Why am I referring to these as ‘traditional’ you might ask? Well they’re a bit of a tradition in my family. Ever since I was little my Mum made these every Christmas and my sister and I would cut out all the different shapes with the cookie cutters, which my mum inherited from her parents, who used to make these at Christmas as well. Just the smell of these biscuits in the oven immediately makes me think of Christmas! The old cookie cutters are still my absolute favourite ones too. Even though both Mum and I have bought other newer ones since, we still go back to the old ones at Christmas.
So it’s quite a special recipe that I’ll be sharing with you today 🙂
This is also the recipe I’ve used for many decorated biscuits on the blog, including the Valentine’s Day Biscuits
and all of the biscuits in A Lovely Afternoon Tea.
Now for the recipe – it’s really simple.
500g plain flour
250g unsalted margarine (not butter)
8g vanilla sugar (look for it in the spices section, sometimes called ‘vanillin sugar’)
200g castor sugar
1 tsp baking powder
extra plain flour for dusting
(or double it for an extra big batch!)
Preheat oven to about 180 degrees Celsius (this can vary slightly depending on the oven).
In a big bowl mix the margarine into the flour with your fingers (kind of rubbing the margarine into the flour, it will end up looking a bit like crumbs). Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with a butter knife until fairly well combined, then start kneading with your hands. Keep kneading until the mixture forms a smooth dough. Once you’ve achieved, form a ball, wrap it in glad wrap and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour (can also be kept in the fridge overnight if you want to make the dough the day before).
Once the dough has been in the fridge for a sufficient amount of time, take it out and slice it into 3-4 thick ‘slices’. Roll out one of the slices on a flat surface generously dusted with flour until it’s about 5mm thick and cut out some cookie shapes using cookie cutters and placing them as close to each other as possible. Place all the cut out shapes on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Form a ball with the leftover dough, roll it out again and cut out more cookie shapes. You will probably find that the first time you roll out the fresh dough it will be quite sticky and will require a lot more flour for it not to stick to the surface and the rolling pin. Add as much flour as is needed for it not to stick. Keep repeating the process with all of the dough until it has all been used. Place the baking trays of biscuits in the oven, one at a time, and bake for about 10 minutes or until they have browned slightly – leave them in a bit longer if you want them to be more crunchy.
Store the biscuits in an air tight container but not in the fridge. They will keep for about a week.