I love this time of year. The pre-Christmas excitement and planning is my favourite part of the proceedings, and I know exactly why. It's all the creative possibilities, the baking, the making, the shopping, the goodwill, the thinking, the planning. It's my favourite time of year, closely followed by the short-lived bit of summer where camping in the UK becomes a pleasant pastime.
Inspired by the amazing "Biscuiteers", my friend Clare and I decided to make some home-made biscuits. This activity was squashed in during the twins lunchtime nap and my school run, more of which later.
We based the biscuits on a wonderful recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. I have seriously never tasted such great biscuits, and would thoroughly recommend this one. From what I can remember, we used:
400g plain flour200g butter
280g unrefined caster sugar1 egg1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartarThese ingredients were mixed together like a cake, as in: butter and sugar creamed together, add the egg, fold in the dry ingredients, making a dough. Usually you would put the mix in the fridge to set a bit, but we had no time, so just rolled it out straight away, cut out some Christmas shapes and stuck them in the oven till they went golden brown.
We then made some royal icing, which has lemon juice and egg white added to make it harden properly.
300g icing sugar1 egg white1/2 teaspoon of lemon juiceYou whizz the lemon juice and egg together, then add the icing sugar gradually, mixing well throughout. Then add colours.
Unusually for these sorts of things, the best bit of them is the taste. They are the best I have ever tasted.
The second batch of biscuits were supposed to be for the school Christmas fair, but in the event I was too ill to go, so we had to eat them all ourselves.....