I have never had a Christmas without Spiced Christmas Star Biscuits and I doubt I ever will. The only downside is that they are utterly addictive. The sweetness in the biscuits comes from icing sugar which gives them a distinctive lightness and a very moreish melt-in-the-mouth texture. Ground cinnamon and cloves bring a subtle seasonal spice flavour to the biscuits while a pinch of lemon zest adds a hint of citrusy freshness. Ground mixed nuts add a pleasant graininess that contrasts with the smooth texture of the other ingredients.
Another great thing about these biscuits is that they are super simple to make. You just have to incorporate a few key ingredients to form the biscuit dough, roll out, cut into the festive shapes of your choice and bake. Dust them with some vanilla flavoured icing sugar once they have cooled to create the light, sugary, melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness.
I would love to be able to take credit for this recipe but I can't because it belonged to my grandmother. This is a recipe for traditional Czech Christmas
biscuits, originally baked in decorative metal moulds, which has become a long-
standing family favourite. These biscuits make a brilliant gift for family and friends if you can resist scoffing the lot by yourself. If you're someone who likes to get organised and plan ahead for the festive season these biscuits are perfect for you. They keep for up to one month in a sealed tin and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Plain flour
- Icing sugar - is a key component of the dough and gives the biscuits their distinctive melt-in-the-mouth texture. Make sure you have some extra set aside for dusting. I strongly advise sieving all icing sugar first to ensure any clumps are removed.
- Unsalted butter - take it out of the fridge an hour or so before you make the biscuits if you can remember. It's easier to incorporate the butter when it's at room temperature.
- Spices and seasonings - ground cinnamon and cloves give the biscuits a subtle seasonal spiciness. Grated lemon zest brings a freshness and cocoa powder adds a hint of chocolate. Make sure you sieve the cocoa powder first to remove any lumps.
- Ground mixed nuts - hazelnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios all work well. You can use a mixture of all or some of these. Ground mixed nuts can be tricky to get hold of so it's likely you will need to grind them yourself using a nut grinder or food processor.
How to make Spiced Christmas Star Biscuits:
1. Butter and icing sugar
Cream together the butter and icing sugar until combined
2. Add lemon zest, nuts and spices:
Add the lemon zest, ground mixed nuts, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and cocoa powder.
Add the flour and mix until the biscuit dough is formed
4. Roll out and cut into shapes
Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and roll out the biscuit dough until it's approximately 7mm thick. Cut into shapes and place onto a baking sheet.
Bake the biscuits in the middle of your oven for 20 minutes until slightly golden. Check to see if they're ready by gently touching one with your finger. If there is no indent they are done. If this leaves a mark they need a little longer.
Remove the biscuits from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack.
Add the icing sugar and vanilla sugar to a bowl and mix. When the biscuits are cool dip each one into the bowl until covered with icing sugar, gently shake off the excess, and set aside.
What tools are needed?
- Nut grinder or food processor - ground nuts can be tricky to find, so it's likely you'll need to grind your own using a nut grinder or food processor.
- Electric whisk or a stand mixer - to cream together the ingredients. This can be done by hand if you don't have an electric mixer.
- Rolling pin - this is necessary for flattening the dough before cutting into shapes.
- Wire cooling rack - to bring the biscuits to room temperature quickly after they bake. Avoid leaving the biscuits on the tray where they will continue to cook.
- Slotted turner - not strictly necessary but I find this very useful for removing biscuits from the countertop and placing them on the baking sheet.
- Cutters - choose any shape that takes your fancy.
3 Top Tips for perfect spiced Christmas biscuits:
- Cool the biscuits on a wire rack before dusting - when the biscuits are ready, transfer them to a wire rack immediately. If you leave them on the tray they will continue to cook and there's a risk of them being overdone.
- Sieve the icing sugar and cocoa powder - to avoid clumps and ensure a light texture throughout.
- Use a flat slotted turner - to transfer the biscuits from your work surface to the baking tray. It makes things easy, ensures the biscuits stay in shape, and is especially useful if the biscuits have become stuck to the surface a little.
How long do they keep for?
Spiced Christmas Star Biscuits can be stored in an airtight tin for up to one month. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months.