Tag Archives: holiday baking

Things I have been cooking lately #100: Spicy holiday cookies

Is there anything more tantalising than the smell of Xmas cookies baking in the kitchen? Probably not, which is why I decided to whip up a few batches to give to friends and family as gifts this festive season.

They make a delicious, personal and fun gift especially if you decide to decorate them. I have provided the ingredients for a basic glacé icing but you can use store bought icing, royal icing, chocolate or any combination of the above. Just make sure you start about 2 days before you want to package them because they take at least 24 hours to dry.

Spiced holiday cookies

Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

For the cookies

200g butter at room temperature
280g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
400g flour plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
A pinch of cloves
A pinch of nutmeg
A pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the icing
2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons water or milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food colouring (optional)

To make the cookies preheat your oven to 170 degrees and line 2 – 3 cookie sheets with greaseproof paper.

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until well combined, using a rubber spatula to scrape down any unmixed ingredients. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined but do not overmix. The electric mixer probably won’t bring your dough together into a ball so don’t be afraid to get your hands involved.

Now dust a clean flat work surface with flour and place the dough on it (if you are working in a little apartment kitchen like me expect to do this in several batches). Roll The dough to about 3mm thick using a rolling pin. It can tend to stick so make sure you dust the dough, surface and rolling pin with flour regularly. Cut out shapes using festive cookie cutters. I did Santas, reindeer and snowflakes. Evenly space out the cookies on the prepared trays and bake on the middle shelf of the oven. The baking time will depend on your cookie size but you’re probably looking at 5 – 10 minutes. I would suggest checking regularly. You want them to be just golden on the edges and pale in the centre. Allow the cookies to cool for a couple of minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Keep rerolling and cutting your dough until it is finished.

To make the icing sift the icing sugar and then add the water or milk, vanilla and food colouring if using. Beat together with a fork until smooth.

When the cookies are completely cool decorate using a piping bag or even just spread on with a knife or teaspoon.

Leave the cookies to dry for at least 24 hours before packaging.

Makes 30 -50 depending on the size of your cutters

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