Before the Christmas excess well and truly kicks in, it’s nice to have something a little plainer and simple to make (and digest!).
It was the perfect week to make biscuits as the CCBF (Caked Crusader’s Boyfriend) had given me some beautiful Christmas cutters. He’s starting to think like a baker now – he’d bought them as part of my Christmas present but realised that if he gave them to me on the 25th it was too late for them to get used this year!
This recipe features in Nigella’s ‘Domestic Goddess’ book but she makes them with vanilla. The CCBF doesn’t like vanilla (it still hurts when I type that) so, seeing as he’d given me the cutters, I left the vanilla out. Personally, I’d prefer them with vanilla but without it they turn into a delicate butter biscuit akin to a shortbread but not as gritty in texture.
I used the biscuit mix in different ways: half I rolled out and used my cutters, the rest I rolled into a sausage, covered in cinnamon sugar and then, after chilling, cut into slices. The slices were thicker than the cut out biscuits and had a crumbly – almost cakey – texture.
This recipe is a great one to have in your armoury as they are a blank canvas – you can decorate them however you wish.
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
400g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth, pale and airy. Don’t skimp on this stage.
- Beat in the eggs.
- Stir in the flour and then bring the dough together. It might need a tiny bit more flour but add this with caution.
- I bring the dough together by tipping it out onto a large sheet of clingfilm and using that to help me move the dough i.e. lifting up one side of the clingfilm helps form the ball.
- Cut the dough in half and shape into patties. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for one hour. You can – if you don’t want to faff about rolling dough out – shape the dough into two big sausages and then, when chilled, cut into discs.
- Roll the dough out between two sheets of clingfilm and cut out with the cutters of your choice. You’re aiming for a thickness between 0.5cm-1cm
- Place on the baking sheet a little apart, they don’t expand that much on cooking.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes or until the biscuits are golden.
- Leave to cool and firm up on the baking sheet before moving to a wire cooling rack.
- Decorate as required.
- Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.