Give your Christmas cookies a bit of extra sparkle by creating a magical stained glass effect using boiled sweets.
These beautiful biccies make lovely edible gifts for Secret Santa, plus they look stunning hanging on the Christmas tree. The simple method is also a good one for keeping little ones busy over the holidays.
STAINED GLASS BISCUITS
100g unsalted butter (cold)
180g plain flour
50g caster sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk
12 coloured fruity boiled sweets
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4, and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
2. Finely grate the clementine zest. Cube up the butter then place in a mixing bowl with the flour, sugar, clementine zest and cinnamon.
3. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
4. Add the milk and bring together to make a soft dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place it in the fridge to firm up for about 30 minutes.
5. Separate the sweets into colours and place in separate sandwich bags. Press the air out and seal the bags, then carefully crush into small pieces with a rolling pin.
6. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and roll out to 1cm thick.
7. Use a selection of large cutters to cut out your shapes and place on the lined baking sheets, then use the smaller cutters to cut a ‘window’ in the centre of each biscuit.
8. Sprinkle enough crushed sweets to fill the centre hole (don’t overfill, or the sweets will melt over the biscuit) then use a cocktail stick to make a hole in the top of each biscuit, so you can thread a ribbon through them later. (You can re-roll any dough trimmings to make more biscuits, but you’ll need more sweets. You could also bake the cut-out centres and eat as a treat when decorating the tree!)
9. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden and the sweets have melted.
10. Leave them to firm up, then transfer to a wire rack. Thread with ribbon and hang them on your tree.
STORING, FREEZING & DEFROSTING INSTRUCTIONS
If you want to get ahead before the Christmas rush, you can work up to step four, then freeze the biscuit dough. Either freeze in a ball and allow to defrost in the fridge before rolling out, or cut out your shapes and freeze (without the sweets) on a baking tray. Then, simply allow to defrost and add the sweets before baking.
The finished biscuits will keep well for about five days in an airtight container. Alternatively, they’ll last for a day on the tree. Why not hang them on your tree last thing on Christmas Eve and eat them as you unwrap presents the next morning?