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


• 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


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!

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127 comments on “Christmas Spiced Biscuits

  1. Veronica Sheppard
    December 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Look delicious! The zest is definitely a great touch

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      thanks! It gives them pretty little orange flecks too!

  2. Dianna
    December 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    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.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      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!

      • Dianna
        December 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm

        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

        • frugalfeeding
          December 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm

          My question is why distinguish them differently at all? It makes no sense…

      • lifelibertyeducation
        December 17, 2012 at 1:01 am

        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.

        • frugalfeeding
          December 20, 2012 at 8:59 pm

          Exactly! It’s very odd… British scones aren’t very sweet at all – only 40g in an entire batch of traditional scones. More buttery than anything.

  3. Shakthi Abirami M M
    December 16, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Oh yu’re the best!! Was jus looking for something to make!! I am giving this and your banana dates bread a go ASAP!! 🙂

  4. christinajane
    December 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    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.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      They very much are! I’m glad you side with us – I’d have expected nothing less!

  5. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    December 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Those look perfect and just fancy enough. I love orange and spice.

  6. preppyandfunny
    December 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Once again… This looks so delicious! I’m planning on baking little biscuits/cookies (you got it) today! Will see if I try this recipe!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Thanks! I hope you do/did/will…

      • michellemossbodybeauty
        December 20, 2012 at 9:08 pm

        Well I made the spicy biscuits last night – gave some to a friend – and man, are they so more-ish …. Divine!

  7. An Unrefined Vegan
    December 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Would it be wrong to smear chocolate on one biscuit and place another biscuit on top??

  8. kanzensakura
    December 16, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    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!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      I know, it’s so silly! Merry Christmas to you too!

  9. mawarre
    December 16, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    And being from Australia, I would call these bikkies, as a shortened name for biscuits. They look very delicious and just right to have with a cup of tea.

  10. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    December 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Oooh, well done, Nick, they do look most fine, and well shaped, and proper English, and delicious! 🙂 Hope you’re having a great festive season! x

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      Thanks! Definitely English :D. You too Celia!

  11. Chocolate Chilli Mango®
    December 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Love! Ah, a good biscuit trumps cookies every day for me 🙂
    Lovely recipe and they look fantastic. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!

  12. mamaraby
    December 16, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    They look tasty!

  13. wavensongz
    December 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I will be trying these out and get back to you. Thanks 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      Fantastic – please do!

      • wavensongz
        January 6, 2013 at 10:57 pm

        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. 😉

        • frugalfeeding
          January 11, 2013 at 9:54 pm

          Haha – amazing. So glad you liked them. Happy New Year!

  14. Lorna
    December 16, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    I like the idea of eating them unabatedly: this is usually my tactic with biscuits, homemade or not!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      Haha – I’ve been doing that… much to the detriment of my waistline.

  15. soffiagudrun
    December 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    i have a bag of organic clementines from sicily and no baking yet….perfect….and you are mastering food photography 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Fantastic! Oh wow, thanks so much. I just wish I had the money for some more equipment!

  16. Dianna
    December 16, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    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.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Well, there seems to be a little conjecture about that. Sort yourselves out, America! I get confused by the American lingo… Thanks!

      • Alysa
        December 21, 2012 at 12:04 am

        “Sort yourselves out, America!”
        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!

  17. egg me on
    December 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    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.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      That’s weird… Thanks 😀 The clementine really set them off nicely.

  18. Inge
    December 17, 2012 at 12:17 am

    I’m gonna try this your recipe as usual! 😉
    Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

  19. moveeatcreate
    December 17, 2012 at 12:20 am

    As I’m reading this, I am making a cup of tea. I REALLY wish I had some of these biscuits to go with it!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Haha – poor you, I’d gladly ship you some, but it takes so long 😀

  20. Michelle
    December 17, 2012 at 1:30 am

    Biscuits. Cookies. Whatever. They look great!

  21. mumchic
    December 17, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Goodness! winter or not, those look divine 🙂
    What camera do you use by the way?

  22. Korena in the Kitchen
    December 17, 2012 at 3:30 am

    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!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      Eh?! Who the hell knows… ratios I think, ratios. I have eaten a lot of them, so glad they’re not too indulgent. Just damn flavoursome.

  23. cookazido
    December 17, 2012 at 3:45 am

    Your pictures are really beautiful.

  24. Andrea Mynard
    December 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    They look great, love the festive addition of clementine. Andrea

  25. andreamynard
    December 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    They look great, love the festive addition of clementine.

  26. The Vagabond Baker
    December 17, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Lovely, and at 5p a biscuit, a most delicious bargain 🙂

  27. kanzensakura
    December 17, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    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.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      thanks! no problem 😀 I get confused, it’s silly.

  28. musingmar
    December 18, 2012 at 12:06 am

    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!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      Thank you so much! That’s utterly infuriating 😀

      • musingmar
        December 22, 2012 at 2:55 am

        That’s why it’s so much fun to lob my Canadianisms your way!

        • frugalfeeding
          December 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm

          Haha – keep ’em coming -I can take it.

  29. petit4chocolatier
    December 18, 2012 at 1:13 am

    These look delectable in every single way. I wish I could reach in the screen and taste one. Gorgeous pictures!

  30. baconbiscuit212
    December 18, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Love the cookies you made, Nick 😉

  31. Susan
    December 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    This post made me giggle. Thank you Frugal.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      No problem, susan! I’m glad you find me funny!

  32. onceuponarecipe
    December 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    These look lovely! Cheers to much biscuit-eating this holiday season!

  33. safifer
    December 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Reblogged this on A Single Serving and commented:
    Sounds like real holiday treat. Good discussion on biscuits (English and American), and scones, too.

  34. Claire Sambolino
    December 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Beautiful! I’m eating my own spiced biscuits as we speak. Merry Christmas!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Fantastic – I’ve eaten way too many…

  35. spree
    December 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    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!)

    • frugalfeeding
      December 18, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      Oh you know I don’t mean it 🙂 – I quite like the word cookie actually. So glad you don’t buy Starbucks tea!

      • spree
        December 18, 2012 at 11:43 pm

        Oh I know…I’m playing back, Frugal. And Gawd No…my mother taught me to drink tea very proper, like a Brit ought. Quite proud of that. 🙂

        • frugalfeeding
          December 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm

          I know, I know :D. Ironically, I hate everyday British tea…

  36. michellemossbodybeauty
    December 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Indeed frugal – am definitely trying these for Xmas and if they are as good as you mentioned, will make batches to give away ….
    Thank you

  37. condimentlove
    December 18, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    these look delicious! i’ll have to try them. beautiful photos.

  38. Somer
    December 18, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    fiery pits of fondant hell wouldn’t stop me from indulging! 😉

  39. weckeman
    December 19, 2012 at 2:58 am

    I nominated you for a “sunshine award”. By the way, those biscuits look awesome.

  40. theclevercarrot
    December 21, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Ooo, these look lovely! I just finished baking a batch of shortbread, and now that I’m in cookie making mode, these festive biscuits sounds quite nice. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm

      Thanks! I hope you enjoy what you’ve made!

  41. Heather G.
    December 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Ooooh. These bikkies look divine! Thanks for the recipe. Will be making them this weekend. Yum! 🙂

  42. lmicheles
    December 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Are all in agreement that they are both Christmas-y and spice-y?