Joan, our resident cook (and award winning photographer) has given us this Christmassy recipe for spiced biscuits to hang on the tree. If you like Joan’s photographs as much as her food, then take a look at her website for more recipes and more of her beautiful photographs You might even consider signing up for one of her photography workshops. We’ve done one and can wholeheartedly recommend.
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. mixed spice
50g soft light brown sugar
100g unsalted butter, cold
50g black treacle
25g pine nuts
Sieve the flour, baking powder and spices into the bowl of a food processor. Add the sugar and give these ingredients a quick blitz. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Turn the flour, sugar and spice mixture into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Warm a metal spoon and add the treacle (the treacle falls more easily from a warm metal spoon) and bring the mixture together with your hands until all the streaks of treacle have disappeared. Shape the dough into a ball and divide into two. Cover and chill the dough until ready to use but don’t let the dough get too cold or it will be difficult to roll out.
To roll out
Shape one of the pieces of dough into a flat disc and place on a piece of parchment paper. Cover the dough with a second piece of parchment paper (Clingfilm works well too) and roll the dough until it is 5mm thick . It should be nice and even.
Using the baking parchment to lift – transfer the dough onto a baking tray and place in the fridge to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting into shapes. Cut out the biscuit shapes using cutters or create your own templates using thick card. Remove any excess dough from the parchment paper and re-roll the dough before cutting more shapes. Pierce a hole through the biscuit if you want to hang from the tree.
Preheat the oven to 170C/350F/Gas mark 4 Cook the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with the parchment paper for about 15 minutes or until they are just beginning to brown. Remove the baking tray from the oven and lift the parchment paper onto a cooling tray.
Cool the biscuits thoroughly before storing otherwise they may loose their crunch. They will keep for a week.
Recipe and photograph by Joan Ransley www.joanransley.co.uk