For this week's Christmas activity, we made some Christmas biscuits. I must admit with slightly more drama than previous years, but the biscuits were still yummy (although not beautiful!) and we ate the lot very quickly.
The recipe we used was one of our 10 favourites - it was the 'Kids Almond biscuits' (Mandelkekse), as it is one of easiest to roll out and use cookie cutters on and the kids love the decorating part most (along with the tasting bit).
Here is the recipe for you (if you would like to try the other 9 biscuit recipes, download our collection here):
1/2 cup of butter or margarine
1 cup of sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp of lemon extract
1/2 tsp of almond extract
1 and 1/4 cups of flour
1/2 cup of ground almonds (optional, simply use more flour instead if you prefer not to use nuts)
For the icing
1-2 tbsp of lemon juice or water
mixed with 1/2 cup of icing sugar
Oven settings: preheat the oven to 175 C and bake the biscuits for 10-15 minutes or until they are light brown.
Once we had mixed all the ingredients together and the kids (and me) did our obligatory tasting, we started rolling out the dough on the kitchen table. I thought this would be a great activity to put the kids in charge of, and they did remarkably well for a first effort... Josh, my eldest, was in charge of the rolling pin - and navigated the dough first sticking to the table too much and then to the rolling pin too much (we used LOTS of flour...!) and got a nice even dough ready for his siblings to cut the cookies.
This is where things started to go a bit awry.... Isla (my middle one) fancied the same cookie cutter as my youngest (Rupert) and so there was a bit of a tussle over the Christmas tree cookie cutter. Isla, being more persuasive (or stronger) won the argument, which meant Rupert got somewhat bored. And while I tried to encourage him to go with the Christmas Star cookie cutter maybe, or the Angel... instead, he started to get completely absorbed by the fact that the (large amounts of) flour were delightfully fluffy and could be brushed to the floor with his hand to make lovely white clouds of flour in the air and on the floor... (see the flour starting to build up next to the bottom of his high chair in the photo?... well, it got a LOT WORSE than that! ;-) Him doing this meant, of course, that by the time Josh was ready to roll out the dough again, there was never quite enough flour left on the table, so he kept 're-applying' more and more flour to the table so that the new batch of dough wouldn't stick (only for Rupert to brush it to the floor again, before he could actually do the rolling out... a vicious circle... you get the picture!)
We finally managed to get all the dough cut out into Christmas cookie shapes and transferred them to the baking trays. The first round unfortunately stuck to the tray a bit, so for the next round Josh and Isla had the brilliant idea (!) of putting the uncooked cookie shapes on a rack above the baking tray, as this (so was their thinking) would mean they wouldn't stick.... well and so we had a little bit of a second faux pas. As soon as these cookies started to heat up in the oven they got very soft and started dripping through the rack, of course! By the time I checked on the cookies we had just random clumps of half baked cookies on the tray under the rack - not one of them looked anything like any of the shapes we had originally put them in. Why I didn't spot this and consciously double check the racks as I helped the kids put them into the hot oven, well is just...(duh!)... but luckily we were able to have a giggle and everyone was happy to decorate their cookies whatever shape they happened to be (phew!).
Maybe that had to do with the copious amounts of icing sugar that were consumed before, during and after the actual decorating process, but whatever the reason, overall we had a lot of fun and it certainly will remain a cookie baking experience to remember! ;-)
We hope you have lots of fun this week doing some baking too! Let us know how you get on, we'd love to hear all about it! :-)