Nadolig Llawen! Merry Christmas! I know, I know... I have been absent for a month. I have been occupied by Christmas fayres, carol concerts and nativity plays, not to mention the shopping, the baking... oh and the day job. Something had to give and I'm afraid it was the blog. I have been feeling guilty about failing to inspire in the run up to Christmas. Then I heard Chris Evans on his Radio 2 breakfast show. He was explaining how he and his wife had decided that this year they were avoiding Christmas celebrations until Christmas Eve and continuing the festivities right through the traditional twelve days of Christmas. Unfortunately, by the time I was listening to this it was too late for our household; the tree was already up and Evie had already sat on Santa's knee thanks to her school holding their fayre in November. Nevertheless, I think this is a lovely sentiment and one I am going to try and go for wholeheartedly next year. Just starting to think about Christmas in this way has changed my mindset. It is all too easy to get carried away with the logistics of Christmas Day and forget that though its presents and culinary traditions are an important part of the celebrations it is actually only a small part of the whole holiday. So, as I sit in a mess of torn wrapping paper, watching Evie busily play with her new toys and open her fifth chocolate before breakfast I am excited about the fun to come: baking and crafts with Evie; family winter walks followed by lazy, comforting meals; ice-skating; teaching Evie to ride her new scooter; having time for my family and myself. This is better than any present anyone could buy. So, really the festive season has only just started and I am kicking it off with gingerbread biscuits.
I first made this gingerbread for my sister's wedding. We made snowflake shapes for the favours. It is easy to roll out fairly thinly, holds its shape and doesn't rise too much in the oven, perfect for decorative gingerbread biscuits. But more importantly, it tastes good and fills the kitchen with deliciously sweet-spiced Christmas scents.
Makes approximately 24 medium sized biscuits.
100g. light muscovado sugar
4 tbsp. golden syrup
325g. plain flour
1tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together on a low heat. Allow to cool.
Mix in the other ingredients to form a dough. Roll into a ball and squash down into a disk shaped slab. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for half an hour or a couple of days until needed.
When you are ready to make your cookies preheat your oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with parchment. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to no more than 1/2 cm. thickness. Cut into shapes and place on the baking sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden.
Allow to cool and decorate. Here I used piped royal icing and edible glitter on the snowflakes and on the round biscuits I cut out ready rolled icing disks and stamped them using acrylic stampers and an edible ink pad fashioned from food colouring gel soaked kitchen paper. What better way to spend a festive afternoon? Happy holidays. Vx