Few things spell Christmas quite like the smell of festive cookies baking in the oven. Yum.
Whenever the Christmas baking spirit grabs me, I like to dig out a much-loved recipe for iced spice biscuits which I first discovered in the very first cook book I was ever given - at the tender age of seven.
It's the 'Party Things' book from the Usborne First Cookbooks series and I've just discovered it's available to buy at Amazon for the utterly ridiculous price of 21p plus delivery. Santa, if you're reading, that's a must for someone's stocking filler...
Alternatively, check out Usborne's latest range of cookbooks for kids, including the rather lovely Christmas one.
Without further ado, here's the recipe:
250g / 8oz plain flour
125g / 4oz butter
125g / 4oz brown sugar
1 small beaten egg
2 teaspoons mixed spice
pinch of salt
For the icing:
125g / 4oz icing sugar
1-2 teaspoons hot water
Oven setting: 190'C / 375 F / Gas mark 5
Grease two baking sheets.
Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the beaten egg a little at a time.
Sift in the flour, salt and mixed spice. Mix everything well to make a ball of firm dough.
Sprinkle some flour over a clean surface and a rolling pin, then roll the dough until it is about 1/2 cm (1/4 inch thick).
Using Christmas cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes. Gather up any leftover dough, roll it out again and cut out more shapes.
If you plan to hang the biscuits from a Christmas tree, use a straw to make a small hole at the top of each biscuit.
Place the biscuits on the baking trays. Bake them on a high shelf in the oven for about 15 minutes, until light golden brown
Put the biscuits on a wire rack to cool. Mix the icing sugar and hot water together in a bowl until smooth.
Spoon the icing into two or three cups and add a drop of different food colouring to each one. Leave some white.
When the biscuits are completely cool, spoon half a teaspoon of icing on to each one and spread it out evenly.
Before the icing sets, decorate the biscuits with silver balls or any other favourite sweets. Red and green M&M's work well, as do Smarties.
For more Christmas baking inspiration, check out Tesco's recipe for stained glass window biscuits and BBC Good Food for beautiful sparkling vanilla Christmas cookies.