Iced Spiced Biscuits
German Christmas is all about biscuits. And it is the first December weekend where most people start to manically bake at least 3-4 different types of biscuits, which are then stored in various tins that fill up every available kitchen surface. Those unlucky enough to have neither the time or the inclination to embark on days of baking invariably get showered with biscuits from friends and family. Failing that they purchase plates of biscuits from their local bakery. As you visit your nearest and dearest, sipping various herbal tea concoctions you invariably get a tin thrust into your face. No matter your best intentions to decline the 5th biscuit, eventually you give in and reach into the tin for that buttery delight that leaves your fingers sticky with sugar.
So naturally for me Christmas is all about baking. Spices, flour and sugar in various quantities scattered all over your worksurface and down your apron. Bits of butter stuck to your hair and smeared on your glasses while singing “All I want for Christmas” too loudly and the completely wrong pitch. Eating biscuits is definitely therapeutic, but not nearly as therapeutic as the baking. I love nothing more than rolling out pastry and cutting out shapes, watching them turn from a dull beige to a light golden colour. Then, spending much longer than necessary colouring icing and turning plain shapes into people, animals or little artworks. I have a particular obsession with stars but this year I really wanted Christmas unicorns and these iced spiced biscuits are the perfect choice. With stars, of course.
These iced spiced biscuits are the perfect starter biscuit for anyone setting out to get involved in Christmas baking. This recipe is from a children’s cookbook (The Usborne First Cookbook) gifted to me by one of my former colleagues as a leaving present. For years he hassled me to bake his favourite biscuits which are these little beauties. Eventually I gave in and made him a batch in July, thinking how they would make excellent Christmas biscuits. They are extremely simple, just butter, flour, sugar, egg, and mixed spice but the result is a buttery biscuit with a beautiful snap. Mixed spice encompasses all things Christmas; cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, coriander and ginger. The icing allows you to create some extravagant decoration too (such as my Christmas unicorns!). So what are you waiting for? Christmas is nearly around the corner and you better start baking now.
Secrets to Success:
- Make sure your butter is room temperature so you don’t have to spend a long time beating sugar and butter together
- Sift the icing sugar when you make your icing. Otherwise you will spend a long time trying to mix out the lumps!
- If you prefer a tangy icing, replace the warm water with warm lemon juice