We love making Christmas cookies in our house – although admittedly they never last long enough to hang on the tree. This gorgeous recipe for Annabel Karmel’s cut-out cookies is taken from her Princess Party Cookbook – you’ll need festive cookie cutters, but you don’t have to make angels, if you don’t want to!
250g (9oz) butter, slightly softened
150g (5 1/2 oz) caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
325g (11oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/4 tsp salt
340g (12oz) royal icing sugar
pink and blue food colouring
silver balls, white sprinkles, edible gold and silver glitter to decorate
thin ribbon, for threading
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
Stir the flour and salt together with a fork in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture. Mix until it forms a soft dough. Form the dough into a flattish disk, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until firm enough to roll out.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Divide the dough in half and roll out one half on a lightly floured surface to 5mm (1/4 in) thick. Cut out cookies with an angel-shaped cutter (or snowflakes, stars, shoes, tiaras etc.) You can make a hole in the top of each cookie using the end of a straw, so that you can thread a ribbon through once baked. Repeat with the second half of the dough, then re-roll the trimmings and cut out more cookies.
Transfer to baking sheets lined with baking parchment, spacing the cookies about 2 1/2cm (1 in) apart. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
When cool, make up the royal icing. Colour one quarter pink and one quarter blue. Transfer the remaining white icing to a piping bag fitted with narrow (no 1 or no 2) nozzle. Some of the cookies can be iced with coloured icing using a small palette knife, others can be left plain. Pipe patterns on the plain cookies and deocrate with gold or silver balls, sprinkles and glitter. Allow the iced cookies to set and then pipe patterns on these. Hang the angels with loops of thin ribbon threaded through the holes.
written by Liz Jarvis