'Tis the season for sugar.
There's nothing quite like coming home to the scent of freshly baked gingerbread. The smell alone is enough to transport you back to a time when Christmas wasn't so stressful. Baking cookies with your mum and being allowed to eat the leftover icing from this year's Christmas cake just made Christmas ten times better.
So being the millennials that we are and the fact that makes us way more nostalgic than any other generation, we've decided to bring the tradition of baking back...but with a twist. Below are three Christmas baking recipes from New York Christmas Baking, a new book by Lisa Neischlag and Lars Wentrup, which is out now.
Stained glass cookies
The powdered lollies melt in the oven to create colourful little ‘windows’. They also make lovely Christmas tree decorations: simply make a hole in the cookies before baking and then pull some pretty ribbon through the hole.
Makes about 60
- 300g plain flour
- Quarter teaspoon baking powder
- Quarter teaspoon salt
- 200g butter, at room temperature
- 120g brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Quarter teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 180g hard lollipops in various colours
- Flour for dusting
- Combine the flour with the baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in a separate bowl until creamy, about three minutes.
- Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Fold in the flour mixture in two batches to make a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for two hours.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160C and line two baking trays with baking paper. Sort the lollies by colour and pulse to a fine powder in a small food processor. Transfer to bowls, separated by colour.
- Dust your worktop lightly with flour, roll the dough out thinly to about 3mm, then use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes such as Christmas trees, stars or baubles.
- Transfer the cookies onto the trays. Cut out small shapes from inside the cookies and fill these with a little of the powdered lollies. If you are planning to use the cookies as decorations, also make a small hole for the ribbon. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes, and leave to cool on the trays.
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Decorating gingerbread people with icing is great fun and is easy to do using ready-made icing pens. Alternatively, combine some icing sugar with just enough milk to make a thick glaze. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a very small nozzle and get creative.
Makes about 25-30
- 210g plain flour
- 1.25 teaspoon ground ginger
- Half teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Quarter teaspoon ground cloves
- Quarter teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 85g butter, at room temperature
- 90g brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 50g molasses
- Flour for dusting
- Sift the flour with the spices, bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt into a bowl and set aside.
- Beat the butter in a separate bowl until creamy, about three minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Stir in the egg yolk and molasses.
- Add the flour mixture in several batches and mix to a smooth dough. Cover and rest in the fridge for at least two hours, preferably overnight.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with baking paper. Lightly dust your benchtop with flour and roll out the dough to about 3mm thick.
- Using a cutter, cut the dough into people shapes and transfer to the trays. Bake for 8–12 minutes, depending on size. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack before decorating.
- Berry filling to create a red-and-white candy cane pattern.
This post was originally published on our sister site Food and Wine.
New York Christmas Baking is published by Murdoch Books, €23.50, The Book Depository
Main image by Jamie Daykin