Usually on Xmas eve (in fact every xmas eve that I can remember) we have made a Gingerbread house. This year has already looked a little different as we moved house in February, then the oldest children moved out as well. The youngest is already into her second year at Uni so things have been a little less xmassy in general 😦
So with that in mind, this year we decided that as all the children would be with us from xmas eve, we would start a new tradition of decorating the tree with homemade items as well as the gingerbread house. Well needless to say the gingerbread house is still in it’s component parts awaiting icing as well as numerous sweeties. We may finish it tomorrow, we may eat it!
Anyway, for your xmas pleasure, here are the pictures of our fabulous tree, resplendent in popcorn and cranberry tinsel, gingerbread peeps and hearts, red red ribbons, pompoms and a crochet unicow 🙂
Well apologies for the lateness of this recipe blog, those christmas days tend to run away with themselves don’t they.
The following recipe is what you will need to make the 3D cookie tree I mentioned in my last post. The recipe can be found on the back of the pack of star cookie cutters that I purchased from Lakeland http://www.lakeland.co.uk/14489/3D-Christmas-Cookie-Cutter-Set. The recipe is pretty spot on but I found the addition of vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract is a bit yummier and can also be bought from Lakeland.
300g unsalted butter, softened
300g caster sugar
2 small eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
a pinch of salt
600g plain flour, sifted
First line some baking trays with baking parchment ready for your stars.
In a bowl cream together your butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the beaten eggs, vanilla and salt and mix well. Then gradually add your flour and mix until well incorporated. This can take a while as the mixture is quite dry. Worry not, persevere and it will come together.
Once you have a dough pop it into a plastic bag and then pop it into the fridge to chill for at least an hour.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) or gas mark 4.
Once your dough is chilled , roll it out to around 3-4 mm.
Now time to cut out your stars. You will need 2 of each, only one of the teeniest star for the top though. Arrange them on your prepared trays. They don’t spread much so you can put a fair few on the trays. Even so it took me about 3 lots of 2 batches in the oven to cook them all. If you have a double oven. YAY.
They take around 10-12 minutes to cook. Once they are firm and golden you can take them out of the oven. Do bear in mid the various sizes you are cooking, if you can do batches of similar size stars together so they cook together. You will need to adjust the time slightly for the biggest ones as well as the teeny ones but not by much (only a minute or so each side).
Leave them to cool on the baking trays for around 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. If you are impatient like me and need the baking trays for the next batch. You can slide the baking sheet with your hot cookies onto a wire rack, but please, please be careful as they are hot and fragile (one or two of mine broke doing this!)
Once you have all your cooked cookies and they have cooled down, you can assemble your tree. We used royal icing to stick ours together which works brilliantly until you try and eat your tree. Ours was stuck so well we had to go at the thing with a hammer!!! Your choice really, I would still use royal icing if you want your tree to be on display for a few days as we did. It kept really well for nearly a week on the kitchen table. If you want to eat it swiftly a butter icing will do or fondant icing as pictured below.
The picture below is of the one on the box from Lakeland. You can see our creation on my previous post (mine will get an inferiority complex if I post it here!!)
Well it’s five minutes till xmas day. We made our traditional Christmas Gingerbread House today as referred to in my last post. This year though we made something new as well. I picked up some star cookie cutters and made ourselves a xmas cookie tree. When I am less sleepy and more able to construct sentences I will post the recipe and link to where you can get these cutter sets. Meanwhile I hope you like the pictures as much as we enjoyed making them.