Christmas spiced shortbread recipe

Christmas Spiced Shortbread Recipe
Christmas shortbread
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By Ella Walker, PA

“I usually use the cookie press to make these, because I find they look particularly festive in little wreath shapes,” says food writer Anja Dunk.

“If you aren’t so keen on icing you can sprinkle each biscuit with a little demerara sugar before baking – this adds a pleasing crunch and caramel note to the cookie.”


Shortbread from Advent by Anya Dunk
Spiced Christmas shortbread from Advent by Anja Dunk. Photo: Anja Dunk/PA

Christmas spiced shortbread

(Makes 80–100)

275g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
50g (¹⁄₃ cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
50g (½ cup minus 1tbsp) ground almonds (almond flour)
50g (½ cup minus 1tbsp) ground hazelnuts
250g (1 cup plus 2tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into 2cm/¾in cubes
175g (¾ cup plus 2tbsp) soft light brown sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
2tsp ground cinnamon
½tsp ground ginger
½tsp ground anise (or a drop of anise extract)
½tsp ground cloves
1tsp vanilla extract
2tbsp milk for the glaze
100g (scant ¾ cup) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
25ml (scant 2tbsp) just boiled water


Christmas shortbread
Spiced Christmas shortbread from Advent by Anja Dunk


1. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F and line two baking sheets with nonstick baking parchment.


2. Put all the ingredients into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat to a soft, pliable dough on a low speed for a couple of minutes. (If making by hand, put both flours, the ground almonds and ground hazelnuts into a large bowl, then work the butter in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix through the sugar, salt and spices. Add the vanilla extract and milk, and bring the dough together with your hands. Knead for three minutes until pliable.)

3. If using a cookie press, select your preferred shape, then stuff the dough into the top. Hold the press over a prepared baking sheet and click the handle to release one cookie. Repeat this process, placing each cookie one centimetre apart to allow for spreading.

4. If using the mincer method, choose the desired attachment and place your dough in the funnel. Crank the handle with one hand, holding the other hand just below the spout to support the dough as it comes out. When the dough protrudes by six centimetres, cut it off and place it on a baking sheet. Repeat this process, spacing the biscuits one centimetre apart, until both sheets are full. Bake for eight to 10 minutes until just golden.

5. If you don’t have a mincer or cookie press and are making the biscuits by hand, take small, walnut-sized pieces of dough and roll them into sausage shapes around five centimetres long. Place them two centimetres apart on the sheets. Press a fork gently into the top edge of each biscuit and drag it down the length of the dough, flattening and lengthening it as you go. Bake as above, but allow at least 10 minutes (hand-formed biscuits tend to be thicker and so take longer to bake).


6. While the biscuits are baking, put the icing sugar into a bowl, pour in the just-boiled water and mix vigorously until a glossy glaze forms.

7. Allow the cooked biscuits to cool for a minute before transferring to a wire rack. Using a pastry brush, glaze each biscuit while still warm. Repeat the whole process again with any remaining dough. Store in an airtight container for up to four weeks.

Advent by Anya Dunk


Advent: Festive German Bakes To Celebrate The Coming Of Christmas by Anja Dunk is published by Quadrille. Photography Anja Dunk. Available now.

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