Christmas Tree Cookie Ornaments
- Yield: 20-30 pieces
- Cook: 10-12 minutes
Hanging the tree with spiced biscuits is one of those Martha Stewart moments that we are inclined to experience at this time of year, however lapsed we may be during the rest of it. The good bit being that you can get your children to make them: older ones can do the baking while younger ones can decorate them. But it’s worth saving the hanging until Christmas Eve or just before, not only to keep them fresh, as they soften within a day, but because otherwise, as with tree chocolates, the tree will have been denuded come Christmas Day. —Annie Bell
- 3 1/2tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar
- 1/4cup honey
- 2 1/4cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2teaspoon baking soda
- 1teaspoon ground ginger and cinnamon
- 1/2 beaten medium egg
- vegetable oil for brushing
- white royal icing to decorate
- silver balls (optional)
- Gently heat butter, sugar and honey together in a small saucepan, stirring until melted and smooth. Working off the heat, add the dry ingredients and stir until crumbly, then add the egg and work to a dough. If it seems very sticky you can add a little more flour. Transfer this on to a work surface, form it into a ball, then pat it between your palms until you have a pleasingly smooth and shiny dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap, leave to cool, then chill for several hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350F, and brush a couple of baking sheets with vegetable oil. Thinly roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of about 1/8-inch thickness and cut out the desired shapes using cookie cutters. Roll the dough twice, arranging the biscuits on cookie sheets—they don’t spread much, so you can place them quite close together. If you are planning on hanging them, make a hole at the top of each one using a skewer.
- Bake cookies for 10–12 minutes until an even pale gold; the lower sheet may take longer than the upper one. The holes will have closed up a little, so make them a bit larger using the skewer. Loosen the cookies with an offset spatula—it’s important to do this straight away, before they harden and become brittle. Transfer to a rack to cool. Ice and decorate them as you like, and leave to set for an hour or two. They can be stored in an airtight container, un-iced or iced, for several weeks. Thread them with thin ribbon if you are planning on hanging them.
Excerpted from Gorgeous Christmas by Annie Bell (Kyle Books). Copyright © 2009.