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Christmas Cookies

Christmas Tree - Green copy 2

Christmas Cookies.

Tis the season to be jolly – and having fun making all those tasty and yummy specialities that we love to eat at Christmas.  Living on the east coast of England, East Yorkshire in fact, our favourite family food to enjoy at Christmas must be influenced by so many factors, and so many ethnic groups.  For my own family, we are a total mix, going back the years, even centuries, of Dutch, Swiss, French, and maybe even Viking genes, so who knows where our ‘foodie’ ideas come from?

But one of the fun things we love to make at Christmas is Christmas Cookies, spicy ones, and, if we don’t eat them all too quickly, they will often enhance the Christmas Tree, dangling from curly Christmas ribbon off the tree’s very decorated branches.  This year I discovered the most brilliant Snowflake Christmas Cookie Cutters from Lakeland, one of our most respected Merchants,  and just had to send off for them – I also treated my two lovely daughter-in-laws to a set as an early Christmas present, to have fun with my granddaughters. Click Here to go straight through to Lakeland and have a good luck at these and all their fabulous cutters.

 

Snowflake Cookie Cutters - Lakeland


Snowflake Cookie Cutters – Lakeland

These may look tough and almost industrial, but the Christmas Cookies that are created by these Snowflake Cookie Cutters are delicate and beautiful.

Snowflake Christmas Cookies

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Snowflake Christmas Cookies – courtesy of Lakeland UK

When I buy such as these cutters, I read the reviews first, and realised that some people had difficulties in cutting out these shapes.  So I did my usual research to find the ideal recipe and way of using these cutters, using the advice of both Lakeland and the positive reviews of Lakeland customers, and came up with these ideas and advice as to how to make the best Christmas Cookies.  I hope it helps you.

Basic Recipe for Vanilla Christmas Cookies

Basic Recipe for Vanilla Christmas Cookies taken from the Lakeland 3D Christmas Cutters (& suggestions to make a bit more interesting)

Ingredients:

300g unsalted butter, softened

300g caster sugar (could also try Dark Muscovado Sugar for more flavour)

2 small eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

600g plain flour, sifted

For decoration choose from:

Icing sugar

Tubes of writing icing

Edible glitter and lustre colours

Sprinkles

Silver bobbles

I would try to add maybe:

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp Christmas or mixed spice

You don’t want to make the mix too dry, so be careful.

Method:

  1. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C (160Fan) or Gas 4
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the beaten eggs, vanilla and salt (and any of the spices) and mix well. Gradually add the flour and mix until all incorporated. Bring together into a dough, divide into 2 balls, wrap and chill for one hour.
  4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 3-4mm. Dip cookie cutters into flour before each use.  (If you want to thread festive ribbon through the cooked dough, use a skewer gently to make a decent hole in a suitable position in the uncooked shape (or as Nigella suggests, use the round tip of a small icing nozzle to cut a hole out of the uncooked cookie). Arrange them, spaced out,  on the prepared baking trays.
  5. Bake the cookies on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 12 minutes, or until firm and golden, swapping the trays over if necessary if the top cookies are more done than the bottom tray. When golden, remove from oven – check to see if the ribbon holes are still open and wriggle the skewer gently in the hole – and leave to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. If you have any dough left over, gather the bits together into a ball, chill for 15 minutes then dust the cutters and cut out some more.
  7. When your Christmas Cookies are completely cool, let your imagination rip.  Wacky or delicate, have fun decorating these Snowflake Cookies.  Even more fun if you have little ones to help you.  Never mind the mess, just have loads of fun.  Here’s another picture to help you be creative.

Decorated Snowflake Christmas Cutters

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Decorated Snowflake Christmas Cutters – courtesy of Pinterest

Here are some tips that people who have bought the cutters  from Lakeland suggest. It’s worth reading them. 

‘A well floured surface and flour dusted on the dough continuously the cutters will cut perfectly! I cut out 60 snowflakes yesterday with Lebkuchen dough. They look beautiful. I used the opposite end of a paintbrush to tap the snowflake out of the cutter.’

‘I’m making lovely snowflakes in Namibia! I did struggle a bit with one of the cutters, but with patience all of them turned out great! As a matter of interest, I used the recipe for your 3D Christmas tree cutters. Thank you very much!!’

A note from the Lakeland team: Thank you for placing your review. We’re sorry to hear you’ve been disappointed with the cutters. we’d recommend greasing and flouring the cutters and having the cookie mix as cool as possible to help release them from the cutters. We’ll be in touch shortly to help.

This is the recipe for Lebkuchen German Christmas Cookie which one lady mentions in the reviews. They will make a lovely spicey biscuit.

Lebkuchen German Christmas Cookies

Lebkuchen

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Lebkuchen – courtesy Annie Rigg & Catherine Wora

These traditional German Christmas cookies will really get you in the festive mood. Sprinkle edible glitter and silver balls over the top for an impressive finish and add to a Christmas hamper for that personal touch.

Serves:  30
                                               Preparation time:  30 mins plus cooling time
                                             Cooking time:  20 mins

You will need:

2 tbsp clear honey

2 tbsp black treacle/molasses

40g unsalted butter
75g dark brown soft sugar

Grated zest of ½ orange

Grated zest of ½ lemon

225g self-raising flour

½ tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

A pinch of ground cloves

A pinch of salt

50g cup ground almonds

1 egg, lightly beaten

For the glacé icing:

250g icing sugar

2-3 tbsp water/lemon juice

For the chocolate glaze:

 
175g dark chocolate, chopped

1 tbsp sunflower oil

Method:

  1. Put the honey, treacle/molasses, butter, sugar and orange and lemon zest in a small saucepan. Put it over low heat and stir until the butter has melted and everything is well mixed. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  2. Sift the flour, spices and salt together into a mixing bowl, then add the ground almonds. Add the melted butter mixture and the beaten egg and mix until you get a dough.
  3. Knead the dough until smooth, then wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least four hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4. Roll the dough out to a thickness of five millimetres using a rolling pin. Stamp out shapes with your cookie cutters.
  5. Place the Lebkuchen on the prepared baking sheets and bake for about 15–20 minutes, or until just beginning to brown at the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  6. When the Lebkuchen are cold, decorate them with icing, silver balls or piping bag. For the chocolate glaze melt the dark chocolate and oil in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate has melted and leave to cool for 10 minutes before using. For the glace icing sift the icing into a bowl and using a balloon whisk, gradually stir in enough water or lemon juice to make a smooth icing.

Hopefully all that research will help both me and yourselves when deciding what special Christmas Cookies you will be making this year.  There must be so many variations and flavours for this festive biscuit, but whatever you make, enjoy playing around with the dough, and be super-creative with the decorations.  Have fun.

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