscuits will brown quickly.
Decorate the biscuits by mixing the royal icing sugar with enough water to make a piping consistency. Place the icing in a small paper piping bag with the end snipped away and pipe faces and decorations onto the biscuits.
Christmas Craft – How To Make Pomanders
Pomanders have been used since Medieval times for filling rooms with beautiful fragrance. To make a pomander, use a toothpick or knitting needle to make holes in an orange or other round fruit, and then push cloves into them. It’s best to space the cloves evenly and use quite a few; you can always arrange them into patterns. If you’d like to add some other scents to your pomander then simply put some spices (such as cinnamon, nutmeg or orris root) into a resealable plastic bag. Next place your pomander into the bag and shake until covered in the spices, and allow to dry in a warm place. Then display however you wish.