It may be only just December, you may not feel as festive as me, but honestly this one is worth bookmarking for when the mood strikes. These biscuits just whisper Christmas to me, the scent of the spices while they bake is incredible, it fills the house and somehow makes me feel homely and happy. The dough keeps in the fridge for a week or so and batches can be baked as and when you fancy meaning there is a readily available supply for those extra visitors in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
I have been making them to this recipe for a few years now and haven’t yet met a person who didn’t like them (yes yes, this sounds terribly pretentious but it is true!) so I can whole heartedly advise you to give them a go.
The recipe is adapted from two or three including a recipe handed down to me and has changed along the way, it is very simple but does require a little patience.
350g plain flour
100g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
175g soft brown sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
1 egg, beaten
Measure all the dry ingredients into a food processor (if you don’t have one then you can mix by hand, rubbing between the fingertips to begin with, it’s a good workout for the upper arms) then add the butter and blitz until breadcrumb like in consistency. At this point stir in the sugar then add the egg and syrup and blitz again until the dough begins to form clumps (again you can mix this stage by hand if required).
Once it begins to stick together turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until you have a ball of dough. The warmth of your hands will help this process and it can take a few minutes but trust me, if you have measured correctly, it WILL stick together.
Once you have a ball of fragrant dough wrap it in clingfilm or a food bag and pop it in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes, although as I mentioned above it will keep for at least a week at this point.
Set the oven to 180°c
Line a couple of baking sheets with greaseproof paper
Choose your cookie cutters, any size and shape will do although you may need to adjust the cooking time a little if you use large cutter as this was calculated for tiny Christmas shapes, around 4-5cm in size
Take your dough out of the fridge. I would recommend using a quarter to a half of the dough at a time, it goes a long way! On a lightly floured surface knead the dough gently to loosen it up a little as it will become very firm in the fridge. Roll to around 5mm thickness or even a little thinner. This gives your biscuits a lovely crunch rather than a chewy finish. Cut as many biscuits as you require and place on the baking trays.
Pop into the oven for 6-7 minutes but watch them, they go from a lovely golden hue to slightly blackened surprisingly quickly. I leave them to cool on their trays before peeling them from the paper. Lightly dust with icing sugar if it takes your fancy or just enjoy them as they are!
If you have a go at baking these I’d love to see the results. You can share on Instagram using #12daysoffaffing in your caption. Enjoy!