Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies

Recipe taken from Gifts from the Kitchen: 100 irresistible homemade presents for every occasion by Annie Rigg and courtesy of Easy Living Magazine.

Makes: 8-12 Cookies

Festive snowflake cutters are used for these cookies, but the same idea works just as well for almost any shape. They look beautiful hanging at a window, allowing the light to shine through the ‘stained glass’. Or you could give one cookie to each guest as a place setting or table gift for the Christmas dinner table.

Stained glass.jpgIngredients:-
225g (7oz) unsalted butter, softened
150g (5oz) icing sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
350g (11oz) plain flour, plus extra for rolling
Pinch of salt
Assorted flavoured and coloured boiled sweets

Step One : You will need a selection of snowflake cookie cutters. Cream the softened butter and icing sugar together until pale and light. Add the whole egg and vanilla extract and mix again until thoroughly combined. Sift the flour with the sale, add to the bowl and mixed again until smooth.

Step Two : Gather the dough into a ball, flatten into a disc and wrap in clingfilm. Chill for a couple of hours, or until firm. Meanwhile divide the boiled sweets into separate colours, place in freezer bags and crush using a rolling pin.

Step Three : Heat the oven to 180oC (Gas Mark 4) and line two solid baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment.

Step Four : Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll out the dough until it is roughly 3mm ( 1/8 in) thick. Using the snowflake cutters, stamp out snowflakes in assorted sizes and arrange on the prepared baking sheets. Carefully and neatly fill the holes in the snowflakes with the crushed boiled sweets.

Step Five : Bake in batches on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 12 minutes, until the cookies are pale golden and the boiled sweets have melted and filled the holes.

Step Six : Cool the cookies on the trays until hardened, and package into boxes lined with greaseproof or waxed paper once completely cold. These will keep for four to five days in an airtight box.

Link to book containing recipe can be found here …

Almond and Cherry Florentines

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living

Makes about 30

Ingredients:
450g (14oz) cherries, stoned
1 tsp caster sugar; 220g (7oz) almonds
100g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, cubed
150g (5oz) brown sugar
175g (6oz) golden syrup
1 tsp Amaretto (optional)
100g (3 ½ oz) plain flour, sifted
2 tsp ground ginger
300g (10oz) good-quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

Step One: Heat the oven to 180oC (Gas Mark 6). Place the cherries on a lined baking tray and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake in the oven for 50-60 mins, until the cherries are shrivelled and caramelised. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile scatter the almonds on a baking tray and roast for 7-10 mins. Coarsely chop half the almonds, saving the remainder.

Step Two: Melt the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and Amaretto (if using) in a saucepan over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour and ground ginger. Line two large baking trays with baking paper. Pour half the mixture into the middle of one of the trays and, using a spatula, very gently spread the mixture out to form a rough rectangle about 2-3 mm thick, leaving a 5cm (2 in) border all around. Repeat with the second baking tray, then transfer both to the oven and cook for 5 mins.

Step Three: Remove and scatter over the cherries and all the almonds, then return to the oven and cook for 12-15 mins or until the mixture is bubbling and golden. Set aside to cool for 4-5 mins. Starting from the outside and working inwards use a cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Place the Florentines on a lined baking tray and chill in the fridge for 10 mins.

Step Four: Cover your work surface with foil (this makes cleaning up easier) and place two or three wire racks on top. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove the Florentines from the fridge and dip each one halfway into the melted chocolate, then place on a rack and leave for 15 mins. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour, or until the chocolate has set.

For other biscuit recipes:-