Tuesday, 9 December 2014


Okay, this is not the light side. But it is so much fun with kids that I must share with you.
A quick, rustic honey biscuit, which is not just delicious but very decorative as well.

I love advent. While others speed up at this time of the year - because there are so many things to do before the holiday season: like the end of year reports, endless shopping and festive parties - I slow down a little bit.
My mum always makes an entire house cleaning before Christmas. She has long shopping lists and buys and ticks all the items on this list by Christmas. She makes very rich, traditional cakes weeks before Christmas - but they cannot be cut before Christmas day! And of course, she starts cooking the Christmas dinner meals early in the morning on Christmas day. So by the time the family is ready to celebrate Christmas everybody is very stressed and tired. Then my mum expects us to eat up all the prepared food in those 2-3 days.

I never liked the tension around Christmas. So we decided that Christmas is not just a two-days stressful celebration for us with a long and exhausted preparation period, but the whole December will be a relaxed, slowed-down family fun. For instance, the tree decoration is a long process as we add a just couple of ornaments every week starting from the beginning of December until it is completed by Christmas. We bake cakes and we eat them, when we want them, or give them as a gift to friends and neighbours. Or we use them to give a Christmas cheer to our house. It does not matter if they cannot reach to Christmas. We make the house decoration in the same way: slowly step by step. And if we do not have time to do something, then we will make it next year. No rush, no pressure.

Anyway, we have baked some Christmas honey cookies today with my 3-years old daughter and she loved it. I gave some dough to my 1-year old daughter too she played with it a bit - thinking what that could be, - then she decided to eat it. :-) She was right, that was food, but  raw, so it was not a good idea to leave her to eat it.

Earlier I posted about why is it so important to get kids involved in cooking - you can read it here: HEALTHY FUN - COOKING WITH KIDS - but around Christmas, it is a therapy for you as well. Their approach to baking, their happy little world what makes everyday activities magic bring out the child from you as well.

I love this recipe because

    The texture of the dough is very similar to a soft play-do, not sticky there is no resting time, just mix the ingredients and cut and decorate.
  • Needs only 10-12 minutes in the oven, so by the time the kids wash their hands, cookies are done.
  • It can be eaten straight away - well, after a short cooling time.
  • Even if this cookie is not the healthiest in the world, you do not need to feel guilty to give them to the kids. It can be a snack completed with a glass of milk.
  • Cookies keep well in an airtight container for 14 days (at least, I never had a chance to test longer period).

If you pierce the dough before baking, you can use them as an ornament on the Christmas tree or on dry spots of the house.
Here is the recipe:

Honey Christmas Cookies


200g butter (or 100g butter and 100g coconut oil)

300g honey
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
700g plain flour (you can use 1/3 wholemeal flour if you want)
10 g bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs

Step 1
Put the butter in  a pan, add honey and melt it. It does not need to be warm, the point is just to make it liquid. So if it is lukewarm, move the pan from the heat and add the spices. Add the 2 eggs and mix well. 

Step 2
Mix the flour and the bicarbonate of soda.

Step 3
Mix the wet and dry ingredients. First, it looks a bit runny, but you will see that it comes together nicely and you will get a soft play-do-like dough. If it is still warm leave it to cool to room temperature. Then you can roll it out to a 5 mm thickness. 

Step 4
Cutting: You can use any shape of cookie cutter - if you have Christmas cookie cutter then go for it, - but you can use simple ones like a circle, star or flower too. It is absolutely okay to make free-hand forms too like our snowman, Christmas tree and the snow-covered house on my photo above. Place them on baking trays lined with baking paper.

Step 5
Of course, you can use the normal icing decoration after baking the cookies. But I prefer to use raw nuts, seeds and dried fruits. I think it is much more fun for the children too. It also helps their physical development and creativity. In this case, do the decoration before baking the cookies. Use 1 whole egg to wash the top the cookies and then go creative. Press the nuts and fruits a little bit into the dough.

Step 6
10-12 minutes on 160 C fan/ 180 C normal oven. Bake them until they get a little brown colour. Let the cookies cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before place them to a wire rack. (they need this time to harden a little bit).

This amount can make about 4 full backing trays, so gives a lot of cookies. You can half the amount of ingredients if you want, but I always make a big batch.

Christmas cookies are to share. So eat them, share them, hang them, or give them away, do not worry, they will find their place.

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