Don’t worry I’m not turning wannabe food and recipe blogger. I’m not apt enough for that, I prefer the eating of the food generally.
I posted a photo on Instagram of this recent festive creation and got asked by a few people what the recipe was, so I thought perfect opportunity to share a little Christmas bake with you along with an insight into a different area of my life. My directorial talents. My bossiness!
Being limited physically doesn’t mean that I don’t like things done a certain way. Now I am fairly laid back, which is lucky really, but we all have our ways of doing things, how we like things to be organised, placed, and the appearance. A bit like this tea post of mine really. So I have grown to learn that if you want something doing that you can’t do yourself then you need to be quite clear in your instructions, we all think differently, we all have different ideas in our head, we can’t just assume others see/want it how we do. I’ve also learned patience is the key. Patience is indeed a virtue!
I’ve also learned not to sweat the small stuff. Although having choice in how things are done around you is a way of keeping some control when you don’t always have much, keeping independence, and keeping sane. It doesn’t matter if the clothes are folded a slightly different way, or the toast isn’t buttered to the edge. Ok it does a bit.
One of the things I really enjoy doing is baking, almost as much as I enjoy the eating of the goods!
Pouring, weighing, whisking and mixing are quite physical things. I am not. I make an excellent delegator and director though! So my job is recipe creator/reader and instructor. I give step by step instructions of what needs to be done and how.
I’ll stop rambling now and give you the recipe for my shortbread Christmas tree.
Here’s what you’ll need
- 300g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 200g butter (cubed and soft)
- 100g caster sugar (plus extra for a little sprinkle)
- 4 drops vanilla extract (not essence)
- Royal Icing Sugar (quantity dependent on use)
Note: This is enough for one tree plus spares and tasters (we all like spares and tasters!)
Here’s how to make the shortbread
- Preheat the oven to 130ºC/ Gas mark ½. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Put the flour into a large mixing bowl, add in the butter and rub together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Fold in the sugar and the vanilla extract and work the mixture with your hands until it forms a ball.
- Continue kneading the biscuit dough until it is smooth and the sides of the bowl are clean.
- Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough until it is about 0.5cm thick.
- Using a cutter, cut out the biscuits. You may need to cut and re-roll and few times to get as many biscuits as possible from the dough.
- Transfer the dough stars/snowflakes to the lined tray and bake for 20-30 minutes until pale gold in colour.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool for just a few minutes, then sprinkle with caster sugar whilst still warm.
Note: I had 9 different sized snowflake cutters. They came in a set for this purpose. You’ll need 2 of each cutter for the tree. I made extras in case of breakages and then put any that are left in a tub to eat.
Here’s how to construct the tree
- Add tiny amounts of water to the Royal Icing Sugar until it forms peaks. (Royal Icing sugar is different to icing sugar. Who knew)
- Spread a little royal icing onto the centre of each shortbread to stack them up.
- Stack two of each size, alternating the points, and sticking the top star on vertically.
- Decorate as you desire. I dripped some Icing onto to Tree to give the appearance of snow clusters, and sifted icing sugar over the top.
- Set the tree aside for the royal icing to set before placing it on a plate and wrapping in cling film.
- Decorate any remaining shortbread biscuits with the remaining icing. And eat!
Do you have any festive baking traditions? Or have you tried making something new recently? Tag me in your bakes on social media, especially if you’ve made a shortbread tree!