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These are fantastic looking and tasting cookies. It's worth getting the special cookie cutters which will enable you to make the nice holes in the top.

  • 400g plain flour
  • 140g icing sugar
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 250g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 130g ground almonds
  • grated zest of half a lemon
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk



to assemble:
  • about 100g seedless raspberry jam
  • icing sugar

    Put the flour, icing sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in the food processor and blitz together. Add the butter chopped into pieces and process until you can't see large pieces of butter anymore. Add the rest of the ingredients except the egg and yolk and process briefly. Add the egg and and egg yolk and process very briefly again. Take the dough out and knead very quickly to bring it together. If it's too dry, add a little bit of cold water. Wrap the dough and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan assisted). Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 2mm thickness and stamp out cookies. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes or until the cookies start to colour very lightly around the edges.

    Leave to cool. Dust the top part with icing sugar. Put about half a teaspoon jam into the centre of the bottom part, spread it a little and then assemble the cookie. You can also dust with sugar after you assemble it but it spoils the colour of the jam a little.

    Store in a breathable container for at least one week before eating.




 
 
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  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 70g finely chopped candied peel
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder

to decorate:
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g halved almonds (see note)

Preheat the oven to 160-170°C (140-150°C fan).
Whisk the the sugar and the
eggs with an electric whisk for 1 minute on a high speed. Mix in the spices, candied peel (use a food processor to chop it finely if you have one) and the almonds. Sift the flour and baking powder together and mix it quickly with the rest of the ingredients.

Roll the dough out on a well floured surface to about 3mm thickness. Cut into 3cm squares and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush each square with the beaten egg and place half an almond in the middle.
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, until the crispies are baked through and starting to colour lightly around the edges.

Store in an airtight container for at least a week before eating.

Note:
If you don't have skinned and halved almonds, simply put whole almonds into simmering water for a couple of minutes, drain and place in cold water. Remove the loosened skins by squeezing the almonds between your fingers. Halve them by carefully inserting a sharp pointy knife along the side.


 
 
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  • 150g walnuts
  • 300g plain flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • a pinch of ground cardamonn
  • a pinch of salt
  • 200g cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp rum or 2 tsp rum flavouring
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence




  • a couple of tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
  • 200g plain chocolate
  • 200g walnuts

Process the walnuts until quite fine but be careful not to overdo it as they will eventually release their oils and turn into a greasy mass. Place the flour, sugar, cardamonn and salt into the food processor and process briefly. Add the ground walnuts and butter cut into pieces and process until you can no longer see pieces of butter. Add the rest of the ingredients and process very briefly. Take the dough out of the processor and knead very lightly to obtain a ball of dough. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured
surface to a 2-3 mm thickness. Stamp out 3-4cm rounds and bake in a preheated oven at 160°C for about 7 minutes, or until you start seeing the slightest hint of colour around the edges. Leave to cool.

To assemble the cookies, spread a little jam on one, stick another one on top an press together lightly. When you've done all the cookies, melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and spread some on top
of each, finishing with a piece of walnut in the middle. Leave to dry and then store in a breathable container.

 
 
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White dough:
  • 125g flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 60g butter
  • 1/2 tbsp rum or 1 tsp rum aroma
  • 1/2 egg





Black dough:

  • 100g flour
  • 25g cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 60g butter
  • 1/2 tbsp rum or 1 tsp rum aroma
  • 1/2 egg
  • egg white for assembling

To make the white dough, place all dry ingredients into the food processor with blade attachment and process quickly to mix. Add the butter cut into small pieces. process until you can no longer see large chunks of butter. Add the rest of the ingredients and blitz. Take the dough out of the processor, briefly knead to get a ball of dough. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat to make the black dough.

Take the chilled dough out of the
fridge and assemble rolls. To make chess pattern cookies, roll out a thin rectangle of white dough. Make thick strips of both colours and cut so that they have square profiles. Assemble by placing black and white strips on the thin white rectangle, brushing all parts lightly with egg white to ensure that they stick together well.  Roll carefully and seal the edge. Lightly reshape to make a nice regular shape. To make spiral pattern, simply lay rectangles of rolled white and black dough on top of each other (brushed with egg white again) and roll into a sausage. Wrap the prepared sausages and place in the fridge overnight.

Next day:

Cut the cylinders into thin round/squares and bake on sheets covered with baking paper at 160°C (fan forced) until the edges start to colour very lightly, about 8 minutes. Watch them as they burn very easily. Leave to cool and then store in an airtight container.

 
 
The following recipe produces beautyful crumbly cookies. If you want to add extra vanilla scent, dip them in vanilla infused icing sugar. To prepare vanilla sugar, simply put used vanilla beans (after you've taken out the seeds) into a large jar full of icing sugar and leave to infuse.
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  • 125g whole hazelnuts
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 125g caster sugar
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 2 tsp vanilla essence)
  • 200g cold butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • icing sugar



First prepare the hazelnuts by  toasting them lightly at 150°C until they start to smell nice. You don't really want to colour them. Rub some of the skins off after they've cooled down. Grind the nuts in a food processor. Be careful not to overdo it as they will eventually release their oils and t
urn into something similar to butter. Little pieces of nuts are good in these cookies so don't worry if the result isn't fine and uniform.

Place the flour, baking powder, sugar and vanilla seeds
into the food processor and blitz to combine well. Add the butter cut into chunks and process briefly, until you can't see large pieces of butter. Add the egg yolk and blitz very quickly. Take the dough out of the processor and very gently and very quickly knead to form a ball of dough. Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until firmed a little.

Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan forced)
and put icing sugar into a flat bottomed dish for coating the cookies.

Take a piece of the dough out of the fridge and roll into a thin sausage (about 1.5 cm) on a lightly floured surface
. Cut into segments, and roll each, thinning the ends a little. Turn into crescent shapes and bake on trays lined with baking paper. They will only take about 5 - 8 minutes and burn very easily so make sure to watch them carefully. After you take them out of the oven, let them cool slightly to firm them up a bit. Put them very gently into the prepared bowl with icing sugar and coat each biscuit well while it's still warm.

Store in a breathable box in a cool room. Leave to rest at least a couple of days
before eating.


 
 
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  • 2 tsp of mixed ground spices (ground ginger, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, allspice - finely ground and sifted)
  • 100g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 3 heaped tbsp runny honey
  • 2 tsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 500g flour
  • 2 whole eggs


Melt the butter in a bain-marie. Add the sugar, honey, spices and cocoa and gently heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything dissolves into a thick smooth paste. Leave to cool slightly. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda together. Mix it together with the eggs into the paste. Knead to make a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.

Next day:
Leave the dough at room temperature for an hour or until it becomes pliable again and knead again to ensure the cookies are smooth.
Roll out on a floured surface to about 3 mm thickness and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 8 - 12 minutes at 150 - 160˚C (non-fan forced), or until the edges start to colour very slightly. It is a good idea to test bake  just one cookie to see which oven setting and temperature work best for you.
Leave to cool, then cover with a tea towel and leave overnight. Decorate the next day. Leave to dry out and then store in a breathable box in a cool room for a few days so the cookies can soften again.


White icing:

  • 1 egg white
  • 150 - 200g icing sugar, sifted (exact amount depends on egg size)
  • a couple of drops of fresh lemon juice

Mix the sugar gradually into the egg white and combine well with an electric whisk until the mixture becomes white and glossy (10-15 min). The icing has the right texture if it drops from the spoon in a thin stream which keeps its shape for a short while after landing on a surface. Spoon a little bit into a piping bag with a 1.5 or 2 mm nozzle (or a sandwich bag with a tiny bit cut off at corner) and decorate the cookies. You might have to adjust the thickness with more sugar or egg white to get the right consistency.
Add food colourants for colours and cocoa for brown icing instead of lemon juice.