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.
Christmas Spiced 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!
128 replies on “Christmas Spiced Biscuits”
Look delicious! The zest is definitely a great touch
thanks! It gives them pretty little orange flecks too!
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.
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!
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
My question is why distinguish them differently at all? It makes no sense…
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.
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.
Oh yu’re the best!! Was jus looking for something to make!! I am giving this and your banana dates bread a go ASAP!! 🙂
I saw that you liked it!
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.
They very much are! I’m glad you side with us – I’d have expected nothing less!
Those look perfect and just fancy enough. I love orange and spice.
Haha! Thanks, Greg!
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!
Thanks! I hope you do/did/will…
Well I made the spicy biscuits last night – gave some to a friend – and man, are they so more-ish …. Divine!
Awesome – so glad you enjoyed.
Would it be wrong to smear chocolate on one biscuit and place another biscuit on top??
hmm… yes and no…
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!
I know, it’s so silly! Merry Christmas to you too!
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.
We call them that here too – indeed!
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
Thanks! Definitely English :D. You too Celia!
Love! Ah, a good biscuit trumps cookies every day for me 🙂
Lovely recipe and they look fantastic. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!
Absolutely! Thanks so much!
They look tasty!
Thanks so much!
I will be trying these out and get back to you. Thanks 🙂
Fantastic – please do!
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. 😉
Haha – amazing. So glad you liked them. Happy New Year!
I like the idea of eating them unabatedly: this is usually my tactic with biscuits, homemade or not!
Haha – I’ve been doing that… much to the detriment of my waistline.
i have a bag of organic clementines from sicily and no baking yet….perfect….and you are mastering food photography 🙂
Fantastic! Oh wow, thanks so much. I just wish I had the money for some more equipment!
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
Well, there seems to be a little conjecture about that. Sort yourselves out, America! I get confused by the American lingo… Thanks!
“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!
Hehe! Oh yes, lots of butter… Enjoy!
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.
That’s weird… Thanks 😀 The clementine really set them off nicely.
I’m gonna try this your recipe as usual! 😉
Thanks for sharing it. 🙂
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!
Haha – poor you, I’d gladly ship you some, but it takes so long 😀
Biscuits. Cookies. Whatever. They look great!
Haha – thanks, Michelle!
Goodness! winter or not, those look divine 🙂
What camera do you use by the way?
Thanks! I use a Nikon D3100 – nothing too fancy.
awesome pics nonetheless :))
I’m glad you think so!
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!
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.
Your pictures are really beautiful.
They look great, love the festive addition of clementine. Andrea
Thank you so very much, Andrea!
They look great, love the festive addition of clementine.
Thanks so much 🙂
Lovely, and at 5p a biscuit, a most delicious bargain 🙂
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.
thanks! no problem 😀 I get confused, it’s silly.
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!
Thank you so much! That’s utterly infuriating 😀
That’s why it’s so much fun to lob my Canadianisms your way!
Haha – keep ’em coming -I can take it.
These look delectable in every single way. I wish I could reach in the screen and taste one. Gorgeous pictures!
Oh they are! Alas, you cannot!
Love the cookies you made, Nick 😉
This post made me giggle. Thank you Frugal.
No problem, susan! I’m glad you find me funny!
These look lovely! Cheers to much biscuit-eating this holiday season!
Thanks! Indeed. I intend to make more!
Reblogged this on A Single Serving and commented:
Sounds like real holiday treat. Good discussion on biscuits (English and American), and scones, too.
Beautiful! I’m eating my own spiced biscuits as we speak. Merry Christmas!
Fantastic – I’ve eaten way too many…
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!)
Oh you know I don’t mean it 🙂 – I quite like the word cookie actually. So glad you don’t buy Starbucks tea!
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. 🙂
I know, I know :D. Ironically, I hate everyday British tea…
Indeed frugal – am definitely trying these for Xmas and if they are as good as you mentioned, will make batches to give away ….
these look delicious! i’ll have to try them. beautiful photos.
Please do! I’m sure you’ll love them!
fiery pits of fondant hell wouldn’t stop me from indulging! 😉
I nominated you for a “sunshine award”. By the way, those biscuits look awesome.
Thank you very much!
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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 🙂
Thanks! I hope you enjoy what you’ve made!
Ooooh. These bikkies look divine! Thanks for the recipe. Will be making them this weekend. Yum! 🙂
Thank you! they are. You’ll love them!
Are all in agreement that they are both Christmas-y and spice-y?
I believe so.
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 🙂
Fantastic – so great to hear!
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!
OH it is! Haha – thank you very much… though I’m not a fan of unnecessary differences whereby people seem to simply switch words for the sake of it!
Love orange (and lemon) zest – these looks so festive and delicious.
thanks for liking my Prawn Lahksa recipe. How do you keep coming up with yours? And do you make everyone? ….
They come to me in the night 😀 – haha.
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?
Thank you very much! I heartily agree! I’m also a little confused… fear not.
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These look good. I’ve Pinned the receipe to my Pinterest board. Thanks for sharing. Many thanks for stopping by my blog. I appreciate it.
Fantastic – thanks for visiting 🙂
oh I love everything about this post and your biscuits…I wished we still called them biscuits instead of cookies….Your blog is just great and Happy Holidays.
Thank you very much – yes, I like the distinction between biscuits and cookies.
I love the biscuits
Thank you – I remember them being delicious 🙂
Loving your grasp of the language. It makes even a recipe seem like beautiful prose.
Thank you – I love it when people compliment my writing :).
Thanks for the like of “Mom’s Recipe Box: New Year Greetings….”. Your Christmas Spiced Biscuits sound terrific!
Hi, I carnt find fresh nutmeg, can I use ground nutmeg instead? And how much should I use? Thanks
Yes, ground nutmeg in the same quantity – it’s basically the same!
I have made these for a present for a friend. I tweaked the spice combo a little (less ginger, more nutmeg and a touch of ground mace and cloves). The smell glorious. Of course, I had to try some…
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