Christmas Cookies . . .

Saturday 28 November 2015

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Well, I guess the holiday season is well and truly upon us now.   Time to get baking! Often during the years when my children were growing up I did not have a lot of money to buy gifts for other people and so the thing that I would love to do most of all was to prepare a tray of baking to gift people with.  I would spend several weeks baking up my favourite cookies and cakes and freezing them.  You could buy cheap Christmas trays at the dollar/pound shop and then in the days just prior to Christmas, I would place an assortment of baking onto each tray, wrap them up in cling film, attaching a pretty tag and ribbon and that is what they would get.  I never had a person that was disappointed to receive this gift! Ever!  Today I an presenting you a round up of some of the tasty morsels I would include!  This type of gift is always most welcome for neighbors or friends, even family.


Holiday Linzer Cookies always go down a real treat.   These ones are special, with a buttery nutty and lightly spiced dough and delicious raspberry jam filling, they never fail to delight!

*Linzer Cookies*
Makes about 2 dozen
Printable Recipe

The quintessential Christmas Cookie. Tender sweet cookies filled with tart raspberry jam. Delicious!!

3 ounces (2/3 cup) hazelnuts
3.75 ounces (1/2 cup packed) light brown sugar
10 .75 ounces (2 1/2 cups) sifted plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 large free range egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces raspberry jam, seived
caster sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180*C/ 350*F/ gas mark 4. Place the hazelnuts into a shallow baking pan and bake for about 6 minutes until the skins are beginning to loosen and the nuts are fragrant. Turn off the oven. Dump the hot nuts into a tea towel and rub with the towel to loosen as much of the skins as possible. Discard any skins. Place half the brown sugar and the nuts into a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely ground.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

Cream together the butter and remaining brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the nut mixture and beat until well combined. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. Work iin the flour mixture, just until combined. Divide the dough in half, shaping each half into a round flat disc. Wrap in cling film and chill until firm, about 2 hours.

Heat the oven again to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark4. Roll out 1 disc of the dough to 1/8 inch thickness between two sheets of cling film. Cut out as many cookies as you can with a 2 1/4 inch fluted round cookie cutter. Repeat until all the dough has been cut out/ Using a smaller shaped cutter, cut shapes out of the centre of half of the rounds. Place one inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Dust the top halves with some caster sugar . (these are the ones with the centre cut out.) Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely before proceeding. Repeat until all the dough has been used up, only rerolling the scraps once. Discard any scraps after that.

Spread about 1 teaspoon of jam on the solid halves of the baked cookies. Top with the flat side of a windowed cookie. Repeat until all cookies are put together. Store between sheets of parchment paper in a tightly covered tin.

What is it about the warm baking spices and Christmas that go so well together?  I don't know, but it just wouldn't be Christmas without some of these wonderfully spiced Christmas Hermit Cookies. 
This particular version are baked as logs which are then cut into bars.  Oh so tender and moist and filled with lots of chopped sultanas and candied ginger root.  Easy to make and quick to do as well, as you bake them as an entire log and then cut them into bars after baking, cooling and drizzling with a tangy lemon or orange glaze.

*Hermit Cookies*
Makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies
Printable Recipe

Chewy and incredibly moist.  The best hermit cookie ever. You need to start these the day before you plan on baking them, so plan accordingly.

150g of sultana raisins (1 cup)
2 TBS crystallized Ginger-root, finely chopped
8 TBS unsalted butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
200g plain flour (2 cups)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
150g of soft dark brown sugar
75ml of golden syrup
75ml of dark treacle
(For these you can substitute an equal amount of mild molasses, 125ml or 1/2 cup)
2 large free range eggs

For the glaze:
1 1/2 TBS lemon or orange juice
100g of icing sugar, sifted (3/4 cup)

Place the butter in a saucepan and heat over medium low heat until it is nut brown in color, swirling occasionally.  Don't let it burn.  Add the cinnamon and all spice.  Heat until it is fragrant.  Set aside to cool. 

Place the sultanas and ginger root into the bowl of your food processor.  Blitz until they are finely chopped, and the mixture begins to stick together.  They should be only small pieces.  Stir in the butter mixture.  Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, soda, salt and brown sugar in a large bowl, breaking up any lumps in the sugar.   Beat the eggs and syrup/treacle into the butter mixture.  Add all at once to the flour mixture and stir together until well combined.  The mixture will be quite sticky.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.  I like to leave it overnight.

The next day, preheat your oven to `80*C/350*F/ gas mark 5.  Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment.  Divide the chilled dough into 4 equal sized pieces.  Roll each piece into a 10 inch long log with your hands, on top of a lightly floured surface.  Place two logs each on one of the lined baking sheets, leaving plenty of space in between for spreading.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until only a shallow indentation remains on the edges when lightly touched.  Switch and rotate the baking sheets after 10 minutes.  They should still look soft in the centre.  Allow to cool on the baking sheets for five minutes, then slip the parchment off onto wire racks and allow to cool completely.

Whisk the glaze ingredients together until smooth and drizzable.  Drizzle over the cookie logs.  Allow to set and harden.   Cut the logs into 2 inch bars.  Store in an airtight container for up to five days at room temperature.

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 I think Speculoos are my favourite of all the Christmas Cookies.  Speculoos are thin, very crunchy, slightly browned and crisp and spicy.  Traditionally they are stamped with pictures . . . which is why I called them windmill cookies growning up as the ones we bought were always shaped like windmills.  Delicious!

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Makes about 3 1/2 dozen
This is a recipe I adapted from saltedmag.   Believe it or not these taste even better than the ones you can buy in the shops at Christmas!  They smell heavenly when they are baking.  Your house will smell like Christmas!

48g ground almonds (1/2 cup)
188g plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
113g unsalted butter at room temperature (1/2 cup)
110g light muscovado sugar (1/2 cup)
100g golden caster sugar (1/2 cup)
1 large free range egg

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Whisk the almonds, flour, soda, salt and spices together in a bowl.   Set aside.  Cream together the butter and both sugars using an electric mixer on medium/high speed until light and fluffy.   Beat in the egg, until combines.   Beat the flour in slowly just to combine.   Shape into a round flat disc and wrap in plastic cling film.   Refrrigerate for at least one hour, but preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.   Line several baking sheets with baking parchment.  Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut out the cookies to your desired preference and place onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between each.   Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.  They should be firm and lightly golden brown around the edges. Allow to stand on the baking sheets for several minutes before scooping off to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.  Reroll scraps and repeat until all the dough is used. Store in an airtight container.


These Cranberry, Pistachio and Ginger Shortbread biscuits are fabulous.  With the green and red colours of Christmas and a tiny snap of Ginger,  The flavours of dried Cranberries, Pistachio Nuts and the ginger work so very well together . . . and make for a very pretty biscuit/cookie.  Mmm. Mmm. Good.  A drizzle of white chocolate makes the perfect finishing touch.

*Cranberry, Ginger and Pistachio Shortbread Biscuits*
Makes about 5 dozen
Printable Recipe

A delicious variation on an old holiday favourite!

225g unsalted butter, softened (1 cup)
65g sifted icing sugar (1/2 cup)
2 TBS finely chopped dried cranberries
2 TBS finely chopped candied ginger
2 TBS finely chopped pistachio nuts
1/4 tsp salt
200g plain flour (2 cups)

90g white chocolate chips melted (1/2 cup)

Preheat the oven to 300*C/150*F/ gas mark 2.  Line a couple of baking sheets with baking paper.  Set aside.

Cream the butter ad sugar together in a bowl util light and fluffy.  Stir in the salt, berries, ginger and nuts.  Gradually stir in the flour until well combined.  Roll out between two sheets of greaseproof paper, to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut into desired shapes using a sharp metal cookie cutter.  Place onto the lined baking sheets, leaving some space inbetween cookies.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until light golden.  Scoop off and cool on a wire rack.  Repeat until all the dough is used, re-rolling scraps as necessary.

Once all the biscuits have been baked and cooled, melt the chocolate chips according to the package directions.  Drizzle decoratively over top of the shortbread biscuits.  Allow to set before storing in an airtight container.

 Nutmeg Fingers, Eggnog Logs . . .  whatever you call these, they are a Christmas Tradition for us!  Tasty little Nutmeg logs, all buttery and nutmeggy scrummy and covered with a layer of butter cream and dusted with, what else but more nutmeg. Hmmm . . . hope they like nutmeg!

Fa la la la la . . . la la . . . la . . . la!

*Nutmeg Fingers*
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen
Printable recipe
Buttery little nutmeg flavoured logs, slathered in a tasty buttercream and dusted with what else but more nutmeg!

for the logs:
8 ounces butter, softened (1 cup)
5.25 ounces caster sugar (3/4 cup)
1 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
(I love my fine sided microplane grater!)
1 large free range egg
2 tsp pure vanilla
1 tsp rum extract
12.75 ounces plain flour (3 cups)

For the buttercream:
2 ounces butter, softened (1/4 cup)
12 ounces icing sugar, divided (3 cups)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp rum extract
1 TBS cream
1 TBS milk

to finish:
freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Get out two large baking sheets. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, nutmeg and flavourings. Mix in well. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough. Shape handfulls of the dough into long ropes, 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut into 3 inch sticks and place at least one inch apart on the baking sheets, repeating until you have used up all the dough,. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottoms. Remove from the oven and alow to cool on wire racks.

To make the butter cream, beat together the butter and 8 ounces (2 cups) of the icing sugar, along with the vanilla and rum extract. When it starts to come together, beat in the milk, cream and remaining icing sugar, beating until light and fluffy.

Using a flat knife spread a portion of icing on the top of each log. Rough up with the tines of a fork. Set aside to dry. Dust with freshly grated nutmeg. Store in an airtight container. These also freeze well, tightly covered. Place into a freezer container, placing parchment paper between the layers.

Candy Cane Cookies.  Two colours of almond flavoured and scented dough, rolled into ropes and twisted together then baked in a candy cane hook.  I like to drizzle them with white chocolate and sprinkles for an extra festive touch!

*Candy Cane Cookies*
Makes about 30 cookies
Printable Recipe

Two toned cookies, delicately almond flavoured and buttery, easily shaped into candy canes!

for the white dough:
4 ounces butter softened (1/2 cup)
3 ounces caster sugar (1/3 cup plus 1 TBS)
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp almond essence
6 1/2 ounces plain flour (approximately 1 1/4 cup)

For the red dough:
4 ounces butter softened (1/2 cup)
3 ounces caster sugar (1/3 cup plus 1 TBS)
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp almond essence
2 tsp red food colouring
6 1/2 ounces plain flour (approximately 1 1/4 cup)

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/gas mark 7.

Make the white dough first. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk and almond essence. Beat in the flour until well blended. Shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

To make the red dough do exactly the same except beating in the food colouring along with the egg and almond. Wrap in cling film and chill for half an hour.

To make, tear off walnut sized pieces of the red dough. Using your palms, shape into ropes about 1/4 inch in diameter and 5 inches long. Do the same with the white dough. Twist the ropes together and then bend the top into a curve like a cane. Place on ungreased baking sheets, at least one inch apart.

Bake for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store packed in an airtight container between layers of parchment paper.

Spicy Ginger Crackles are a year round winner, but also go very well on a Christmas Baking tray.  With their spicy flavours and sweet sugar coating, they are real favourites!  Crunchy on the outside yes . . . but nice and chewy on the insides. Just the way I like them. Of course you could bake them for a few minutes longer if you want crunchy, but I like chewy. It is my bliss. 12 minutes gets you chewy bliss. 15 minutes gets you crunch.

*Spicy Ginger Crackles*
Makes 3 dozen
Printable Recipe

A deliicous ginger cookie that is nicely spiced and coated in crunchy demarara sugar!

4 ounces butter, softened (1/2 cup)
7 ounces caster sugar (1 cup)
2.4 ounces molasses (1/3 cup)
1 large free range egg
1 1/2 TBS ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
8.5 ounces plain flour (2 cups)
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
2 ounces chopped candied ginger (about 1/3 cup)
Demerara sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and molasses. Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, soda and a pinch of salt. Stir this into the creamed mixture, combining well. Stir in the candied ginger.

Place some demerara sugar in a bowl. You will only need a couple tablespoonsful. Shape spoonfuls of the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in the demerara sugar and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until they are lightly browned and crackled. Remove from the oven. Let cool on the baking sheet for several minutes, and then scoop off to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Store in an airtight container.

Note - the original recipe called for rolling the cookies icing sugar, but I found it didn't work well. The icing sugar disappeared on baking. Demerara sugar gives a much nicer finish.

Everyone loves Gumdrop Cookies/Biscuits.   Oaty cookied filled with little coloured bits of candy gumdrops.  Do not be tempted to use the American Gums they sell over here in the UK.  They are just far too hard and not at all like the gumdrops from back home.  You can get packs of orange and lemon slices in the cake decorating section of Morrisons over here. They are little mini sugared gummy candies and are just the perfect size for these cookies. Oh so scrummy!  You won't get quite the variety of colours, but they are still fabulously delish!

*Gum Drop Biscuits*
Makes about 3 dozen
Printable Recipe

Colourful, chewy and yet crisp at the same time. Very Moreish!

4 ounces white vegetable fat (Trex or Crisco) (1/2 cup)
3.5 ounces soft light brown sugar (1/2 cup packed)
4 ounces granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
1 large free range egg
3 ounces rolled oats (1 cup)
1.5 ounces of cornflakes (1 cup)
5.2 ounces plain flour (1 cup)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 ounces flaked coconut (1/2 cup)
4 ounces cut up gumdrops (no Black) (1/2 cup)
(I have found over here in the UK that those lemon and orange slices work
really well. You can get mini ones in the Cake decoration section at Morrisons.
One packet is just about the right size for what you need.)

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Line a couple of baking trays with parchment paper and then butter the paper. Set aside.

Cream together the shortening and the sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Sift together the flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Stir this into the creamed mixture until well mixed together. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Drop by heaped spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottoms. Remove from the oven. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container.

 Christmas Porkie Pies.  Not pork pies at all, but brown sugar cookie cups filled with a delicious date filling and topped with Vanilla Buttercream icing.  Fabulous!  A Nova Scotian treat!

*Porkie Pies*
Makes 24
Printable Recipe

"Porkie Pies" is Cockney Rhyming slang for "telling lies." These are a sweet little lie as they are not pork pies at all, but tasty little tartlettes with a crisp cookie crust, a sweet date filling and a Linkcreamy buttercream topping!

For the shells:
8 ounces butter, softened (1 cup)
4 TBS icing sugar
280g flour (2 cups)

For the filling:
375g chopped dates (2 cups)
255g of soft light brown sugar (1 1/2 cups)
250ml of water (1 cup)
1 TBS lemon juice

Vanilla butter cream icing(your own recipe or premade)

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7. Have ready two mini muffin pans, each holding 12.

Beat the butter, flour and icing sugar for the shells together until you have a smooth mixture. Divide into 25 evenly sized balls and drop each into the muffin tin holes. Use a wooden dowel or something similar to tamp the centres down and force the edges up into a crust shape. Bake in the heated oven for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and let cool before popping out of the tin completely.

To make the filling combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

To assemble spoon a portion of the date filling into each cookie cup and top with a bit of butter cream. You can pipe the buttercream on if you wish, but I am lazy and just spoon it on. These are fabulous!

Note: Making your own Buttercream is simple and easy.  2 TBS softened butter and 280g of icing sugar (2 cups) beaten together with just enough milk to create a fluffy creamy mixture.Add a few drops of vanilla for flavouring.

Gooey Butter Tarts.  You can make these bite sized if you wish.  Although they are claimed to be a Canadian Treat . . . having looked at the Scottish recipe for a similar tart . . . one can clearly see that these delicious butter tarts have their roots firmly planted in Scottish soil . . .

*Gooey Butter Tarts*
Makes 12
Printable Recipe

Flaky pastry filled with a gooey sweet filling, all buttery and filled with currants. These are the best!

For the Pastry:
6.5 ounces of plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 tsp salt
2 ounces cold butter, cubed
2 ounces cold shortening, cubed
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vinegar
ice water

For the Filling:
3.75 ounces of Soft light brown sugar (1/2 cup packed)
4 fluid ounces golden syrup (1/2 cup)
1 large free range egg
2 TBS butter, softened
1 tsp each vanilla and white vinegar
pinch salt
3 ounces dried currants (1/2 cup packed)

Whisk the flour and salt for the pastry together in a bowl. Drop in the butter and shortening and cut it in with two round bladed knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk the egg yolk together with the vinegar and add enough ice water to equal 75 ml. (1/3 cup) Gradually sprinkle this over the flour mixture, stirring it in with a fork until the pastry holds together. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.

For the filling, whisk the sugar, golden syrup, egg., butter, vanilla, salt and vinegar together vigorously. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 230*c/450*F/ gas mark 7.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Stamp out rounds with a 4 inch round pastry cutter. Fit into shallow bun tins. Drop a few currants into the bottom of each. Top off with some of the egg mixture, filling 3/4 full.

Bake in the bottom third of the heated oven for 12 minutes, or until filling is puffed and bubbly and the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven. Let stand one minute, and then immediately loosen and remove to a wire rack to cool completely before eating.

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Chocolate and Almond Glazed Jam Biscuits.  Buttery cookies, with jam centres baked until puffy and golden brown and then drizzled with melted chocolate first and then an almond glaze icing second..  Scrumptious and quite pretty!

*Chocolate and Almond Glazed Jam Biscuits*
Makes one dozen

These are so simple to make and so tasty.   You get a nice buttery and short biscuit with the added bonus of a dab of jam in the middle.  Perfect for with that hot cuppa! 

200g self raising flour (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
100g caster sugar (1/2 cup)
100g butter (7 TBS)
1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
4 TBS cherry  jam 
To Finish:
45g of semi sweet or milk chocolate chips (1/4 cup)
65g of sifted icing sugar (1/2 cup)
few drops almond flavouring
hot water

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Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Line a large baking tray with baking paper.  Set aside.

Measure the flour and sugar into a bowl.  Drop in the butter.  Rub the butter into the flour mixture, using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.   You can do this in a food processor if you wish.   Add enough of the beaten egg until the mixture comes together into a stiff dough.   (I needed all of the egg for mine.)  Flour your hands and shape the dough into a roll about 7 inches in length and 2 inches in diameter.   Using a sharp knife cut into 12 equal slices.  Place the slices onto the prepared baking sheet.  They spread out so leave plenty of space between them.  Using the tip of a wooden spoon, make an indentation in the centre of each.   (Not too deeply).  Fill each indentation with 1 tsp of jam.

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Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until slightly risen and golden brown.

Place the chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and microwave it at 20 second intervals until well melted and smooth.  Drizzle this chocolate haphazardly over the cookies while they are still on the baking sheet.   Whisk together the icing sugar, almond flavouring and just enough hot water to make a thick drizzle icing.   Drizzle this haphazardly over the cookies while they are still on the baking sheet.

Scoop off onto a wire rack to cool completely and set before eating.  Store in an airtight container.

It wouldn't be Christmas without Mince Pies.  The shops are full of them of course, but there is nothing nicer than beautiful homemade ones.  Perfectly delicious!

*Open Mince Pies*
Makes 2 to 3 dozen
Printable Recipe

These pies have a lovely flakey pastry that is made entirely in the food processor. You can use your own homemade mincemeat, or purchased. I have given the homemade recipe below. It's the best!

For the Pastry:
450g of plain flour (3 1/2 cups)
250g of unsalted butter (1.1 cups)
the finely grated zest of one lemon
150g of icing sugar, sifted (2/3 cup)
2 small free range egg yolks

1 quantity of mincemeat (see recipe below)
Icing sugar for dusting

To make the pastry, place the flour and butter into a food processor. Give it a quick blitz at high speed to reduce it to a crumb like consistency. Add the lemon zest and the icing sugar and give it another quick blitz. Add the egg yolks and enough milk to bring the dough together while the motor is running. Place into a zip lock bag and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. Working with 1/2 of the pastry at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured board to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a fluted round pastry cutter, cut into rounds to fit into nonstick bun tins.. (shallow tart tins) Place in the tins and fill with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat. Roll the trimming out and cut into star shapes or Christmas trees slightly smaller than the diameter of each pie. Place in the centre of each, on top of the mincemeat. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the pastry is a pale gold. Leave to cool before slipping out of the tins. Dust with icing sugar. Serve warm or cold. To reheat, place into a 170*C/325*F/ gas mark 3 oven for five minutes. Store in a tightly covered container. These can be quite successfully frozen.

*Homemade Mincemeat*
Makes approximately 1 pound
(enough for approximately 3 dozen mince pies)

A delicious blend of dried fruit, nuts, spices, brown sugar and brandy. (I use apple juice)

150g of currants(1 cup)
125g of raisins (3/4 cup packed)
25g of blanched almonds, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
1 knob of preserved stem ginger, finely chopped
1 eating apple, peeled and grated
50g of shredded beef or vegetable suet (1/2 cup)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
the finely grated zest and juice of one lemon
2 TBs brandy
1 TBS dark muscovado sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside for at least 12 hours to macerate.


Now that you have made your own mincemeat, how about some Holiday Split Seconds!  A buttery crisp cookie, the centres filled with mincemeat and then topped with a nutty streusel that you bake in logs and then cut into diagonals, and glaze.  Delicious!

*Holiday Split Seconds*
Makes 4 dozen
Printable Recipe

Called split seconds because they can be thrown together quickly and baked just as quick as a wink. These are lovely additions to your holiday cookie trays. Great keepers and very tasty.

280g plain flour
(2 cups)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 ounces butter, softened
(3/4 cup)
75g golden caster sugar
(2/3 cup)
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 to 3/4 small jar of purchased mincemeat

Streusel Topping:
285g brown sugar
(1/3 cup)
70g plain flour
(1/3 cup)
2 tsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS softened butter
50g chopped toasted pecans

140g icing sugar, sifted
(1 cup)
milk as needed to make a runny glaze

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Line two shallow baking trays with parchment paper. Set aside.

Sift together the baking powder, flour and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the caster sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, beating until smooth. Beat in the flour mixture until the dough is well mixed. Divide into quarters.

Shape each quarter into a long thick sausage shape on the parchment paper, each about 13 inches long and about 3/4 of an inch wide. Place the logs, 2 inches from the edges of the pan and at least four to five inches apart from each other. Press it a bit flat with your gingers and square it off at the ends. Taking the handle of a wooden spoon make a depression down the centre of each log lengthwise about 1/4 of an inch deep. Spoon the mincemeat carefully down the centre of each, filling in the depression.

Make the streusel by rubbing all the ingredients together to make a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle some of this over each log. You will not need it all.

Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they start to colour and firm up a bit. Remove from the pan and while they are still warm, using a sharp knife, cut each log into 12 diagonal slices. Slide the paper onto wire racks to allow them to cool completely before separating them. Once they are completely cold, make a glaze by whisking the icing sugar together with enough milk to make a smooth drizzle. Drizzle some of this over each cookie. Allow to harden before stroring in airtight containers. Will keep at least a week, if you have them that long! They also freeze very well.

I could go on and on, but I won't.  I think that I have probably given you enough food for thought here today!  (Every pun intended!)  There's a Merry Christmas in the Baking!  Happy Days!


  1. Great informative..generous post.
    I am sure I will try one more of yours:) I love your open face start studded mince tarts:) All of them..Thank you!

  2. Hi Marie,

    Lovely to see your repertoire of Christmas cookies.
    I need to start my Christmas baking too.

    I have a recipe for tartlets called Cape Breton pork pies from an old Homemaker's Magazine from Canada, and I always wondered why they were called pork pies.

    1. That's where this recipe comes from Westessex, from,Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It was in the Chronical Herald newspaper back when I was a girl. They used to put out a flyer every Christmas with recipes sent in by readers. I call them porkie pies because I reckon that is where "they" got the name from. Cockney rhyming slang! xoxo

  3. Wonderful selection! Most of these are new to me, but I sure would like to try a few of them. I especially like the ones with dates and mincemeat. ~Elaine

    1. Thanks Elaine! I have a special fondness for date and mincemeat also! xo

  4. Hi Marie - these look great. I appreciate that you give measurements and hints for your U.S. followers. By the way, I was going through the links to blogs you like (found on the left hand site of this page) and found that the link to A Year From Oak Cottage has been hijacked by an adult x-rated site. You might want to delete this link. Lisa

    1. Thanks Lisa! THose kind of people really get on my pip!! I have fixed the link so that it goes to the right page now. Thank you so much for telling me! That is my old blog from a while back and I am really annoyed that the original link had been hijacked. It's all better now!

      I hope you will try some of the cookies and goodies. They are really good! xoxo

  5. Happy to help. My cooking blog, Aunt Lil's Kitchen, was similarly hacked! There's nothing worse than having your nice, sweet, innocent cooking blog become an adult site. Luckily my hubby is very computer smart and reinstated an older version of my blog.

    Love your blog by the way, and sure wish I had time to post as much as you do! Keep it up. Lisa

    1. How lucky you are to have a computer smart husband. My husband and I both fly by the seats of our trousers on here! I need to check out your blog! Sounds tasty! Thanks so much re your comments about my blog! xoxo

  6. Greetings from Canada! Thank you for this wonderful collection of Christmas cookies. I have a question though. In the recipe of Spicy Ginger Crackles you mention molasses among the ingredients. Yet in the instructions it disappears. So at what stage and where do I add it? Thank you and Merry Christmas :)

    1. Sorry about that Anastasia. You beat it in with the egg. I have fixed the recipe. Thanks for nothing my error!! Merry Christmas to you also! xo

  7. Hi Marie, Thanks for the wonderful selection of Christmas biscuits to bake, I have the Hermit Cookies and Glazed Jam biscuit dough resting in the fridge now, about to mix the Holiday Split Seconds. Lovely Mince Meat recipe too. Also mixed a batch of my Gran's Custard biscuits. This post is bookmarked, a real keeper! Hope your arm is better soon, arnica oil is my go to for tendonitis and plenty of rest. Take care and a Blessed Christmas to you and yours! Hugs.

    1. Merrypetal (love your name by the way), thanks so much for your lovely comment! You will adore all of these biscuits you bake. I am especially fond of the Holiday Split Seconds! Your Gran's Custard Biscuits sound great! Yumm! Thanks also for the comment re my arm. I am beginning to think now perhaps I have a fracture in my elbow as it just is not improving, not with anything. I think I need an x-ray! A very Blessed Christmas to you and yours also and all the best in 2016! xoxo


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