March 1, 2023

Festive biscuits

Whip up these delicious biscuits that are not only great for the Christmas table, but perfect as an edible gift.

Gingerbread biscotti w brandy drizzle (makes about 40)
450g plain flour
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
125g salted butter, room temperature
200g brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp treacle

for drizzle
300g icing sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp brandy

Preheat oven to 160C and line two baking trays with baking paper. Place flour, bicarb and spices into a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Cream together butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and treacle and beat until combined. Add flour mix and beat until a rough dough forms. Turn out on to the kitchen bench and quickly knead the dough until smooth, then divide in half. Form each dough into flattened logs about 6cmx20cm. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut the logs into 1.5cm slices and place cut-side down onto the baking trays and bake for 15-20 minutes, turning them over half way through, or until crisp. Cool on wire racks. Meanwhile, make the drizzle by sifting the icing sugar into a medium bowl, adding the cinnamon and brandy and whisking to form a smooth icing. Add additional brandy (or water) if needed to form a runny drizzle. Place the wire racks containing the biscotti over baking trays to catch excess icing and drizzle in a zig zag pattern, either simply using a spoon or by placing the icing in a piping bag for more control. Allow to set before storing in an airtight container.


Almond and rosemary wreaths (makes about 40)
350g plain flour
250g salted butter, room temperature, cubed
100g almond meal
100g caster sugar
1 egg

for glaze
300g icing sugar
1 vanilla bean
pink peppercorns

for crystallised rosemary
2 rosemary stems
1 egg white
½ cup caster sugar

For crystallised rosemary, remove the leaves from the stems and finely chop. Whisk the egg white in small bowl until frothy and place caster sugar into another small bowl. Add the rosemary to the egg whites and stir to coat. Place rosemary in a fine mesh sieve to drain excess egg white and then place the rosemary in the caster sugar. Toss to coat and spread out onto a baking tray and allow to dry for at least 2 hours, breaking up the pieces every now and then. Store in an airtight container.

Preheat oven to 160C and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.  Place flour and butter into a large bowl and rub in the butter until well incorporated. Add the almond meal and sugar and mix well. Add the egg and mix until a dough forms. Turn out onto the kitchen bench and knead until a smooth dough forms. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a log. Divide each log into about 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a log and join the ends together to form a wreath. Place on the baking trays and when all the wreaths are formed bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on wire racks. Meanwhile, make the glaze by sifting the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a small knife and add to the icing sugar. Add 3 tbsp water and whisk to form a smooth icing. Dip the wreaths into the icing and return to the wire rack. Sprinkle with crystallised rosemary and dot with pink peppercorns. Allow to set before storing in an airtight container.


This article first appeared in the December 2022 issue of SALIFE magazine.

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