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Tuesday
Dec112018

Nigella Lawson's Christmas Cookies

I love these dark, fat patties of chocolate shortbread exuberantly topped with festive sprinkles. There’s something so cheering about the sight of them, but they have more in their favour than looks: they are a doddle to make, and meltingly gorgeous to eat.

INGREDIENTS

Makes: approx. 24

FOR THE BISCUITS

  • 2¼ sticks soft butter
  • ¾ cup superfine sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

FOR THE FESTIVE TOPPING

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ cup boiling water (from a kettle)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • christmas sprinkles

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF and line a baking sheet with Bake-O-Glide or baking parchment.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl and, when you have a light, soft, whipped mixture, beat in the one-third cup unsweetened cocoa (sieving if it is lumpy) and, when that’s mixed in, beat in the flour with the bicarb and baking powder. Or just put everything in the processor and blitz, if you prefer.
  3. This mixture is very soft and sticky and I find it easiest to form the biscuits wearing my CSI (disposable vinyl) gloves, so pinch off pieces about the size of a large walnut, roll them into balls, then slightly flatten into fat discs as you place them, well spaced, on your baking sheet; you should get about 12 on at a time.
  4. Bake each batch for 15 minutes; even though the biscuits won’t feel as if they’ve had enough time, they will continue to cook as they cool. They will look slightly cracked on top, and it’s this cosy, homespun look I love.
  5. Remove the baking sheet to a cold surface and let it sit for 15 minutes before transferring the biscuits to a wire rack, with a sheet of newspaper under it (to catch drips while topping them).
  6. To make the topping, put the unsweetened cocoa, confectioners' sugar, water and vanilla extract into a small saucepan and whisk over a low heat until everything’s smoothly combined. Take off the heat for 10 minutes.
  7. When the biscuits are cool, drizzle each one with a tablespoonful of chocolate glaze – to glue the sprinkles on in a minute – using the back of the spoon to help spread the mixture, though an uneven dribbly look is part of their charm.
  8. After you’ve iced 6 biscuits, scatter with some of the Christmas sprinkles, and continue thus until all the biscuits are topped. If you ice them all before sprinkling, you will find the cocoa “glue” has dried and the sprinkles won’t stick on.

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