Once upon a time, far far away, there was a little girl that lived in Switzerland who loved Christmas. Every year she’d look forward to lighting the advent wreath, to baking cookies with her mum, to opening the Christmas calendar and to decorating the the cute little pine tree she had helped to pick at the markets. Then, if she was lucky, Santa and his donkey would come by and give her a little bag filled with juicy mandarins, chocolates and peanuts. And then finally, Christmas Day arrived, where she and all the other little children were smothered with gifts, while their families and relatives happily sat by, singing Christmas carols, while the snowflakes outside silently covered the rooftops and footpaths. That time of year was just magical.
On the other side of the world, quite a few years later, this now not so little girl is sitting on the veranda, covered in sunscreen with a cold drink next to her, wishing for the life of her that it will soon be January. No matter how many cute little Father Christmas-hat – bearing wallabies she sees, she is incapable of taking on the Christmas spirit. It’s just too fucking hot.
So reminiscing the past, Switzerland, and snowy Christmas days, here my favourite biscuit recipe. May you too have an awesomely hot/cold/dramatic Christmas, and may we perhaps one day meet on a cold and snowy night to bake biscuits. Merry merry.
I am not much of a biscuit person, so it means quite something that I’m giving you a recipe for some here. They are beautifully simple vanillary melt-in-your-mouth shortbread-style mouthfuls of pleasure.
Makes heaps (or about 4 baking trays worth)
500g plain flour
½ tsp salt
300g icing sugar, plus extra to decorate
400g cold butter, cut into cubes
4 tsp vanilla essence
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
200g ground almonds
2 egg yolks
Combine the flour, salt, and icing sugar in a big bowl. Next, add the butter and rub it into the flour until it resembles coarse sand.
Add the rest of the ingredients and knead into a soft dough. Cover with clingwrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200°C. While keeping the dough as cool as possible, shape it into finger – thick sausages. Cut these into 2cm lengths, and roll them into “horns” or bananas or waxing moons or whatever you feel like calling them at that precise moment. Place them on a baking paper – clad tray and bake them for 10 – 15 minutes – they should barely have taken on any colour. A golden hue is perfect.
While the bickies are still warm, turn the biscuits in a plate filled with icing sugar. Once they’re cool, you can always sprinkle on more.
Great with a cup of Lady Grey tea.