Sunday, 18 December 2011

Father Christmas honey and almond biscuits



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.


Ingredients

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

To decorate:
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

Method

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.

Eat.

31 comments:

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

HAPPY CHRISTMAS to you too! And my goodness, what a lovely Christmas it will be with such delicious and festive biscuits to be tucking into... Although, if my stocking is sadly empty come Christmas morning ...

Baking Addict said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baking Addict said...

Oooh these are so super cute! I'm not great at decorating cookies either and do think its a bit of a faff. Honey and almond sounds delicious. Have a great Christmas!

Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours said...

Oh! Lovely and super cute.

I am not a decorator either. Candy melts almost reduced me to tears the other day.

Jo said...

Happy Christmas to you too Caked Crusader! Those biscuits are adorable, I love their expressions. I know what you mean about faffy decorations, most of the time I can't be bothered but occasionally it's fun to make the effort with bisciuts like these.

Karen S Booth said...

Those are just adorable! I LOVE them, am I may have to make time to make some! So glad to have found you!
Karen

MissCakeBaker said...

These are so cute! Love them.

Gloria said...

OM Look absolutely nice:)

C said...

They're gorgeous! I know what you mean about the faff of decorating, but oh so worth it for these.

Happy Christmas, I hope it's a good one for you!

Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

These are just too cute! Love them, great idea. I've had this idea with food colouring too, liquid to melted chocolate is bad yes, but I used the sugarflair pastes and those mix in fine with no issues. Buying it ready coloured would be easier though!

Nom! x

Jeff Rasmussen said...

The Caked Crusader is probably the best blog name I have ever come across! These cookies also are awesome in their own way. Bravo!

Katie said...

They are just so cute and festive. Just adorable. Have a wonderful Christmas

thelittleloaf said...

Haha I love these little fat festive Father Christmases! And you say you don't like decorating but you've done an awesome job :-) The flavours sound lovely too - can imagine they taste delicious as well as looking super cute.

Nicola said...

They are so cute! Absolutely gorgeous. Wishing you a very Happy Christmas xxx

Rachael said...

They are adorable, I love them!

Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray said...

These are so adorable!

Pauline said...

Love them! Why am I smiling at just the remains of Father Christmas? I'd forgotten the word 'Faff' too, could have done with that when making the Tigger lettering,a much more suitalbe four letter word beginning with F.... :-) Happy Christmas and Happy Baking for 2012

Maggie said...

They are really cute CC - I had no idea it was possible to colour chocolate. Happy Christmas and New Year.

Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen said...

starfish santa! omg... you are just brilliant!

Sumaiyyah said...

Ohh what a pity it would be to eat these biscuits! If I were to eat them, I'd probably save the decorated parts for last...

Cakelaw said...

I am with you on the faff factor, but these are gorgeous.

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

These are really cute! Perfect to celebrate Christmas, and I love the idea of using a star shaped cookie cutter.

Hazel at Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

So adorable! I'm glad you decided to decorate these! Minimal faff and great result. Have a great Christmas!

Maria♥ said...

Those biscuits are simply adorable!! Happy Christmas to you and yours :)

Maria
x

Choclette said...

Oh these look so good, I'm sure (sort of) they were worth the faff. The biscuits sound really delicious too. Hope you have a lovely Christmas with plenty of cake to eat.

Ysabel said...

Wow! These bicuits look so cool! I love them...I'm afraid I will have to try them soon. Merry Christmas from Spain!!
http://thecinnamontales.blogspot.com/

sensibilia said...

Inspirational! Who would ever have thought that you could buy chocolate colouring! I don't like that sickly sugary ready-roll icing, so this is brilliant.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! I'm looking forward to your next delicious postings already!

Lottie @ Lottiesworldofcakes said...

So so cute!! Love them!

Lucy said...

These are so cute! The biscuit sounds delicious as well, much more interesting than a plain sugar cookie.

Cakefairyblog said...

I love these - so cute! I agree with the faff, I always have good intentions then by the time I'm half way through the cake I think I can't possibly be bothered to decorate - but sometimes it's worth it! Merry Christmas x

Nicole Gamble said...

This is delicious! I love the flavors you have in here…and it gets the highest compliments!