Well it wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't leave some milk and cookies for Santa now would it? Now as much as I love a good choc-chip cookie sometimes I like a bit of variety and for a guy who has to travel the world in one night and eat a heck of a lot of cookies I thought Santa could do with something a little different when he pops into my place on December 24th!
These cookies are a delightful blend of some of my favorites spices, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves. These are to me, are classically Christmas and the aroma wafting through the house as these are baking is so warm and inviting! The quick and simply lemon drizzle icing on top is an optional extra but it does look so very pretty when finished off with some sprinkles and tastes lovely too. These cookies go really well with a cup of tea or coffee too.
You can make this dough and keep it in the fridge, ready as discs (see recipe below for details) for several days before rolling, just take out of the fridge about 20-25 minutes before rolling.
Using a lightly floured silicon mat to roll out your biscuits, it makes the process so much easier OR roll your dough between two sheets of baking paper
It's much easier if you place your cooled and baking cookies close (but not touching on a large piece of baking paper or tray and just use a zig-zag pattern over ALL your cookies it coats them faster rather than one by one and you'll save a LOT of time. You can go over individual cookies if you feel they need more icing.
Place the sprinkles over the icing before it sets
If you prefer your cookies slightly softer bake for only 10 minutes, if you prefer yours more crispy like me (for dipping into your tea or coffee) then bake for 12 minutes
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3+1/2 cups plain flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon. salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups icing sugar
7-8 tablespoons milk
1+1/2 - 2 teaspoons lemon OR orange extract (try with less and add more if needed)
Sprinkles for decoration (optional)
In large bowl and using a cake or hand electric mixer at medium speed, beat sugar and butter until light and creamy.
Beat in eggs and vanilla until blended. Gradually beat in flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves until well blended.
Divide dough in thirds and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or until dough is firm enough to roll. (You can also freeze for 20-30 minutes if in a rush).
Preheat oven to 180°C/350° F and line 2 trays with baking paper.
On lightly floured silicon mat and with a floured rolling pin, roll you first disk until 2mm / 1/8 inch thick. Using an 8cm / 3 inch wide star cutter cut dough into as many cookies as possible. Gather and re-roll the remaining down and continue to cut as many cookies as possible until you have used the dough. (Alternatively roll your dough between two sheets of baking paper and follow the same instructions as above.)
Gently place cookies, 2.5cm/1" apart, on your lined trays. I used a thin lightly floured spatula to pick them up and place them on my tray
Bake cookies 10-12 minutes - 10 minutes for a softer cookie, 12 minutes for a crisper one.
Repeat with process with your remaining dough discs until all your dough is used.
Allow your cookies to cool completely before frosting and decorating.
To make your frosting add the icing sugar, milk and extract into a small mixing bowl and mix to combine, when you reach an easy to pour consistency.
On a large sheet of baking paper or a tray, add as many cookies as you can and then drizzle the icing over the cookies. add some sprinkles and allow to set before serving.
Store cookies in an air-tight container (with baking paper between layers) at room temperature up to 1 week or well sealed in the fridge for up to 2 months.
MAKES 40 COOKIES