Holiday Cookie Round-Up

13 Dec

Thanks for joining in the cookie round-up fun again.  My recipe is a favourite from my childhood and definitely has that retro feel about it.  Belgian biscuits are very traditional both here and in Australia.  My suspicion is that they are an antipodean interpretation of that delicious Belgian/Dutch treat speculaas but the elegance of a thin, spicy speculaas has somehow been transformed into one of the most retro-styled biscuits I know of!

belgian

Essentially a Belgian biscuit is comprised of two spiced biscuits (or cookies if you will) sandwiched together with raspberry jam and topped with white icing and most essentially a sprinkling of red or pink jelly crystals.   In recent years, fancy gourmet biscuit sellers here and in Australia have gussied up the humble Belgian, cutting it in fancy shapes, creating delicately tinted shades of icing, and horrors abandoning the jelly crystals!!

For me, the Belgian needs to be celebrated in all its gaudy glory so the following are a must: a round cookie with a scalloped edge (use a fluted scone/cookie cutter), raspberry icing in the middle, shiny white icing and the pink/red raspberry jelly (jello) crystal topping.  It even looks kind of festive too!   When I was a kid these were most definitely a special occasion treat.

My recipe this year is once again taken from Alison Holst. She doesn’t roll her dough out flat and cut out with a cookie cutter like I do, so her biscuits don’t have pretty fluted edges, but her way is much faster which is essential at this time of year!

Belgian Biscuits:

(makes a nice container full of biscuits)

200g butter(7oz)

1 c brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp mixed spice

2 cups flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

Cream butter and sugar until light coloured and fluffy.  Add egg and spices and mix to combine.  Sift flour cream of tartar and baking soda then fold into the creamed mixure.

Turn dough out onto a floured board and gently form into three sausage shaped rolls, each about 2.5cm (1 inch) in diameter.  Chill in fridge for an hour untill they are firm enough to cut into thin slices.  Each roll should form 25-30 biscuits.

Place biscuits on a lightly creased or sprayed oven tray, leaving enough space for a little spreading.  Bake at 180 degrees celsius (350 degrees Farenheit) for about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven as soon as edges show signs of darkening.  Cool on a rack and bake the next batch.

Once cool sandwich together with good quality raspberry jam and ice with the following icing.  It’s easiest to ice a few, and add the jelly crystals on top as you go – otherwise the icing might harden before you add the crystals.

Icing:

Mix 2 c icing sugar (powdery confectioner’s sugar), 25g (1 oz)  softened butter and enough lemon juice (or water) to mak a fairly soft icing.  Spread on top of biscuits in a rounded swirl.  Icing shouldn’t cover top of biscuit completely – more like a swirl in the middle.

Enjoy!  For another delicious holiday cookie please visit  Waggle Bears!

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