Monday, 17 December 2012

German Christmas Biscuits (1)

Christmas comes but once a year, so you might as well make the festive season last!
For me, the most important part of the Christmas festivities is the feasting, and I love having the excuse to make lots of delicious goodies for my nearest and dearest. This year the bake-fest started early, with a marathon session of biscuit-baking, using recipes from the splendid Dr Oetker: German Baking Today. All in all, my German friend Mel, and I spent about 9 hours in her kitchen on an ueber-efficient production line of jollity, making batch after batch of biscuits.
As well as being one of the simplest of the recipes, I have to say that these delicious little nuggets were my favourites. Sweet and spiced in equal measure, they really say "Christmas is coming"...
Spicy glazed biscuits
For the biscuits
250g/9oz plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
160g/5.5oz sugar
1tsp grated lemon zest
pinch salt
1 egg (medium)
1 pinch each ginger, cardamom, cloves, allspice, white pepper (all ground)
3-4 tblsp milk
25g/1oz ground almonds
25g/1oz finely chopped candied lemon peel
For the glaze
175g/6oz icing sugar
2 tblsp hot water
1. Mix together the flour and baking powder in a bowl, then add the sugar, lemon, salt, egg, spices, milk, almonds and mix together thoroughly.
2. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until very smooth. Divide the dough into two rolls, about 25cm/10in long. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. I made four, smaller rolls, so that I could take one out a time later without them warming up too much.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment and preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius (Gas mark 4).
4. Reshape the rolls if they have gone flat on the bootom, then cut into slices approxiately 1cm in width. Arrange the biscuit coins onto the baking sheet, and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
5. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
6. For the glaze, mix together the icing sugar and hot water to make a thick, spreadale glaze, and coat the biscuits, allowing it to set completely.