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Learn how to make Christmas cut-out biscuits in the shapes of stars, gingerbread men or Christmas trees, which can be decorated in almost any way you can imagine! Make a whole lot in November, then freeze them to have to hand throughout the festive season.
A few simple tools make it easier
Aside from the ingredients in your recipe, a rolling pin, baking paper, cookie or biscuit cutters and flat baking sheets without edges, will make your job much easier.
Prepare the ingredients
Have all your ingredients at room temperature, so get any butter, milk or eggs out of the fridge 30 minutes beforehand.
Chill for easy handling
Once you've made the biscuit dough as directed in your recipe, wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for at least an hour. This will make the dough less sticky and easier to work with.
Preheat the oven
Line the baking trays with baking parchment and sprinkle your work surface and rolling pin lightly with flour. Preheat the oven to the recommended temperature in your recipe.
Prepare the dough
Divide the dough into portions and work on one section at a time. Return the rest of the dough to the fridge – especially if the kitchen is warm or if you are working with kids.
Get ready to roll!
Aim to roll the dough to 3 to 5mm, which is a good working thickness. Don't roll the dough too thin, and don't push down too hard when you're rolling or the dough will stick. Work gingerly and try and keep the thickness of the dough the same across the piece you are rolling.
Once you've rolled, start cutting the dough immediately with biscuit cutters. Keep moving the cutters around the rolled dough until you've cut out all you can. Dip the cutter in flour a few times during the process so it won't stick to the dough.
It's fine to cut sideways or upside down – the aim is to get as many biscuits out of each piece of rolled dough as possible. Re-roll and cut some more if possible, but only do that once to avoid the dough becoming tough, dried out and brittle.
Decorate before baking
If you aren't icing or decorating your biscuits after baking, here's where you can sprinkle on some demerara sugar, coloured sugar or dragees. Press in currants if you'd like to make buttons on a snowman, or ornaments on a tree.
Bake to perfection
Lift the cut biscuits from your table with a knife or a spatula depending on their size and place them on the prepared baking trays and put them into the pre-heated oven.
Generally these types of biscuits only take 8-12 minutes to cook, but follow your recipe and check them a few minutes before the recommended time to make sure they're not browning too fast. Once they are browned, remove them from the oven and cool on racks.
Cool, then decorate
Allow the biscuits to cool, preferably on wire racks. Ice and/or decorate the biscuits when they are completely cool.
A simple royal icing or icing sugar glaze works well, and you can add food colouring if desired to decorate green Christmas trees, yellow stars, etc.
Recipes to try