Saturday 26 December 2009

Vanilla butter biscuits

I'm not generally that successful with cookies, they need a soft texture that I often don't manage to achieve, but biscuits are usually ok, so perhaps I should bake biscuits more often! This is certainly a good recipe for a beginner, and the Caked Crusader reminded me how easy they are, so I decided to treat colleagues to a little festive cheer before we all headed off for Christmas. Thankfully, unlike the CC, I wasn't cooking for anyone with vanilla aversion, so I added the vanilla to the recipe, and I think that they do benefit from the flavour.

Luckily I managed to locate the Christmas shaped biscuit cutters that I'd bought in the sale last year and put in a 'safe place' relatively quickly (I'm liable to buy things far too much in advance, put them somewhere safe and then spend the best part of a morning looking for them!) so I made snowmen, snowflakes, christmas trees, little men and my favourite, the reindeer you can see above. I just think they're so adorable.

I know I'm late posting this, but this recipe will definitely be a keeper in this house - they were really easy to make, the dough was well behaved and easy to roll out, cooked easily and they tasted really good too! Definitely not one to confine to Christmas time, any shaped cutters will do - I think I'll be on the lookout for other shapes just so I can make these at other times of the year! The decorations were done with bought writing icing, and I have to admit that I could have taken a little more care with them, but I was running out of time in the Christmas rush, and they had to make it into work in one piece. You can see below that a couple of the snowmen didn't fare so well - there's an eye missing, and some slippage..... ah well, I clearly need more practice!

Vanilla Butter Biscuits
I halved the original recipe, and have given the half quantities below. I still got about 45-50 biscuits - perhaps my cutters were on the small side!
90g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Baking sheets, greased or lined. I used parchment paper to line mine and had no problems.

- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.
- Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and then beat in the egg and vanilla.
- Add the flour and baking powder to the egg mixture and keep stirring until the dough comes together. It seems quite dry, as if it won't meld, but it does eventually, just keep pushing the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
- Form into a flat blob, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for an hour or so.
- Flour your worksurface and, working with 1/3 -1/2 of the dough at a time, roll out to about 1/2 cm thick. Cut out shapes, flouring the cutters as you go. Place the shapes on the baking tray - these don't expand much, so you can put them fairly close together.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes until pale golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- As the first batch cook, carry on cutting out and placing on another baking tray - this is where it's handy to have two trays. Keep going until all the dough is used up. I always end up with a blob at the end where I've re-rolled the dough many times. This time I baked the blob, and decided to pipe 'Merry Christmas' onto it - cook's treat!
- When cool, decorate as you wish, you could be much more gaudy than me, mine were quite understated!

My colleagues enjoyed these, after I'd repeated that they were edible, yes, and not just for decoration!!! Vanilla-ry, crisp and delicious.


Chele said...

How cute!!! Love the snowmen, don't think I owuld have the heart to eat any of them though lol.

Johanna GGG said...

oh very cute cookie cutters - remembering where the seasonal cutters are is a challenge - I usually find them after the event - and I love your cookies - the one eyed snowman has character and I love the scarf


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