These no-fuss, fun to bake almond Christmas cookies are a tried-and-true family favourite – and between us, they’re perfect for entertaining the kids for a few hours during the school holidays. You can whip them up in under 30 minutes and decorate them however you like! Perhaps you might even like to gift them to a special neighbour or friend who could use some Christmas cheer.
For the cookies:
1. Stir together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. In another mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar with an electric whisk, about 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract, and lemon zest, beating well to incorporate. Fold in the flour mixture and ground almonds, mixing to a soft dough. Shape the mixture into a disc, wrap in clingfilm, and chill for 1 hour.
3. After chilling, preheat the oven to 170°C (150°fan) | 325F | gas 3. Grease and line two large baking trays with parchment paper.
4.Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 2/3 cm | 1/3" thickness. Use assorted festive cookie cutters to cut out about 20-24 shapes in total; you can also work freehand with a paring knife if you don't have festive cutters.
5. Arrange on the baking trays, spaced apart. Bake for 16-24 minutes until set and light golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
For the icing and decoration:
6. Sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl. Stir in hot water by the tablespoon until you have a smooth, pourable icing.
7. Spoon the icing onto the cookies anddecorate with a combination of mini sugar hearts, dragee balls, and sprinkles before serving.
20 -24 cookies, approx
Prep and cook time:1 h | Chilling time:1 h
- For the cookies:
- 250 g | 2 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 125 g | 1/2 cup shortening, or unsalted butter, softened
- 125 g | 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 lemon, zest only, finely grated
- 125 g | 1 cup ground almonds
- For the icing and decoration:
- 250 g | 2 cups icing sugar
- mini sugar hearts
- silver dragee balls
- white sprinkles
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