Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Christmas Countdown: Crunchy Christmas Cookies

Less than 2 weeks to go!!!  If you've been following my Christmas Countdown series you'll already have your Christmas fruit cake wrapped up and ready to marzipan and ice (not long to go I promise!) and if you haven't already tried them you'll have chocolate in the fridge and dried cranberries in the cupboard ready for the White Chocolate and Cranberry muffins.

The next recipe in my Christmas Countdown series are these utterly delicious Crunchy Christmas Cookies.  What I love about these cookies is that they're so versatile; you can hang them on the tree for a foodie festive paradise, wrap them and give them as extra special gifts, have them on the table when your family and friends pop by, or just keep them as a special "you deserve it" treat after you've spent hours buying and wrapping all of those Christmas presents!

The cookies are crunchy, crumbly and buttery and the almond gives them a light, nutty flavour and an incredible Christmassy fragrance, the kitchen will smell amazing!  You can also decorate them however you like so not only will they taste delicious, they'll look fantastic too!

Crunchy Christmas Cookies


500g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
125g golden caster sugar
2tbsp ground almonds
125g butter, melted
1 large egg
60ml milk
1tsp almond essence

In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, caster sugar and ground almonds and mix together with a wooden spoon until well combined, make a well in the centre.

Pour in the melted butter, egg, milk and almond essence and stir together with a wooden spoon, then use your hands to bring the dough together.  When the dough is smooth, even coloured and all traces of flour have gone, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper, leave to one side.  Lightly dust a surface with some flour and knead the dough a little until smooth and pliable. 

Roll out the dough to about 5mm thick, take a cutter of your choice, dip in some flour and start cutting out shapes.  Keep bringing the dough back together, re-rolling and cutting until you have used all of the dough, you'll have about 25-30 cookies depending on the cutter sizes.

Place the cookies on the baking trays, evenly spaced to allow for spreading and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden.  Leave to cool on the trays for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely...then it's decorating time!

Belle's Top Tip
Once cooled you can decorate these cookies however you like!  As you can see I used various cutters and different decorating techniques.  You can drizzle over icing and dust with edible glitter, use a food colouring pen to draw on Christmas patterns, or how about Christmas trees covered in green royal icing and red icing baubles...the choice is yours!