festively rounded

Gingerbread Biscuits
and Wheatfree Cookies
If you have ventured out to your local shop lately you will see that christmas decorations and turkeys are subtley sitting in the freezers patiently waiting for their moment of glory on December 25th.

There is a air of mild panic as items go on sale and you mentally remind yourself not to leave your Christmas shopping to the 24th.

This is also the time when the hideous Christmas cake comes out of hiding, is doused with more brandy and left to smoulder in the cupboard.
Ugh Christmas cake.
I can't think of anything worse.
Well, I suppose I could but nothing makes me shudder more.
Crispified raisins and petrified candied fruit in a brandy sodden melange of heavy cake cement. Ugh.
And don't even mention the marzipan!

I have been eating marzipan from age 4, and a good little German girl such as myself can tell the difference between the proper stuff and the stuff made with peach pip seeds, which are slightly posionous you know...
Anyway.

So this festive season I will be enlightening you on recipes from my European past. All sorts of goodies like stollen and speculaas, how to make REAL marzipan and some delicious variants on the humble mince pie (made with a fantastic pastry crust you will just want to eat them all!).
But sadly, absolutey NO Christmas cake. Sorry.
I have a lovely exciting little cakey recipe up my sleeve for you, so don't worry, you won't be missing that Christmas cake at all...

Gingerbread biscuits
I have been making these cookies since I was a young un baking in the kitchen. My father made me a Gingerbread man mould and I have been using it ever since.

I used these lovely little Star cutters that I got for my Birthday to make them a little more festively.

If making gingerbread men leave them to cook for a little while longer and feel free to be creative with your icing. As a teenager I would make all sorts of coloured icing- red, green, blue, purple, and I would splash them all over the "men" to give them a sort of tie die effect, I would call them my "Victims of taxi violence". Yes, I was a bit of an emo teenager...

½ cup butter or marg
8 Tbsp brown (or castor) sugar
5 ml cinnamon
10 ml ground ginger
2.5 ml ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 ml van essence
1 ½ (375 ml) cups cake flour
20 ml milk (optional)

Cream butter and sugar until creamy. Add spices, salt and vanilla essence.
Sift in flour.
Add enough milk form a soft but rolleable dough.
Chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 160◦C while dough rests in the fridge.
Roll out on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes.
Cook for 15 minutes, or until edges turn light brown.
Leave to cool, and decorate accordingly.

Wheat free cookies
for those who for gluten reasons cannot indulge but would love to.

90 g butter
80 g castor sugar
100 g Iwisa “creamy” maize flour
2 ml vanilla essence

Cream the butter and sugar together.
Add the maize flour and vanilla essence.
It should form a soft dough. If too sticky add a sprinkling of maize meal.
Chill in fridge for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 160◦C while dough rests in the fridge.
Roll into balls using maize meal to prevent sticking to your hands.
I pressed rounded balls lightly onto a greased baking sheet and pressed a star cutter in the centre, but not all the way through.
Cook for 15 minutes, or until edges turn light brown.

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