Stained glass window cookies

Boiled sweets form the coloured ‘window panes’ in these biscuits. Use a straw to make holes before baking if you want to hang them.

Preparation time:15 minutes

Cooking time:10 minutes to 12 minutes

Total time:25 minutes to 27 minutes

Makes: 24 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 150g butter, cubed
  • 100g dark soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 300g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 20 red and green boiled sweets, crushed separately

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Line 2 large baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Whiz the butter, sugar, spices and a pinch of salt together briefly to blend, add the flour and baking powder, and pulse until the dough resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg – the dough should just come together.
  3. Roll out on a floured surface to a thickness of about 5mm. Use pastry cutters to make 24 biscuits, then use smaller cutters to remove a ‘window’ in the middle of each one.
  4. Transfer the biscuits to the baking sheets and carefully fill each hole with a pile of either colour of crushed boiled sweets.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then release the biscuits from the paper and cool completely on wire racks.

Mixed spiced Christmas robin biscuits

Preparation time:30 minutes

Cooking time:12 minutes

Total time:42 minutes

Makes: 20 – 24

Ingredients

  1. 150g butter, softened
  2. 100g dark brown muscovado sugar
  3. 1 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Egg, beaten
  4. 1 tbsp maple syrup
  5. 300g plain flour
  6. 2 tsp mixed spice

TO DECORATE

  • 140g pouch Dr Oetker Designer Icing White
  • 12 essential Waitrose Glacé Cherries, halved
  • 2 x 32g Cadbury Flake
  • 24 currants

Method

  1. In a bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and creamy. Add the egg and syrup, then sift in the flour and spice. Mix well to form a dough. Shape into a flat ball or disc, and then wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the dough, place between 2 sheets of clingfilm, and roll out to about 5mm thick. Using a Waitrose Robin Cookie Cutter cut out 20-24 shapes.
  3. Place the biscuit shapes on the baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To decorate, soften the icing according to the pack instructions. Using a disposable piping bag with a small writing nozzle, pipe a little roundel of icing on each robin’s breast, then smooth with a small palette knife dipped in hot water. Stick half a glacé cherry on top, leaving a little of the white exposed. Then use a small dot of icing to fix a currant for the robin’s eye.
  5. To make the wings, cut the Flake into 2-3cm-long pieces, then cut each length in half and half again (to make 12-16 sticks from each Flake). Use a dot of icing to secure a stick of Flake for the wing. Leave the icing to set before serving.

Coconut ball robins

Preparation time:1 hour + cooling

Cooking time:5 minutes

Total time:1 hour 5 minutes + cooling

Makes: 12

Ingredients

FOR THE COCONUT BALLS

  • 200g pack desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbsp Cooks’ Ingredients Coconut Oil, melted
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp milk

FOR DECORATING

  • 150g pack Cooks’ Homebaking Milk Chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 25g red icing from a 5 x 100g pack of Dr Oetker Regal-Ice Ready To Roll Icing
  • 12 Cooks’ Homebaking Honeycomb Niblets
  • 24 Cooks’ Homebaking Chocolate Beans
  • 32g Cadbury Flake
  • Dr Oetker Gel Food Colour Jet Black

Method

  1. Place the coconut and coconut oil in a food processor, and blitz for about 1-2 minutes. Then add the honey, vanilla essence and milk, and continue to blend in the processor until the mixture has formed a thick mouldable paste.
  2. Tip the mixture onto a board and divide into 12 equally sized portions, then roll each into a ball 3-4cm in diameter. Place the coconut balls onto a backing parchment-lined tray and chill in the fridge for about a hour, or until firm.
  3. Meanwhile, put the chocolate in a small glass bowl and place over a pan of simmering water until just melted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. To decorate, roll out small rounds of the red icing and apply to one side of each ball. Have a tray lined with greaseproof paper ready on the side, then carefully hold the ball on either side of the red disc and dip it into the melted chocolate to coat it, but leaving the red disc and a little white on either side exposed. Place on the prepared tray. Then, with clean hands, insert a small piece of honeycomb above the red disc for the beak. Cut the Flake into 2cm lengths and break lengthways into pieces suitable for the tail. Dip into the melted chocolate and fix onto the back of the ball towards the base for a tail. Finally fix 2 chocolate beans at an angle, one on each side of the ball, to act as the wings. Return to the greaseproof tray and leave to harden. Repeat with the remaining coconut balls.
  5. Finally, pipe 2 dots of black food colour on each ball as eyes just above the beak. Leave in the fridge until the chocolate and icing has completely set before serving.

Cook’s tip: as an alternative to robins, make snowballs by rolling the balls in desiccated coconut at the end of step 2, then chilling in the fridge.

Gingerbread men & reindeer

Preparation time:25 minutes + decorating

Cooking time:10 minutes

Total time:35 minutes + decorating

Makes: 20

Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 100g dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 325g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • Writing icing to decorate

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup together in a pan then remove from the heat.
  2. Sieve in the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger then stir together to make a stiff dough.
  3. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick. Cut out about 18-20 gingerbread men and bake on 2 large, lined baking trays for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  4. Decorate with icing to add eyes, nose and mouth (turn the gingerbread men upside down for the reindeer).

Strawberry robin lollipops

Preparation time:30 minutes + setting

Cooking time:15 minutes

Total time:45 minutes + setting

Makes: 12

Ingredients

  • 12 strawberries, not hulled
  • 150g pack Cooks’ Homebaking White Chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 150g pack Cooks’ Homebaking Milk Chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 32g Cadbury Flake, cut into thin sticks
  • 12 Cooks’ Homebaking Honeycomb Niblets
  • 24 Cooks’ Homebaking Dark Chocolate Curls
  • Dr Oetker Gel Food Colour Jet Black
  • 12 wooden skewers or lollipop sticks

Method

  1. Thread each of the strawberries onto a skewer or lollipop stick, and push the other end of the skewer into a styrofoam block to use as a holder. Alternatively, cut a thin slice from the base of a baking potato or fill a jam jar with sugar, to use as a holder.
  2. Melt the 2 types of chocolate separately in 2 small bowls over a pan of simmering water. Dip each of the strawberries into the white chocolate, leaving an inverted ‘V’ shape uncovered for the robin’s red breast. Allow to set.
  3. Then dip the strawberries into the milk chocolate, leaving an inverted red ‘V’ shape with a border of white around it. After dipping, return each skewer to the stand to set. Before the milk chocolate hardens completely, fix a small stick of the Flake on the back of the strawberry for a tail, a piece of honeycomb above the robin’s breast for its beak and a dark chocolate curl on each side for its wings. Allow to set. Finally add the eyes using 2 dots of black food colouring gel.

All recipes from Waitrose

 

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