I’m not much of a cake decorator and when I look at beautifully decorated cakes and biscuits my reaction is always, “wow, that’s gorgeous....but what a faff.” However, when I saw these biscuits in a magazine (can’t remember which one) I loved them so much I decided I had to make them. And do you know what? For something so cute, they’re pretty low faff (nb. do not equate “low faff” with “speedy”!)
The biscuits are tasty - like a gingerbread without any ginger. They’re not a crisp biscuit but neither are they chewy – they’re somewhere in between, almost a cakey biscuit. You can’t really go wrong with the subtle honey and almond flavour and the brown sugar adds an almost caramel/toffee element; they could also take a smidge of spice, should you so wish.
The hat and gloves in the original recipe were made with ready rolled icing. I’m not a fan of that – to me, it’s just an irritant you have to pick off before you can start eating...but chocolate appealed to me! (in other shock news, I can report that the sun will be rising tomorrow morning).
In a rare moment of foresight, I looked up whether you can add food colouring to white chocolate and it all seems rather complex. The short answer is “no you can’t”– I think liquid food colouring would make the chocolate seize i.e. go grainy and stiff, but I can’t see why gel or powdered colouring would be an issue. Anyway, to eliminate any risk, I purchased specific chocolate colouring which did the job (details in the ingredients list below).
If this was the real Father Christmas then I think I've just ended his present delivering days....
Happy Christmas everybody! May your festive period be full of tasty treats and happy times with those you love.
For the biscuits:
250g clear honey – I ran out of honey so used 150g honey, 100g golden syrup
100g soft light brown sugar
150g unsalted butter
2 egg whites
500g self raising flour
100g ground almonds
200g white chocolate, melted
Red colourant suitable for chocolate – I bought mine from Cakes, Cookies and Crafts
1 small tube of white icing (and black icing if you’re making the eyes, I used ready made eyes)
Gold ball decorations – I used Dr Oetker
Red balls or cupcake sprinkles for the nose
First make the dough: Place the honey, sugar and butter into a saucepan and melt over a gentle heat, stirring often. You will know when it’s ready because the ingredients will be well combined and there won’t be any sugar granules on the back of your spoon.
Pour into a bowl and leave to cool.
When cool, stir in the egg white.
Stir in the flour and ground almonds and mix to a dough. It will be a very soft dough – quite gloopy and you may think you’ve done something wrong....you haven’t!
Divide the dough in two, and wrap each part in clingfilm. If you shape the dough like a fat disc it makes rolling out easier.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but an hour is better.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/gas mark 5.
Line 4 baking sheets with baking paper. If you don’t have 4 baking sheets, use what you have and bake your biscuits in batches. It doesn’t really matter as it turned out I needed 6 trays!
Take one of the discs of dough from the fridge and roll out between two sheets of clingfilm – this stops you needing to use any additional flour. However, if your dough still feels really soft put a fine sprinkling of flour on the clingfilm
You want the dough quite thin – remember that it contains self raising flour and will rise a little whilst baking.
Using a large 5 pointed star cutter cut out the stars and leave 2-3cm between biscuits on the baking sheet.
Re-roll the trimmings (it’s an incredibly good natured dough and re-rolls with ease as many times as necessary) and then repeat with the second ball of dough.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. As the biscuits have angular points, they will catch so it’s best to turn the tray halfway through baking. It doesn’t matter if you forget – just make sure they’re the points you dip in chocolate!
Leave to cool, on the baking sheets, on a wire rack – the biscuits will be soft when they come out of the oven. Wait until they have firmed up before removing the baking sheet.
To decorate the biscuits melt the white chocolate (i do it in the microwave) and add the colouring per the instructions on the colouring’s packet. If you don’t wish to use chocolate, you could decorate with sugar paste or icing.
Dip three of the star’s points in the red chocolate – one for the hat, the other two for mittens.
Place each dipped biscuit on a sheet of baking paper to set.
When set, pipe white icing around the edge of the hat and gloves for fur trim. Also, pipe on the beard.
Use the white icing to fix the eyes and the gold balls for buttons and hat bobble. For the noses I picked the red dots out of a packet of cupcake sprinkles.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.