Christmas Spiced Biscuits

Christmas Spiced Biscuits (5)

If there’s one time of the year at which biscuits should be made and eaten in prodigious quantity, it is at Christmas. There’s something clean and joyful about a proper English biscuit that makes them a smidge more festive than, to give one example, a cookie. It’s far easier to pick out individual flavours in biscuits than in food that is excessively sugary – a cookie, for instance, is something of a devilish experience.

Not only are biscuits rather light on one’s stomach, they are also one of the more frugal bakes one can embark upon. Of course, this is largely due to the dearth of expensive superlatives, such as chocolate, that are often added to cookies or cake. Instead, biscuits are often left plain or flavoured with spices or citrus fruits – as is the case in this recipe. Indeed, if the spiciness of these biscuits doesn’t appeal to you, by all means leave them plain – they will still be thoroughly delicious. Though, of course, such a thing wouldn’t be entirely in the spirit of Christmas!

These biscuits may appear simple, and really they are, but there is a pitfall that must be avoided when making these; make sure you adequately chill the dough. If you fail to do this the biscuits may fail to retain their shape in the baking process and emerge from the oven like a delicious monster from the fiery pits of fondant hell. Of course, the taste of such a monstrosity would remain impressive, but one may not want to look at them when indulging. Aside from that, I can think of nothing simpler than baking biscuits – it’s something that everyone should indulge in this, and every, Christmas!

Christmas Spiced Biscuits (4)

n.b. When, in the above paragraphs, the word ‘biscuit’ is employed, one must understand that I am using correct English and am not, in any way, referring to a scone.

Christmas Spiced Biscuits (1)

Christmas Spiced Biscuits

Makes 18-20

Ingredients:

• 75g salted butter, softened

• 100g caster sugar

• 1 medium egg

• 250g plain flour, plus extra for rolling

• ½ tsp baking powder

• 1 clementine, zest and 1 tbsp of juice

• ½ tsp ground ginger

• A couple of pinches of freshly grated nutmeg

• ½ tsp ground cinnamon

• Icing sugar for dusting

Method:

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until fully incorporated and then fold in the flour, baking powder, spices, zest and juice. Bring together into a firm dough with your hands and place in cling-film in the fridge for an hour.

Christmas Spiced Biscuits (2)

2. After an hour has elapsed remove the dough from the fridge, flatten and roll into a sheet roughly 5mm thick. Preheat the oven to 170C. Cut the flattened dough into discs with a diameter of roughly 2.5 inches. Pop onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

3. Leave the biscuits to cool for 2-3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack and allowing to cool entirely. Sprinkle with icing sugar and eat unabatedly.

Christmas Spiced Biscuits (3)

Cost: As previously mentioned, biscuits are among the cheapest conceivable bakes – they contain nothing overtly expensive. Indeed, this entire batch should set one back no more than £1.10! That’s just over 5 pence per biscuit – how exceedingly frugal!

114 thoughts on “Christmas Spiced Biscuits

  1. Dianna

    Here in the former colonies, that is, New York, biscuit has a very different meaning, more like a fluffy scone. I don’t know what we would call these, probably cookies, but will bake some to see if they seem cookie like to me. Now I just have to get out my metric conversion app and I will be on my way to unabated biscuit eating. Thanks.

    1. frugalfeeding

      I’m afraid in “real” English that is incorrect. What you call biscuits are actually scones. These are nothing like cookies, we call cookies cookies – they are biscuits. I find the American dialect often to be very imprecise… Still, as long as there is no confusion. I have measurement table links at the top!

      1. Dianna

        I have had scones in the UK and they are not exactly biscuits as we name them. We distinguish scones, biscuits and cookies differently, that’s all. Biscuits here are eaten most commonly with meat and gravy, while scones, which are not common here and are an import from England, are eaten with coffee or tea. I am just interested in English in different parts of the world, not arguing with you. I simply noticed your scone v biscuit footnote and was enjoying your linguistic difference
        .

      2. lifelibertyeducation

        What most Americans think are scones has nothing whatsoever to do with an scone I ever had in the UK. Starbucks calls these strange hard dried out triangles scones so most Americans seem to think that Starbucks has some sort of knowledge on the subject…they do not. A scone and a US biscuit is nearly identical though in the US it would be more savory while a scone in the UK tends to be more sweet (though not at all sugary). A US scone tends to be a bad cross of a scone and shortbread….very odd and not recommended at all. Sadly, clotted cream is near impossible to get without selling your body so I done indulge in scones too often.

  2. christinajane

    They look beautiful and festive – and it’s so nice to read about simple spiced biscuits after so long on the cookie rant! I never thought of them as being different things altogether, just different words. But I will always favor the biscuit we refer to in NZ than the, as you say, chocolate and nut laden cookies so prevalent in this part of the world.

  3. kanzensakura

    I am glad you have mentioned that biscuits are not scones. Americans cannot get past “biscuit” as being those wonderful non-sweet, round, short floury things that one spreads things on or puts slices of meat in. Scones in American also are not like scones in England….they are weird things that when I see them offered as scones, I avoid them because they are terrible. thank you for differentiating between biscuits and cookies. I am going to go grab one of my clementines now along with everything else I have on hand and make a batch of these glorious BUISCITS~~~~~thank you again for a lovely recipe. and to add to the festivities, I am going to add a discreet drizzle of bittersweet chocolate to some. Happy Happy Christmas!

      1. wavensongz

        I know you thought I had forgotten you but I owe you for your AWESOME Biscuits. I tried them with a few friends for Christmas Dinner, they Loved them and again for New Years and I was the star. Until I told the the Truth, I had a blog friend that really made them and the Lights went out. :-( But it’s OK, I feel no Guilt, they Loved your Biscuits and that’s all that matters. Thanks my friend for making my two dinners worth An Applauses. You have a Great New Year, I shall return. ;-)

  4. Dianna

    you are right, not even in America are these cookies. I guess if we weren’t calling them wafers, which is borderline since they are not thin enough, we would call them something along the lines of tea biscuits, referring to their Britishness. They are good. I don’t like cookies, and I like these. And I agree most things American calls scones are not scones, they are … oh who the hell knows? They are inedible. but our biscuits, which are not these, can be quite fabulous. Yum, made
    with buttermilk.

      1. Alysa

        “Sort yourselves out, America!”
        Bahahaha!
        I’ve tried ordering scones in the States. Very strange. Kind of like instant pancakes. I have a wonderful scone recipe from my mum. Heaven. All butter.
        Anyway, can’t wait to try this and the Root Vegetable Mash too!

  5. egg me on

    I’m not going to say anything about the term biscuit here since my American upbringing makes me think I should be seeing something covered in butter and/or gravy. But since these look so amazing, I’ll allow it. Your photos are always so awesome, man. Really. Love the touch of clementine in these.

  6. Korena in the Kitchen

    So then what makes a biscuit and biscuit and a cookie a cookie? Sugar and extra ingredients? I would never call a scone a biscuit (well, maybe I have once or twice, but I didn’t mean it) but I might call a biscuit a cookie and vice versa… Ain’t semantics FUN?! Regardless, these do look like a lovely not-too-indulgent treat – something that will probably be sorely needed by the end of the Christmas season!

  7. kanzensakura

    These sound lovely. I can hardly wait to make these. Thank you also for differentiating between cookie, biscuit, and scone. Scones in America are no like those in England. People in the states think a biscuit is something to put meat in, or whatever…but thank you. I am going to make these and hide them from my family.

  8. musingmar

    These look lovely and very suitable for the holidays. I’m afraid, though, that they would be considered a type of cookie here in Canada. Oh, the linguistic deviations that happen when we leave the mother ship!

  9. spree

    close call…i would have likely called these a lovely little cookie had I not received prior warning to keep my (ignorant) yankee mouth shut. so “biscuit” it is and delicious it will be! perfect with my proper starbuck’s cup of tea. (of course on that last point, i kid!)

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  11. Christine

    I baked these yesterday and offered them at my school!! I am glad to have found a simple and basic recipe, to alter according to my taste! Thank you very much :)

  12. Kimby

    Unabated biscuit eating sounds delightful. :) I don’t know why British cooking terms and/or foods seem to be the last culinary vocabulary bastion for the world to breach — every culture has their unique offerings and personally, that’s part of the charm for me. I wouldn’t go into a French bakery and order a breadstick! You’re doing a service by delineating the differences and scoffing (good naturedly) at the “similarities.” Keep up the good work!

  13. eatwithmeist

    Lovely biscuits! Simplicity is the best ingredient, which I’ve learned after years of making all kinds of cookies. Now I use only 3-4 recipes, one of which is Anzac biscuits or cookies? I’m confused now. I should correct the names on my blog, I suppose. I love simple buttery buscuits with a touch of spices for my cup of tea. However, I’d like some cookies for my coffee. Why is that?

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