Another week, another festive recipe! Cookies are an integral part of Christmas for me as well as so many other people – when you bite into one of these, you are instantly transported to Christmas eve.
I love handing out these cookies to family and friends in the weeks leading up to Christmas – there’s no better way to spread festive cheer (other than singing loud for all to hear).
Taste wise, these cookies are the perfect balance between crunchy and soft, with the taste of brown sugar and almond, and fluffy royal icing. Recipe adapted from Bake at 350.
- 230g soft unsalted butter
- 1 cup golden caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 3.5 cups plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
Cookie time! First, preheat your oven to 180c/gas 4/350f and then lets make our dough. Mix your butter and caster sugar together until combined, light and fluffy, and then add your egg, and vanilla and almond extracts. If you’re using a mixer, add your flour one cup at a time with the motor running on low speed, or if you’re mixing by hand, just beat in one cup of flour at a time before adding the next.
The dough will be crumbly and thick, so at this point stop mixing, and use your hands to smush the dough together into one large ball. Wrap in clingfilm and put into the freezer for 15 minutes (I always want cookies sooner rather than later, you could also put them in the fridge for one hour).
Remove your clingfilm and knead the dough to loosen it up, and cut it in half (its easier to work with half the dough at once). Sprinkle plenty of flour onto your worksurface and rolling pin, and roll the dough out to about a half a centimentre thickness.
Cut out in holly leaves, Christmas trees, stars, angels and whatever other Christmas shapes you desire, and bake on greased baking sheets for 12-15 minutes.
To make the icing –
- 3 tbsp meringue powder (I used dr oetker)
- 4 cups icing sugar, sieved
- 3/4 cup hot water
Mix your meringue powder and icing sugar in a mixer, and then add the hot water gradually. Run the mixer on high for 7-8 minutes, until the mixture is billowy, soft and glossy.
Decant into additional bowls so you can add gel colouring for red/green frosting, and then use outline the cookies with the frosting (I use a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off). Once the outlines are set, flood the inside of the cookies with a slightly watered down version of the frosting, using the tip of a toothpick to guide the icing into the corners. Decorate with sprinkles, stars and Christmassy glitter.
These cookies taste best made and eaten with friends.