I first made this recipe – which is from Fortnum and Mason’s Christmas and Other Winter Feasts – to include in my new (as yet untitled) novel. It’s set in the fictional Chipwell Barn Antiques in Chipwell, Yorkshire and I wanted something that was zesty but also had the warmth and scent of Christmas. These biscuits are a feature on the menu of the tearoom at The Barn, and their Christmas table.
They’ve also featured a few times already this Christmas season in our special Christmas biscuit tin.
While they’re easy to make – it’s pretty much a pastry dough – they are a palaver in that you need to pre-plan and make the dough either the day before you bake or, at the very least, a good few hours before you bake. The resting time, while it might seem an unnecessary step and a pain in the proverbial, really does allow all the flavours to get to know each other.
You could, if you wanted to, decorate these with icing…but I’ll leave that with you.
What you need
- 375g plain (all purpose) flour
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 110g light soft brown sugar
- 125g unsalted butter, cubed, fridge cold
- 175g golden syrup
- 1 egg yolk
- Grated zest of an orange
What you do with it
Into a large bowl tip the flour, bicarb soda, cinnamon and brown sugar. (You can sift the flour, soda and cinnamon if you want, but I can never be faffed). Stir to mix well.
Using the tips of your fingers, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg yolk and the orange zest.
Warm the golden syrup (either very gently in a pan, or a few seconds in the microwave) to make it runnier and stir this through too, bringing it all together into a dough. The usual rules apply re overmixing, ie, don’t.
Wrap it into some cling film and pop it into the fridge to rest – overnight, if possible.
When you’re ready to bake, line some baking sheets with baking paper/parchment and roll your dough out to about 5mm before cutting. You can either use some Christmas cookie cutters, or a basic round one. Place your biscuits on the prepared baking sheets – taking care to leave a few cms between them – and pop the tray in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 160C (fan) and cook for 10-12 minutes – or until they’re golden and smelling of Christmas.
Leave to cool for a few minutes on the trays until they firm up enough for you to transfer to a rack to allow them to cool completely.