Friday, December 24, 2010

Throwing Christmas Shapes

I did my utmost to honour all of my Christmassy meetings-up, but I am sorry to say that the snow scuppered 95% of my plans. One I social commitment I was very happy to be able to keep was afternoon tea with my old work friend Sinéad. Admittedly this wasn't too difficult on my part, since the lady in question and her two little boys (Sam, 2, and Will, 9 months) were coming over to my house, so I didn't even have to haul my lazy ass out of the house. Because of the effortlessness required on my part, I felt that the least I could do would be to crack out the festive cookie cutters and whip up some small-person-friendly biccies. Martha's incessantly fancy offerings were not quite what I was after on this occasion, and so I looked to Nigella's magnificent tome Nigella Christmas, where I found the perfect recipe for the reindeer, angel, star and holly that had been patiently for their five minutes of festive fame for a whole year. Incidentally, one could play a very fine game of Where's Wally with that cafetiere in every single blog post of mine. If one were so inclined.

Out with the ingredients, and of COURSE the butter has not been left out to soften, but I must plough on  regardless. Unfortunately, the fact that recipes seem to come together in spite of this lack of planning or organisation on my part only reinforces this slovenliness and I clearly still haven't learned my lesson.

Now, in Nigella's recipe she makes these biscuits even prettier with the addition of edible gold dust, but since I am limited in both time and resources I must make do without.

The addition of an essential baking ingredient that is packaged in one of my top ten favourite food package designs of all time.

The dough has to go in the fridge for half an hour. This is generally the bit where I get a bit narky and feel pressed for time and wonder if this is maybe a step that I can skip - I do have enough sense to follow that particular instruction though, as the refrigeration is necessary for a nice firm dough that is perfect for cutting crisp, definite shapes.

After my patient waiting period, I'm ready to do something with my cookie cutters other than admire how cute they are. I'm set up like a small child at art time in school.

Let the fun begin.

I used up every single last scrap of dough - that's where the wee star shape really came into its own.

Transferring the dough to the baking sheet was slightly touch and go for la kluz here, but there were no casualties.

I feel so much joy when they come out of the oven so shapely and crunchy, with a little golden, perfectly-baked glow around the edges.

They got the ultimate seal of approval: the repeated return of Sam with his hand held out for more.

Though his mother and I certainly gave him a run for his money.

Nollaig shona daoibh go léir, have a tasty one xxx

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