Isn't cinnamon the most wonderfully versatile spice? It appears in so many guises, but mostly at Christmas, when its subtle warmth and evocative smell brings cheer to the dark and dismal days of rain-washed England in December. And we've certainly been rain-washed this year!
My local church has a Christmas Tree Festival, and there are always baked goodies for sale on the Open Day. These little cinnamon stars were one of my contributions, and where I had the ultimate accolade from young Joseph (perfectly name for a Christmas visitor) who liked them so much, he not only wanted to take the rest home, but also have the recipe. So, Joseph, here you are, with very best wishes for a happy Christmas.
|Cinnamon Shortbread Stars|
Cinnamon Shortbread Stars
5oz/150g plain flour (works very well with just rice flour)
3 level tbsps rice flour – if no rice flour, just use more plain flour
2oz/50g caster sugar
4oz/100g butter at just above room temperature
½ tsp of mixed spice and cinnamon
1tsp icing sugar mixed together
Preheat oven to 170deg C/325 deg F. Grease a large baking sheet. Mix together the flours, spices and the sugar. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients. It will form a dryish dough, which you knead a little before rolling (this stretches the gluten and makes the biscuit stick together better).
Roll out the dough between two pieces of greaseproof parchment, about .5cm thick. Cut stars, about 2-3”, 50-75mm, and transfer using a fish slice to the baking sheet. When you gather up the leftovers and roll them out again, try not to over-knead it, as the final result isn’t as good (what Mary Berry would described as “overworked” – you know the feeling!)
Bake until firm and golden – the butter in the mixture will brown while your back is turned, so check it frequently after 10 minutes or so. When they are done, dredge them with the cinnamon/sugar mixture, using a small sieve, then add a little gold powder for festive sparkle.
This quantity of ingredients made about 24 or so biscuits. Joseph suggests putting a hole in each one before baking, so you could hang them on the Christmas tree.