Italy-based chef Emiko Davies has helped us discover Rome this summer, and now she’s sharing her recipe for Christmas cookies. Give them to guests, or even get the kids involved with decorating, they’re easy to make (and easy to eat). Feel free to experiment, swapping in some vanilla or lemon zest – we prefer ours with a little kick of cinnamon, one of our favourite festive flavours.
250 grams flour
125 grams cold butter, chopped
100 grams superfine sugar (caster sugar) or confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
150 grams confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
coloured sprinkles, desiccated coconut or finely chopped nuts
In a food processor (or with hands), combine flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon until it resembles breadcrumbs. Tip out into a bowl and mix egg plus the yolk until you have a smooth, compact dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge at least 30 minutes (better if overnight).
Roll the dough out to about 5-7mm thickness on a lightly floured surface. If you are finding the dough is very sticky (this could be due to the size of your eggs) you can also roll the dough in between sheets of baking paper.
Cut out shapes with cookie cutters (you could also do small, simple rounds with the rim of a shot glass dipped in flour) and transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake at 180ºC for 10-15 minutes or until dry to the touch and ever so slightly golden but not more. Let cool on baking racks.
To decorate, mix icing by combining icing sugar with butter and enough water to make a smooth, thick paste that you can drizzle off a spoon like honey (try a tablespoon at a time, it’s better to start thick and water down rather than the other way around). Drizzle cooled cookies with icing then sprinkle with chosen toppings. Let the cookies air dry until the icing is set.
Wrap in cellophane or brown paper to make pretty presents. Keep cookies stored in air-tight container for 1 week. The dough can also be stored, uncooked and wrapped well in plastic wrap, in the freezer for longer. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before using.
Images and recipe by Emiko Davies.