There’s nothing as cosy as a day spent baking – especially with the children – in the run-up to the festive season, filling the house with the scent of warm, sweet dough and making delicious treats, either to eat yourself or give as gifts. Our adorable Santa cookies are sure to delight!
These festive Santas are decorated using royal icing. Simple diamond-shaped cookies give the perfect shape for Santa’s hat and beard.
For the cookies
115g butter, softened
60g caster sugar
170g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
Grated zest of 2 clementines
A little milk, if needed
For the decoration
400g royal icing sugar, sifted
Red and black food colouring gels
Large white snowflake sprinkles, or similar
1. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Sift in the flour and whisk in with the clementine zest until you have a soft dough, adding a little milk if needed. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4 and grease and line 2 baking sheets.
2. On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the dough to about 5mm thickness and cut out 10 diamonds with 8cm sides using a sharp knife. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheets using a spatula. Re-roll the dough as necessary. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
3. For the decoration, beat the icing sugar with 3-4 tbsp of cold water until you have a stiff icing that holds a peak. Set aside two-thirds of this icing. Colour the remaining icing red. Spoon 2 large spoonfuls of red icing into a disposable piping bag and spoon 5 large spoonfuls of white icing into another. Take the red icing bag and pipe a fine red line along the top edge of each cookie, following the triangle shape. Take the white icing bag and pipe the outline of the band of Santa’s hat along the base of each red triangle then pipe a half-egg shape below that to create the outline for Santa’s face.
4. Scrape all of the red icing back into its bowl and about half of the white icing back into its bowl (reserving enough in the piping bag to pipe the beards on later). Add a little water to both the icings so that they are now thin enough to flow. Spoon a little white icing into a small bowl and add enough red to create a pale pink. Flood a little pink icing in the piped half-egg face shape on each cookie. Do the same with the red icing in the hat outline, and then the white icing in the band of the hat outline. Dip a cocktail stick into the red icing and swirl to add rosy cheeks. Add some black food colouring to the remaining pink icing and use a cocktail stick to add dots for eyes. Finally pipe a white beard in the bottom of each cookie. Pipe a small blob of icing to the top of each hat and affix a sprinkle. Leave to set for 15 minutes.
• Recipe from Cute Christmas Cookies by Hannah Miles, published by Ryland Peters & Small, priced £9.99.