Monday, 10 December 2012

ginger and cinnamon christmas tree cookies



... i was a little worried about writing this post as it opens up my inner-thinkings entirely to observation and possible critique but when the lovely people at Sainsbury's asked me to reveal my top tips for dressing my christmas tree I began to realise what The Viking has been telling me for years... i'm not very good at being spontaneous... I am most definitely in the 'organised fun' camp...

... you see I am very, very anal when it comes to decoration... everything has it's place and order... yes, things must look entirely eclectic and as though every sparkly bauble has floated down from some glitter-encrusted christmas cloud but in fact they have been placed exactly on the tree during a strict, almost militarised campaign I call operation yuletide...


... it starts with a space being cleared between sofa and fireplace and a tree-stand placed on the floor... my tree-stand it a chunky beast that grips the tree with 3 metal screws and contains a reservoir for water so you can feed your tree throughout the month... this is followed by a trip to our local christmas tree farm where we spend approximately an hour arguing over height versus girth...it's always a Nordman Fir... nice thick branches and needles that stay on for the whole month... an excited journey back from the farm with the netted tree in the back of the truck is then proceeded by the tree being brought into the house and another hour of placement procedure... at which point the tree is released from its net to many a gasp... we then give the tree an hour for it to 'settle'... which essentially involves me getting completely over-excited as I go up into the loft to retrieve lights and decorations...

... are you still with me...?


... good... I shall continue with the lights... I like a nice simple white fairy light... not too many... enough for it to feel magically lit by the light of a hundred or so fairies... this is not the Blackpool Illuminations you know... I always place the lights on the tree from the bottom up, spiralling around the tree as I go... once illuminated I tuck the lights further into the tree for a more 'natural' look... and then it's time for the baubles and little treasures... we've collected these over the past ten years, finding the right look... which is blue and silver with a hint of white... every year or two we retire the odd tatty looking bauble and replace it with something suitable adorable... this year we found a little silver and wooden fox, which reminds us of Holly, who loved chasing foxes and loved christmas... we're really missing our little monkey...



christmas tree cookies
i've never made christmas tree cookies before but I saw this lovely recipe over on Sue's incredible blog The View from the Great Island and I just had to give them a try... the recipe is very simple and i've made it even simpler... clearly my decorating skills have a lot to be desired but I was inspired by a neat little set of star-shaped cookie cutters and an empty Sunday afternoon... it's a great dough recipe that you can easily re-roll and patch together, so you get no wastage.

180g golden caster sugar
150g butter
50g ground almonds
350g plain flour
1 large egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

- in a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar till fluffy and then add the rest of the ingredients, stirring until it comes together to form a dough - pop this into cling-film and into the fridge for at least 30 mins

- roll out and cut into shapes - bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15mins on 170C until just beginning to turn golden

- take them out of the oven and pierce a hole in the top of each one whilst they are still warm and slightly soft - they will harden quickly as the dry at which point you can decorate them as you like... I used some ready made icing tubes but a simple frosting made from icing sugar and egg whites will work well too.

eat and of course, enjoy!


32 comments:

  1. Oh Dom, I am SO with you there. I grew up in a house where the Christnas decorations were totally unmatched and essentially the rubbish craft that my mum had done with my brothers and me or that we had brought home from school - handpainted blown eggs, loo roll father christmas's, an assortmant of mismatched and usually chipped glass baubles from yesteryear. My Husband can't understand why I am now so completely and utterly insistent on good taste, matching Christmas tree & decs - it goes totally against the grain of everything else that I am, but there we go. All hail Operation Yuletide and Placement Procedure.

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  2. Very tastefully done indeed Sir.

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  3. I am very much more in the "anything goes" camp where Christmas trees are concerned. Mine looks like the decorations box threw up in the corner with a little help from a five year old and a hungover auntie... which is exactly what happened. Strangely though, I am completely anal about any other type of visual clutter. For example, much as I love receiving them, I loath rows of Christmas cards on surfaces. My hackles are constantly raised by surfaces filled with Christmas "stuff".
    Your edible tree deccies look beautiful. But I think we probably have mice, so I shan't tempt fate!

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  4. I am a big proponent of organised fun (although strangely my Christmas tree is completely not organised!) I love the idea of edible christmas tree decorations though - that's definitely what my tree is missing this year!

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  5. If I put cookies on the tree, I don't think they'd last till Christmas! ;)

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  6. I love the way you have decorated the cookies, looks festive and pretty!

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  7. They look so cute and festive :)

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  8. I have never made christmas tree decorations either but finding a spare afternoon......well you know how it is. Your tree looks lovely - I can just see myself with a little sherry in hand sipping in front of the roaring fireplace before Christmas Lunch. How I miss the cold weather at Christmas.

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  9. We are polar opposites Dom. I don't have an organized bone in my body. It takes me days to decorate and then my husband usually finishes up the mess that I leave behind in every room. I do love to make a good cookie though and am organized enough for that. Your cookies look delightful, delicious and perfectly decorated. Your lovely tree is picture perfect!!!

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  10. Ahhh ... all hail the proper procedure! I am of the one white lights and coordinated lovely look. My children are of the colored fairy lights, tinsel, and loads of ornaments look ... we have learned to compromise over the years. One year white lights, next year colored. This year it will be colored lights ... but not until after my birthday!

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  11. Whatever it took, your tree is magical!! I'd love to sip a cup of tea in your parlor accompanied by a plate of cookies and you and The Viking of course.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  12. You know what? If I get to choose a real Christmas tree, I would not have it any other way. Your tree looks magnificent and I simply love your cookie decos. We don't get the luxury of chopping up a branch and call it a tree over here. We only get those artificial ones. Merry Christmas!

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  13. You wouldn't like my tree Dom. I have coloured lights I was given as a gift in 1980. Every ornament has a meaning, some as gifts, others I have made or bought on holiday and some that my children made (I only keep the better ones) it's totally eclectic with no theme but there is order in where I hang the ornaments and it's groaning by the time I finish. That will be next weekend's job. Love the cookies, do they not go soft?

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    Replies
    1. sounds delightful!!... just checked my cookies and they're nice and hard (ooh err missus)... although I will be taking them down for the week when we come done to London as I fear for mice!

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  14. going to make these this weekend! My biscuits always turn out a bit too flat and crunchy so hoping these work out. Verity x

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  15. The best bloody post I have read ALL week! FABULOUS stuff Dom, so funny, so profound and so bloody YOU! AND, I love that tree.....just love it to bits and that cottage too! I almost forgot in my eclectic frenzy that I LOVE those cookies as well....they are brilliant! I am a bit like you - I MUST have order otherwise I feel all itchy inside....I MUST only have WHITE lights, not a lover od coloured lights! I am a BIG lover of the Scandi look, all straw and red apples with candles and white lights.....and a few glass birds, that's it! You have made my day with this post, just bloody brilliant, did I say that before???!!! Karen aka Mad Kas! xxxx

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  16. Excuse typos, my brain could not keep up with my fingers.....

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  17. Our tree is like that too! I make Hubby help me every year and then he curses me as I spend the next two days swapping ornaments around on the tree until everything is balanced and in correct order. So pleased to know I am not the only one lol.

    Lovely little cookies too Dom ;0)

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  18. Hello, hello! Have just hopped over from G+! I love you cookies & how they've retained their shapes so well. I must confess, I stop short of cookies on the tree but we do bake them and hang them outside for the birds (ok & our tummies!)
    On the tree topic, yup, I can so identify! Don't laugh but I do different colour schemes every year, (this year, it's copper and gold), after all, I'm that person whose mugs have to be in perfect alignment in the cupboard! Thankfully, as the kids grow up, they're getting better at hanging the ornaments but yeah, I still spend the next day or so, rearranging them! See you soon! x

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  19. You've never made Christmas tree cookies before? It's my favourite part of Christmas and I've got some coming up later this week :-D

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  20. I have to say...your decorating skills look perfectly respectable to me! And what lovely little cookies...and a gorgeous tree! :-)

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  21. I'm definitely with you on the ordered side of things. It has to be white fairy light (although lots of them in my case) and over the years I've moved more towards pine garlands etc than tinsel - even if they are fake. I just love the traditional vibe. I usually add a couple of pieces to the collection every year, too. Your tree and it's colour scheme looks gorgeous though, and I really love how festive and welcoming it looks. Just right to pluck one of those tasty cookies off the tree! :)

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  22. Beautiful Dominic - I hope some cookies are coming down to London with you tomorrow!!
    Love Mummy

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  23. I am definitely not one for spontaneity (hopefully that the right spelling)... I enjoy organised fun, lists and itinerary... that sort of stuff, with a slight OCD as well.
    I think your Christmas tree decorations look fab. What is not to like about edible decorations? I just have to restrain myself from eating all of them.

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  24. Oh it looks beautiful all magical and sparkly...love the sash window too, what a pretty cottage.

    I had to giggle when reading this Dom, I think I'm a bit like you when it comes to tree decoration. I'm so glad you shared this recipe, I plan to make ginger cookies every year and never get around to it. I usually end up with heart shaped ones from Ikea that are lovely...but I feel like I really should make my own. No excuse now.

    Thanks for directing us to Sue's blog. Oh and I love the new tree decoration...do you mind if I ask where you found it ? I like to get one new each year to add to the old favourites too.

    Let the festivities begin...
    Debx

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  25. I love when you get a little insight into people... And don't think that organized fun is a bad thing... it's the only fun I know to have! I tried for years to pretend I was a "fly by the seat of your pants" sort of girl, but alas... the only flying I do, is planned :) The tree looks lovely and the cookies are perfect!

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  26. Dom I love it. Nothing wrong with organised fun as shown by your very splendid tree and star biscuits I'm most envious of - they are so much more splendid than mine!

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  27. Thanks for entering these into the cookie parade! Hopefully the first of many.

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  28. One of those definitely has to be a contender for this month's Nor Croutons Required - Festive Photos!

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  29. lovely tree and beautiful cookies - I love christmas decorations with a meaning - we have many from our travels and love getting them out and remembering people and places

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  30. Beautiful tree Dom, your home looks so warm beautiful and inviting. I love the comfy chair next to the tree and the fireplace. What a perfect spot to read a book. I am quite picky about my ornaments as well and we love the white, blue, and silver theme. Thank you for being the first to join my first Christmas tree link-up party : )

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