Around Christmas time, I like to make up batches of edible gifts that can be given to friends and family during the festive period. I like the concept of edible presents, as there’s a good chance they will be received gladly. So when you’re next stuck for ideas for someone’s Christmas present, look to your baking books and kitchen cupboards for inspiration!
For these cute biscuit houses and trees, I’ve given them a little extra kick by adding freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of cayenne as well as the traditional ginger and cinnamon combo. I also like to make these crunchy treats with a little organic spelt flour, so as not to exclude all nutrients entirely!
Wrap the biscuits in a rustic paper box with a little gold tissue for a homemade gift that will bring smiles to faces.
The uncooked biscuit dough can be put into a food bag and kept in the fridge for up to a week. Ensuring a steady supply of freshly baked cookies over the Christmas period.
Makes roughly 40 biscuits
175g muscovado sugar
90g golden syrup
1 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g organic spelt flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 organic egg, lightly beaten
For the Icing
125g icing sugar
a couple of tsp cold water
In a saucepan, heat the sugar, golden syrup, butter and spices until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
Activate the bicarb by adding 1 tsp of cold water to it, in a small bowl. Add the flour to a large bowl, and make a well in the centre, add the melted butter mix, egg and bicarbonate of soda. Mix well. The dough will feel soft, but will stiffen once refrigerated. Wrap in cling film, and pop in the fridge for 1 hour.
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Cut the dough in half. Thinly roll out one half on a lightly floured surface. Cut into shapes with cutters, and transfer to baking trays lined with baking parchment, leaving a little room for them to spread.
Bake for 10-12 mins until they darken slightly, but not too much or the flavour will be impaired. Cool for a few minutes on the baking trays, then transfer to a wire rack to cool and harden up completely.
Mix a few tsp water with the icing sugar to form a stiff paste, transfer the icing into a piping bag, or plastic bag, with the tip cut of. Pipe the icing around the edges of the biscuits, as desired.