Iced Christmas Tree Cookies
Makes 12–16 cookies
225g (8oz) unsalted butter, softened
225g (8oz) caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
450g (1lb) plain flour
250g (9oz) icing sugar
2–3 tablespoons water or lemon juice
Assorted coloured writing icing tubes
Sugar balls and edible sprinkles
Assorted Christmas tree cookie cutters
Put the butter and sugar in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a bowl and an electric whisk). Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the beaten egg, vanilla extract and salt, and mix again.
Gradually add the flour and mix until incorporated and smooth. Tip the dough out onto the work surface, flatten into a disc, cover with cling film and chill for a couple of hours until firm.
Sprinkle a little flour on a clean work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 3–4mm. Stamp out shapes with the cookie cutters and arrange on two baking trays lined with baking parchment. Gather up any scraps of cookie dough, knead very lightly to bring together into a ball and roll out again to stamp out more cookies. Chill in the fridge for a further 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Put the baking trays on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for about 10–12 minutes until pale golden and firm to the touch.
Remove the trays from the oven. Leave the cookies to cool on the baking trays before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Next you need to make glacé icing. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and, using a balloon whisk, gradually stir in enough water or lemon juice to make a smooth icing that will coat the back of a spoon. Add more water or lemon juice for a runnier icing.
When the cookies are cold, use a palette knife to spread the glacé icing over each cookie, trying to keep it as neat as possible. Use the writing icing tubes to pipe tinsel across each cookie. Position the sugar balls and edible sprinkles over the top to look like tree ornaments. Leave the icing to set before serving.
Annie Rigg is author of Christmas Cooking With Kids (Ryland Peters & Small, £14.99) available from Amazon. To buy this book at the special price of £12.99 (including p&p), tel: 01256 302699 and quote GLR 4AZ.