Stars of the show (Photo: Emma Boyd)

Recipe: Orange chocolate Christmas biscuits

These are perfect as a gift or to keep on hand to impress impromptu Christmas visitors with. Or, you know, just eat them – it’s Christmas! 

With our eldest now at school, baking has found a regular place in my life. I take pleasure from the simple task of making something not only to fill his lunchbox but also his belly and heart. Things made from scratch, with thought and love, always taste so much better.

These wee Christmas stars are the evolution of the orange and chocolate biscuits I make that have become a firm family favourite. The addition of the spices gives them a lovely depth and fills the house with the smell of Christmas as you bake. They’re delicious served with a cup of tea to unexpected Christmas visitors and make a wonderful gift. I think my son and I might just make them for his teachers as a wee thank you for a pretty special first year at school.  

ORANGE CHOCOLATE CHRISTMAS BISCUITS

Makes about 100 small star biscuits or 30 regular biscuits

  • 150g butter, at room temperature
  • 50g rapadura or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 200g flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50g chocolate, finely chopped (this must be finely chopped, or cutting out the stars becomes tricky!)

Cream the butter, sugar and honey in a food processor until pale and fluffy. You will have to stop and scrape down the sides several times as it creams. Add the egg, vanilla paste and orange zest and pulse until combined.

Put the spices into a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and blitz or pound until it turns into a fine powder.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and the spices. Add the flour mixture to the food processor along with the chocolate and pulse until the dough comes together.

Turn out onto a floured bench and shape into a disc shape (the dough is soft, so just do the best you can), put into a large ziplock bag and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170°C fan bake and line two baking trays with baking paper. Flour the bench and remove the dough from the fridge. Roll out to 4mm thick and cut desired shape/s using a cookie cutter. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Store in an airtight container.       


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