Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Biscuit anyone?

Ok, every time I complain about the weather, the temperature drops another 4 or 5 degrees. This morning it was -6 Celsius. But I got my wish, the sun was shining! Is this ironic or what?

Well, weather aside, Christmas is just around the corner and this year will be extra special because we're spending it with our families in Greece. We did put up our Christmas tree though last weekend to get in the holiday mood -as if I need any help with that. The kid in me is rearing its happy head. I Heart Christmas.




Twinkle lights around my Christmas tree, brilliant decorations all around the streets, shiny happy people shopping for presents and me tucked away in my little expat kitchen baking Christmas goodies.
If you haven't baked anything yet for the holidays, what are you waiting for? This is the time. Get in your kitchen and make this recipe. It's so easy and so delicious. These biscuits are a little spicy and buttery, just like a proper Christmas biscuit should be. Use your favorite festive cookie cutters for fun shapes and try some icing on the biscuits too. Use your imagination and see where it takes you with all kinds of edible decorations like dried or candied fruits, nuts, sprinkles and dragées. Have fun! That's what the holidays are for.






Roll-out Christmas Biscuits with Maple Syrup and Spices
Adapted from Martha Stewart

While you bake these delightful treats, your home will be filled with the warm scent of spices and maple syrup, and once they're out of the oven you'll be powerless to resist them.
Even though these crispy biscuits can be adorned in many different ways, I prefer them bare and simple. They're the perfect complement to my morning coffee and I assure you they are ideal for those midday or late-night holiday sugar cravings.





Yield: 40-50 medium sized biscuits

Ingredients

for biscuits
125 g (or 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp) unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed* soft dark brown sugar
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
A good Tbsp of brandy
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 medium sized orange
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

for glacé icing
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
3 Tbsp boiling water
Gel food coloring of your choice (optional)


Preparation

for biscuits
Preheat the oven to 190 Celsius.
Prepare your baking sheet by lining it with baking paper or a non-stick mat.
Place the butter, sugar and maple syrup in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture comes to the boil and then remove from heat. Stir in clove, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, orange zest, brandy and vanilla extract. Then stir in the baking soda and you will notice that the mixture immediately starts to puff up. Add the flour and stir to combine well, until you can't see any more white. Let cool in the pan for about 30 minutes and then put the mixture in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for about 30 more minutes or until it becomes firm enough to roll out.
Divide dough into two equal pieces. Turn one piece of dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out with a floured rolling pin to 0.5 cm thick. Repeat the process with the remaining piece of dough and shape biscuits with your preferred cookie cutters.
Working in batches, place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, 1.5 cm apart, put baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake biscuits until crisp, for 6-8 minutes.
Remove sheet from the oven and leave biscuits on it until they cool slightly and their shape sets. Then carefully remove them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

for glacé icing
To make the icing, put the sifted icing sugar in a bowl and add the water slowly, a little at at time, stirring until it becomes smooth. Stop adding water when you like the consistency. You can add a tiny amount of color by using a toothpick dipped into the gel. You can always add more if you want but keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Decorate your biscuits.

Store biscuits in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.





*Packed refers to the measurement of the brown sugar. It means that instead of simply filling a measuring cup with brown sugar thus creating many air pockets, you pack it firmly into the measuring cup, pushing it down until you can't fit any more in.

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6 comments:

  1. We were lucky enough to sample some of these biscuits - thanks, Magda! - and they are absolutely exquisite! Crunchy without being tough and pleasantly spicy with a delicate orangey flavour.

    Anyone looking for perfect Christmas cookie recipe, this is it!

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  2. You're so welcome you guys, you're sweet.

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  3. I wish we had met at Sligro.....and I wish I got to taste the pasta. We'll have to remedy both of those soon! Lovely cookies, love the orange flavour

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  4. I hope we get to meet at another food event!

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  5. Hey - I think I am gonna try these! They look great!
    chrs
    Thosha

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  6. Thosha if you do try them let me know what you think!

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