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Christmas Cookies: A Success Story...

When I was a little girl I remember spending magical Christmases with my extended family in New Hampshire. My great grandmother would make ‘hard sauce’ for Christmas pudding. Hard sauce is basically butter, sugar and a whole lotta brandy. Needless to say my great grandmother was usually in good spirits! I also remember making sugar cookies with my sister, mum, aunt and grandmother. I loved these cookies that would be cut out in the most wonderful festive shapes: bells, angels, wreaths and Christmas trees. Special care would be taken in decorating them with silver bells, chocolate bits and hundreds and thousands.

Of course some cookies would be left out for Santa, along with the smoked oysters and 12-year old scotch that my father convinced my sister and I that Santa would appreciate. I remember one year we decided Father Christmas would like a generous amount of Heinz ketchup poured over top of the smoked oysters – to this day I am sure I saw my dad cry….

Anyway it has been years since I have had sugar cookies but I still think of them fondly. Last year my grandfather sent me the recipe we used, however my cookies puffed up and morphed into hideous shapes. Definitely not festive looking although they tasted good. This year I have been on the hunt for a recipe that works – I am still not sure what happened with last years batch – but I sense self raising flour may be the cause. I have seen other recipes that use it but i have avoided them for fear of a repeat. This is the year for properly shaped cookies and I managed to get them!The decorations are a bit iffy but it’s my first time with a piping bag. My husband had a go and managed to completely ice the front of his trousers…..

Next year my cookies will be even better but this year I am just delighted that they look like cookies!

I want to thank all the wonderful bakers and chefs on Twitter who helped me: special mentions to Lisa at ParsleyNSage and Carolyn at AllDayIDreamAboutFood

In the end I found an easy to follow recipe at the BBC Food site

Here is their recipe for Christmas Biscuits


100g / 3.5 OZ unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

100g / 3.5 OZ caster sugar

1 free-range egg, lightly beaten

275g / 10oz plain flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the decorations

400g / 14oz icing sugar

3-4 Tbsp water

2-3 drops food colourings

Edible glitter


Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F / Gas 5

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale, light and fluffy

Beat the egg and vanilla extract, a little at a time, until well combined

Stir in the flour until the mixture comes together as a dough

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 1cm / 1/2in

Using biscuit cutters or a glass, cut the biscuits out of the dough and carefully place onto the baking tray

To make into Christmas tree decorations, carefully make a hole in the top of the biscuit using a straw

Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes, or until pale golden-brown

Set aside to harden to harden for 5 minutes, then cool on a wire rack

For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir in enough water to create a smooth mixture, stir in the food colouring

Carefully spread the icing onto the biscuits using a knife and sprinkle over the glitter

Set aside until the icing hardens

Enjoy and have a lovely holiday! x