One of the undeniable best bits of this time of year is all of the edible goodies! Whether it’s the traditional Christmas cake or lavish gingerbread creations that you just HAVE to have every year, everyone has their own ways of celebrating with food.
Something that evokes the festive period for me is that unmistakeable waft of Christmas baking drifting through the kitchen. When you try to sum this aroma up what do you think of? Unless you have a completely different version of baking traditions to us (if you do, please let me know, I always love a new recipe) it is always the festive spices that come to mind.
Nearly every festive recipe I think of – heavily fruited mince pies with warming nutmeg, to mulled wine with the kitchen sink of spices (and contents of the alcohol cupboard) thrown in, I always come back to these warming spices.
These traditional flavours have been part of our celebrations since medieval times and beyond. As these ingredients were so costly their use was a real show of money, so as you can imagine they were shoved into any recipe possible, in liberal amounts. The combination of sweet and savoury seems like a modern idea now, with things like salted caramel being so popular, but how would you fancy a pie combining beef with raisins, ginger and nutmeg? It’s no coincidence that mince pies have this name, traditionally a lot of meat, or savoury dishes had various spices thrown in.
If you fancy avoiding putting meat with the contents of your spice cupboard, why not try the super popular cinnamon biscuits that we make in Joseph Herron’s Bakery? They are absolutely scrummy, and perfect for those who want to enjoy one of the spices synonymous with Christmas, but aren’t a huge fan of the dried fruit that normally comes with it.
So when the madness of the festive season is getting you stressed and decidedly un-Christmassy, tuck yourself away with a cuppa and a few of these… It will do you the world of good!
7 oz Butter
7 oz Caster sugar
2oz Golden syrup
10 oz Plain flour
2 tsp Ground cinnamon (cinnamon can be substituted for any similar spice you like)
1 tsp Bicarb
Preheat your oven to 175c or gas mark 3.
Cream together the butter, sugar and syrup.
Mix in the flour, cinnamon and bicarb until you have a smooth dough, try not to overwork and make sure you use it straight away as the bicarb doesn’t work as well if it’s left too long.
Roll out onto a floured surface to about half an inch thick and make whichever shapes you want, we make ours into snowflakes!
Bake for 13-15 minutes until slightly more firm and coloured.
If you are feeling super creative, or want to keep little hands busy, feel free to decorate with any icing of your choosing!