Christmas was a massive occasion while I was growing up. Every year we would spend hours upon hours creating the ultimate nativity set, searching for the perfect tree and then filling it with my mom’s elaborate collection of fragile Christmas decorations. One strange tradition we had was to finish off decorating the tree by tying Quality Street chocolates to the ends of the branches. Then, over the next two days or so, every time we strolled past the tree, we would nick a chocolate from one of the suspended wrappers. Soon enough, every wrapper would be empty and the tree went from looking deliciously tempting to looking a bit like a tree in a junkyard after a big storm. Since then I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about how to make our Christmas tree look scrumptious and even still look great when all is chewed and swallowed.So here’s my latest experiment…
Preheat oven to 150°C. Cream softened butter and sugar until creamy and pale in colour.
Add vanilla essence, sifted flour and salt and mix to form a soft dough.Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Lightly dust a clean surface with a little extra flour and roll out dough to about 1 ½ cm thin. Using a straw, carefully make a small hole on the top of each cookie.
Bake in oven for about 15-18 min or until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and place onto a cooling rack to harden.
For the icing: Sift icing sugar into a bowl and add enough lemon juice to form a smooth and slightly runny icing. Spoon icing into piping bag and pipe patterns onto cooled cookies. Sprinkle with edible decorations and allow to set for a couple of minutes.Thread a piece of Christmas ribbon through the hole and use to decorate the Christmas tree.
You might remember a few years ago we did a feature on a mystical cottage owned by nature loving couple, Nelleke Elston and her husband Michael. Apart from living fast-paced creative lives, things have progressed in other ways too.