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!
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 – such an assertion would be unfathomable to me.
Christmas Spice Biscuits
• 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.
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.
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!