My mother used to experiment with Christmas. I mean that it was never the same from year to year, there weren’t really any family traditions, apart from putting up the tree on Christmas Eve. However, that tree might be a real one fragrant with earth and pine. Hauled up to our first floor flat, propped in the corner of the lift and dragged down the long polished parquet corridor to the front door. Decorated with glitter heavy baubles and that wonderful angel I’d found in the market.
It might be a fake tree, showy silver, shiny and brash. Skinny, so that it didn’t take up too much room; decorated with bushy multicoloured tinsle and twinkling red, blue and yellow lights.
Or the dreaded cardboard tree, a clever slotted together three foot high construction, devoid of Christmas gaudiness in every way. I really disliked that tree, it was super chic with hand-made paper baubles, plain white lights and traditional Scandinavian straw decorations. No tinsle, no glass baubles and no colour. My childhood self struggled with all that minimalism. To redeem it the tree needed some of these cookie decorations, they can still be chic one colour creations or as multicoloured and decorated as you like. Give them to friends as a Christmas tree gift. Fix them to a wreath or just give them as decorated cookies.
makes about 20
- 250g Plain flour
- 125g caster sugar
- 180g cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 1 medium egg
- Bought tubes of coloured icing – Red, White and green, mine came with icing nozzles
- 1 pot white iridescent holographic powder/lustre/silk
- 2 or 3 drinking straws
- 1 clean fine paintbrush
- Heat oven 200c or 180c fan
- Mix the flour and sugar together in a bowl
- Rub the butter into the flour sugar mix, like making pastry
- Add the vanilla and the egg, stir to mix and then using your hands make into a dough.
- Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for about 1 hour
- Roll out to about 6mm or 1/4 inch, it needs to be thicker to withstand being hung on the tree
- Using a selection of cutters cut out your shapes, using a drinking straw make a hole in the top of the shape to allow a ribbon to be threaded through after the cookies are iced
- place on a lined baking sheet and place in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown
- Sometimes the ribbon hole seals up slightly in the cooking. If so, using the same straw carefully enlarge the hole
- Leave on a cooling rack until totally cold before icing
- Ice simply or as complicated as you like, the iridescent hologram powder hides a myriad of mistakes. I used the little paint brush to manipulate any icing that had got out of control and topped it with the powder while the icing was still damp.
- If the icing is too dry use edible gum from the cake supply stores
- Leave to one side to completely dry and thread ribbon through the hole