Like many Irish, I have been wishing for a White Christmas for many years. Dashing through the snow and Walking in a winter wonderland all sound quite dreamy, and look extremely tempting on a music video, however after a day or two of being house bound, and the hardship that these extreme temperatures bring, the dream of snow soon turns into a nightmare for many!!
Admittedly the snow makes the otherwise bland winter countryside look simply amazing. Snow is an ideal canvas for the keen photographer. Therefore I had to try to capture a few foodie pictures out in this ready made photo shoot.
My eldest boy Jack recently saw Nigella Lawson make these Christmas Biscuits and decided that they would make the perfect treat for Santa. They were very easy to make and tasted really yummy. Jack now has his own blog with plenty of kid-friendly recipes. He has gone to the extra effort of putting a video clip of Nigella demonstrating these biscuits. I'm very proud of this young man- check out his blog iJack O D.
The boys decorating the biscuits- a messy combination -boys and melted chocolate!
250g soft butter
150g caster sugar
40g cocoa powder
300g plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
For The Festive Topping
2 x 15ml tablespoons cocoa powder
175g icing sugar
60ml boiling water, from a kettle
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.Preheat the oven to 170̊C/ gas mark 3 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2.Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl and, when you have a light, soft whipped mixture, beat in the 40g cocoa powder (sifting if it is lumpy) and, when that's mixed in, beat in the flour with the baking soda and baking powder. Or just put everything in the processor and blitz, if you prefer.
3.This mixture is very soft and sticky so roll about a tablespoon full into balls, then slightly flatten into fat discs as you place them, well spaced, on your cookies sheet. You should get about 12 on at a time.
4.Bake each batch for 15 minutes; even though the cookies won't feel as if they've had enough time, they will continue to cook as they cool. They will look slightly cracked.
5.Move the cookie sheet to a cold surface and let it sit for 15 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack, with a sheet of newspaper under it (to catch drips while topping them).
6.To make the topping, put the cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar, water and vanilla extract into a small saucepan and whisk over a low heat until everything is smoothly combined. Take off the heat for 10 minutes.
7.When the cookies are cool, drizzle each one with a tablespoonful of chocolate glaze—it will help "glue" the sprinkles on in a minute. Use the back of the spoon to help spread the mixture, though an uneven dribbled look is part of their charm.
8.After you've iced 6 cookies, scatter with some of the Christmas sprinkles and continue until all the cookies are topped. If you ice them all before sprinkling, you will find the cocoa "glue" has dried and the sprinkles won't stick on. For an alternative topping just melt some milk chocolate and drizzle over each biscuit then top with some smarties.