Traditional Christmas Biscuits
This recipe is a twist on a German classic called Engelsaugen ('Angel Eyes'), and although I'd never call biscuits healthy, these are full of oats and have only about half the sugar of your average jammie dodger, so they are a good option for a time of year when the sugary treats seem endless!
The recipe makes up to 40 biscuits, so there's plenty to share with friends and neighbours as they make a very pretty edible gift.
They are also simple to make and really fun for children. No need for cookie cutters means less washing up, and no tears over broken gingerbread men or point-less stars!!
It's also very simple to make a gluten free and / or nut free version of this recipe - details are in the recipe below.
A couple of things to mention about the ingredients before you start: Oat flour is simply porridge oats blended for 3 or 4 seconds in a blender or food processor - no need to go searching or it in the shops, as you probably won't find it! Butter should be cold, as using room temperature butter will make the dough too soft and sticky. Lastly, for the jam to go through a plastic syringe (see photo!!) and to create the beautiful sleek mound of jam, you need to remove the seeds. To do this, just heat the jam for a couple of seconds in the microwave or a pot (be very careful, jam has a high sugar content and so will get very hot very quickly!), and then sieve it in to a bowl. Discard the seeds and use the warm seed-less jam to decorate your biscuits.
That's it! You're ready to begin...
Ingredients (makes 35-40 biscuits)
140g Oat Flour (for gluten free, buy gluten free oats)
70g Ground Almonds (or replace with oat flour for nut-free)
70g White Caster Sugar
120g Cold Butter, cut in cubes
1 egg yolk
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon (optional)
150g Jam in your choice of flavour
Icing sugar for dusting
Add the oat flour, almonds, sugar and cinnamon (if using) to a bowl and mix. Add the butter and rub in to the flour mixture until you can no longer see any pieces of butter. Add the egg yolk and mix until combined to a dough. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead in any crumbs until dough is quite smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 5-10mins to firm up.
Preheat oven to 160C. Remove dough from fridge. Break off pieces of dough approx 10-15g (approx 1 tsp of dough). Roll each piece in to ball and place on a non-stick baking tray. Press the centre of the ball gently to create a slightly flattened circle with a dent in the middle.
Arrange the biscuits evenly on 2 baking trays, leaving at least 2cm space between them to allow for even baking. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20mins until beginning to brown at edges.
Remove biscuits from oven and while still warm, press the indents in each one again as they will have risen a little during baking, this time using a utensil (the handle end of a wooden spoon is good) to avoid burning your fingers!
Place the biscuits on a wire tray to cool. While they are cooling, prepare your jam as per the instructions given in the introduction. Using a plastic syringe (medicine ones work fine, just make sure they are nice and clean!), suck up some warm jam and deposit a little in the indent of each biscuit. Allow the jam to set for an hour or two (or at least, TRY to wait until they are set - I'm sure no one will notice if a couple of still-warm biscuits go missing ;) before dusting with a little icing sugar in a sieve.
If you don't fancy making the whole batch in one go,the dough will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days and also freezes perfectly!
PS...why not check out our Christmas workshop on 21st Dec in Drogheda? We'll be continuing our theme of edible gifts by preparing a beautiful and delicious jar of Gourment Hot Chocolate to take home!