December 15th, 2022
As the weeks fast forward toward the summer break and accompanying festivities, I like to have some bakes at the ready for sharing with visitors and gifting to those who positively impact our lives throughout the year. Although it can be a hectic time of year, putting aside an afternoon to get creative in the kitchen may be just what is needed to slow down and enjoy the tactile experience of cooking.
Today, I share a recipe for spiced and gloriously iced biscuits for gifting. And since the icing sets solid they could even be hung on the Christmas tree as an edible decoration – just make a hole in the cut biscuit dough before baking. Also, find a selection of more festive and summer-feasting recipes below.
This will be my last recipe post for 2022, and I am signing off for the next month for some much-needed recharge time. It has been another huge year that has brought its intensities – as I am sure it has for many of you too – and I am looking forward to some slow days ahead with no deadlines or after-school activities. You will find me making the most of the time to cook, preserve and enjoy the abundance of the summer garden.
Wishing you all happy and delicious holidays ahead. Thank you for reading and cooking my recipes, joining my cooking workshops (in person or online), and supporting my new cookbook. I’ll see you in 2023 with more recipes and garden musings.
More recipes for the festive season and summer feasting:
- Florentine Caramels
- Orange-kissed Chocolate Truffles
- Mini Pavlova with Pomegranate Molasses Caramel
- Jeweled Quinoa Salad + Grilled Vegetable Dips
- Roasted Beetroot & Lentil Salad
- BBQ Salmon & Cucumber & Avocado Salsa + Grilled Vegetable Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing
Festive Spiced Biscuits with Plum Icing
- 100 g room temperature butter
- 1/3 cup (70g) brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- generous grind of cracked pepper (optional)
- 1 free-range egg
- 1 cup (150g) plain white or spelt flour
- ½ cup (60g) ground almonds or hazelnuts
- ¼ cup (40g) wholemeal flour or extra white flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg white
- ⅔ cup (100g) icing sugar
- 1 tbsp freeze-dried plum powder - see headnote
- In a mixing bowl use a spatula to beat together the butter, sugar and spices. Add the egg and 1 tablespoon of the flour and continue to mix until combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix into a firm dough.
- Tip onto a lightly floured bench and knead briefly into a smooth dough. Shape into a disc, place in a lidded container and chill for 30-40 minutes to firm the dough for rolling.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160ºC). Line two flat baking trays with baking paper.
- Lightly flour the bench and a rolling pin. Roll out the chilled dough to 5mm thickness. Keep dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking. Use cookie cutters to cut into different shapes. Re-roll off cuts until all the dough is used.
- Use a metal spatula to carefully transfer the shapes to the prepared trays leaving a little space between each. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden and fragrant. Cool on a rack.
- Make the icing. Place the egg white into a bowl and vigorously whisk by hand for 1 minute until thick and frothy. Add the icing sugar and dried plum powder and mix into a thick paste.
- Drop teaspoon amounts of the icing onto the middle of each biscuit then use the tip of the spoon to spread out towards the edges. Don’t go too close to the edge as the icing will spread a little as it sets. Set the biscuits aside for 8 hours or overnight for the icing to set.
- Once the icing is set, store the spiced biscuits in an airtight container. Or wrap 5-6 biscuits in baking paper and secure with string for gifting.
My new cookbook The Homemade Table is now available at bookstores around Aotearoa NZ, plus order signed copies HERE.
(Note: I am not sending to Australia or overseas at this time – books can be ordered HERE).