This classic butter biscuit recipe is made very special – and rather Christmassy! – by making a festive spice mix to stir through the mixture. The spice can also be added to preserves such as apricot or plum jam, or ham glazes. It can even be infused into spirits such as gin, vodka or rum – Christmas cocktails, here we come!
The biscuit mixture can be frozen and sliced to bake. You can also have fun rolling this mixture with a ‘springerle’ rolling pin with carved designs, or use cookie cutters to make fun shapes.
Makes: about 30
Time: 1 hour, including 30 minutes resting time
Festive spice mix
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 4 cloves
- 2 pimento or allspice, optional
- 4 peppercorns
- 3 cardamom pods, seeds only
- ¼ nutmeg
- 20 grams (0.7 oz) white sugar
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 175 grams (6 oz) raw sugar
- 220 grams (7.5 oz) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- 1 egg
- 4 tsp Spice Mix (or use 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground allspice, pinch nutmeg)
- pinch fine salt
- 400 grams (14 oz) plain flour
Festive spice mix
1. Place all Spice Mix ingredients in mixing bowl and mill 40 sec/speed 10 or until finely ground. Store in an airtight container. If continuing with biscuits there’s no need to wash the bowl.
2. Place sugar in mixing bowl and mill 6 sec/speed 10.
3. Add butter and mix 30 sec/speed 5.
4. Add egg, spice (4 tsp, or to taste) and salt. Mix 20 sec/speed 5.
5. Add flour and mix 20 sec/speed 5. Scrape down and mix 10 sec/speed 5.
6. Remove dough from mixing bowl and form into a flattened brick. Wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F and line a baking tray with baking paper. Flour rolling surface and rolling pin. Roll dough to about 5mm (0.2 in) thickness, flouring as you go, before cutting into shapes or embossing with designs.
8. Place in oven (200°C / 400°F) and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool before moving. Store in an airtight container.
- If you haven’t got around to softening your butter, simply scrape and mix a little longer at step 3.
- Don’t stint on the flour used when rolling out this very buttery mixture!
- Springerle rolling pins and moulds are used for German (and other European) holiday baking. They are available from specialist kitchen stores and online, such as at Etsy.
- Form unused cookie dough into a roll, wrap tightly and store in the freezer. Defrost until easy to slice, then bake from frozen.
- Use your spice mix to infuse spirits. Add 2 tsp for every 300 ml (10 oz) alcohol. Shake to mix. Leave for at least 3 days and invert the bottle to mix the spices through every couple of days. Use spirit in your favourite cocktails or serve over ice for the full spice experience.
- Spice mix can also be added to sweet pastry, eg for lemon tarts, fruit preserves or poaching, ice cream mixtures, or added to marinades and a ham glaze.
More about this recipe
- Want more festive recipes? I’ve bundled all my Christmas recipes together in one place. Check them out here.
- I became obsessed with kueh in Penang – watch my foodie trip to that delicious Malaysian island here.
- Want more Christmassy recipes that are great as gift? Try my Chilli Cherry Ripe and Chrissy Kueh!
- Wanting a little more spice in your life? I have an entire category of spicy recipes for you here.
- Did you know you can make your own Fortune Cookies?