For the last two weeks my Facebook news feed seems to have been full of pictures of Christmas trees. It’s not fair! If I can’t have a tree until I get home to Manchester, then nor should anyone else. (Though happily, my long-awaited journey home begins tonight – let the reunions and obscene amount of eating begin tomorrow!) My mum always opts for a fake tree, deterred no doubt by the mess of real pine needles and the fact that she is still mocked for the last time she chose a Christmas tree and it somehow had two ‘heads’ and couldn’t actually be wrestled through the door.
While the tree isn’t the real deal, the decorations on it certainly are – there are a few that have been passed down from grandparents, some we’ve picked up on our travels, and of course, the homemade ones. My mum still faithfully hangs up my disastrous youthful attempts at crafts, and while I think they are entirely embarrassing (my artistic ability stopped developing when I was three) it is rather nice to see them around the home.
I don’t think I’ve ever made edible decorations for the tree, but these Snowflakes are actually a Nigella recipe intended to be threaded and hung up. So, feel free to follow her lead and use them as decorations. Or if you don’t have a tree, feel free to follow my lead and simply scoff them! Obviously you can decorate them more attractively than I did – see previous comment about my artistic ability.
Edible Christmas Tree Decorations
From Nigella Christmas, makes 30-40, depending on size of cutter
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1-2 tsp black pepper
100g soft butter
100g soft dark sugar
2 large eggs, beaten with 4 tbsp runny honey
To decorate: icing sugar, water
1. Preheat the oven to 170C and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper. Put the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and pepper in a food processor.
2. Switch on the motor and add the butter and sugar through the lid.
3. Slowly pour in the eggs and honey – you may not need it all if it comes together sooner, though I used the lot.
5. Scoop up half the dough, bring it together into a smooth ball and roll it out to about 5mm on a lightly floured work surface.
6. Stamp out festive shapes as you like, rerolling the trimmings as you go. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
7. Place the shapes on the prepared baking trays. If you want to use them as tree decorations, poke a little hole near the top of each one using the nozzle of a piping bag.
8. Bake them for about 20 minutes, until the underside is no longer doughy.
9. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
10. Mix together some icing sugar and water until you have a nice consistency and carefully pipe it onto the cooled biscuits. When set, thread some ribbon through the hole and hang on the tree, if you have one.