... 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...?
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
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!