Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket by Hazel Allan
'There will now be a break for cookies and egg nog!'
She indicated a rickety old table disguised with a festive tablecloth, piled high with homemade Christmas cookies and mince pies..."
1lb/450g plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Pinch of salt
8oz/225g butter or margarine
7oz/200g caster sugar
2 large eggs
A few drops of vanilla essence
Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C (Gas Mark 4)
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Stir in the caster sugar.
Beat the eggs together with the vanilla essence and mix them into the flour mixture to form a firm dough (Go on! Get your hands messy!)
Roll out the dough (around a quarter of an inch thick) on a lightly floured surface.
Using Christmas cutters make shapes out of the dough and place them onto a well greased baking tin *
Bake for 12 minutes until they’re golden and the kitchen smells yummy.
Cool the cookies on a wire rack (if you can resist their lure!) and prepare the icing.
6oz/175g icing sugar (sifted)
Half an ounce/15g softened butter
20ml/4 teaspoons of boiling water
Be patient! The icing will only slide off if the cookies aren’t completely cool.
Mix together the icing ingredients and coat each biscuit smoothly. You can add food colouring if you like and use things like chocolate buttons, dolly mixtures, glace cherries and vermicelli to decorate. Enjoy!
* Note: If you fancy making decorations for your Christmas tree this is the stage where you should use a tiny cutter or a clean pencil to make a hole in the dough. It might look huge at the moment but during the baking process the hole will shrink. When the cookie is complete you can thread Christmas ribbon through the hole and loop it over a branch. Santa won't be able to resist!
Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket is set at Christmas time so it really is a super Christmas read!