Saturday, December 15, 2007

Spiced biscuits for Christmas

With just 10 days to go until Christmas Day, it's time to get serious about Christmas baking. Now is the time to organise ingredients and a timetable for making sweet little edible gifts. My files are bulging with ideas, including recipes for gingerbread, nougat, shortbread, chocolate fudge or truffles, panforte and mince tarts. It's just a matter of deciding what to make. There are some old favourites that I love to make every year but I also like to try something new each year.

Last year, I gave little boxes of chocolate fudge and pistachio and cranberry nougat. I planned to repeat the process this year until I ran into the great liquid glucose brick wall. Last year, liquid glucose was on the shelf at my supermarket but this year it's nowhere to be seen and the local health food shop is out of stock.

With the clock ticking, as I needed my gifts ready for the next day when we were catching up with several groups of friends, the fudge was fine but I had to quickly come up with something else to accompany it. I wanted something quick and simple but with a Christmas theme, so I decided to give a festive twist to my grandmother's burnt butter biscuit recipe by adding some spices commonly associated with Christmas. The result was so good that I may make the spiced version far more often than the original!

These biscuits are another entry into Susan from Food Blogga's "Eat Christmas Cookies" event (in which I've previously entered lebkuchen). This event, which has been running all month, is a great source of inspiration and is providing me with a whole lot more biscuit recipes for my already massive file. Recipes have been posted from all around the world and it's been fascinating to learn about different traditions and ingredients, not to mention the lovely stories that accompany these recipes.

These little biscuits are extremely easy to make, keep well, are easy to store and transport as gifts and will be quickly devoured!


115g butter
115g caster sugar
1 egg
200g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon each of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom
almonds for decoration (optional)

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat until it is a light brown colour. Cool. Add the caster sugar and beat to a cream, then add the egg and beat well. Sift the flour and spices together and mix in until you have a soft dough. Roll into small balls and press half an almond in each (this is optional. The biscuits are just as nice without the almonds, so please leave out if you're worried about nut allergies). Leave room on the tray for the biscuits to spread. Cook in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius) for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


Susan from Food Blogga said...

Thanks for sharing a simple and easily transportable cookie, Melinda. It's so nice to have recipes like this when you're planning on giving edible gifts. Your friends and family are lucky! -Susan

Deborah said...

I had every intention to send out homemade goodies this year, but time has just flown away from me...

Your cookies look wonderful!

Cakelaw said...

These look devine - I would be very happy to receive them in my Christmas box!