Advent Calendar Biscuits
This year, try something different from the traditional or chocolate advent calendar: this will look so impressive sitting on your mantlepiece or even strung from a branch.
|115g||unsalted butter, softened|
|1 tsp||vanilla extract|
|¾ tsp||baking powder|
|a good pinch of salt|
|rollable fondant icing OR icing sugar and coloured food dyes|
You will need: different number shaped and Christmas-shaped biscuit cutters.
1 Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla with a hand-held electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the egg and whisk until combined.
2 In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until completely combined but not dry and crumbly; you may not need all the flour mixture.
3 Bring the dough together with your hands and shape into a disc.Working very quickly, as your dough is soft, roll it out between 2 large sheets of baking paper to about 5–6mm thick. Place the rolled dough in its paper on a baking sheet, and chill for 30 minutes.Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.
4 Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and use different shaped cutters, about 6cm, to cut out 30–32 biscuits from the dough. You can use number cutters to cut out the numbers 1–24 in some of your biscuits or you can ice the numbers later when decorating. Arrange the cut biscuits on 2 lightly greased baking sheets, making sure they aren’t touching, place in the heated oven and bake for 10–12 minutes until golden. Whilst still warm, use the end of a piping nozzle or a skewer to make a hole in each biscuit (for threading the string). Leave to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5 To decorate, cut out rollable fondant icing into shapes to match the shapes of the biscuits. Brush with a little water and stick each to its corresponding biscuit, remaking the hole for the ribbon in the icing. Alternatively, make up coloured icings by mixing icing sugar with a little water and the colour of your choice, to make a smooth pipeable paste, then spoon into small piping bags fitted with small plain piping nozzles and pipe onto the biscuits. If you haven’t used number cutters, now pipe the numbers 1–24 on 24 on your biscuits and decorate the rest however you like. When dry, thread the biscuits with string or ribbons of different lengths and hang from a tree branch, or pin to a board or mantlepiece.
This sugar biscuit dough freezes really well, so make up a double batch (using a large rather than small egg) and freeze half to use later.