I’ve been feeling decidedly un-Christmassy this week. We’re not going home for the holidays and I haven’t managed to persuade anyone to come up here. We haven’t quite decided what we’re doing on Christmas Day, but the turkey, brussel-sprout menu that has been offered by some friends doesn’t really inspire. I can understand turkeys for Thanksgiving, but how is it that such an American fowl can be considered traditional British Christmas fare anyway? As for the brussel sprout – don’t the locals know that it isn’t really a holiday vegetable? It’s clearly the only plant that continues to grow in this weather.
To remedy the situation, or at least to instil some festive spirit into our third floor apartment, I decided to get baking. Spiced biscuits, cakes and breads smell homely and festive at the same time, which is just what I needed. On Saturday, I made the dough for my mother’s Christmas cookie recipe. It’s always so sticky from all the honey that I prefer to leave it in the fridge overnight. On Sunday, I baked the cookies.
- 1 lb honey
- 3/4 lb brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons bicarb soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 6 cups plain flour
Beat the eggs and sugar. Warm the honey and add to the eggs. Mix remaining ingredients together and to the eggs, sugar and honey. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge until needed.
I didn’t have the required jar of mixed-spice, so made my own according to the ingredients in my store cupboard, along the following lines:
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
Roll the cookies out to 8mm thick or thereabouts. Bake until light brown.
My cookie cutters were mittens, woolly hats, stars and stocking – excellent for piped royal-icing knitting. See my easter cookie recipe for the icing.