Mrs Simkins’ Indian Chai Christmas Trees
Posted: December 2, 2014
A lovely cup of Clipper Indian Chai tea never fails to cheer dark December afternoons. It smells and tastes just like Christmas itself: all citrus, cinnamon and cloves – with an extra bright note of fennel seed for good measure.
It’s also the perfect ingredient to add an extra depth of seasonal flavour to these very more-ish Christmas gingerbread biscuits!
They are gorgeous iced and decorated – or with just a simple dusting of icing sugar.
You can bind the dough with either egg or milk. Egg gives the biscuits a scrumptious, softer and more cookie-like texture; milk a firmer, crisper snap.
The more you work and re-roll biscuit dough, the tougher and less crumbly it will be. Use mini cutters for some of the trimmings: this way you can avoid too much re-rolling and make an appealing varied selection of different sized biscuits.
Don’t forget to ‘test’ a biscuit at the end of the baking session: it’s so important for quality control . . . .
Makes 20 plus biscuits depending on cutter size
- 150g (5oz) salted butter, softened
- 150g (5oz soft dark brown sugar
- 1 Clipper Organic Indian Chai tea bag
- 225g (8oz) plain flour
- 2 level teaspoons baking powder
- 2 level teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 egg, lightly beaten (or 2 tablespoons of milk)
- You will need 2 x large greased baking trays and a selection of Christmas tree cutters
- Preheat oven to 180C (fan oven) or equivalent
- Whiz the butter and sugar together in the food processor. Cut open the tea bag and sprinkle the contents over the top.
- Add the baking powder and ginger to the weighed flour and sieve half over the mixture.
- Add the egg (or milk) sieve the rest of the flour over the top and whiz until the mixture forms large clumps.
- Transfer to a lightly floured board and knead gently into a ball.
- Split the dough into 2 – it’s easier to work in 2 batches – and chill, in polythene bags, for half an hour or so.
- Roll out the dough with a lightly floured rolling pin to approximately half a centimetre thick.
- Cut out the biscuits, and for best results, particularly with the egg mixture, chill again: on the baking trays.
- Bake for 7-8 minutes until the tops look dull and baked.
- Leave to settle for a few moments (they will still be soft at this stage but will firm up as they cool) then remove from the tray with a small palette knife and cool on a wire rack.
- Once cold, store in an airtight container.
A food processor makes a really smooth, pipe-able icing but make it by hand if you prefer.
- 225g (8oz) icing sugar
- 2½ tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon glycerine (available from the baking section in supermarkets or from chemists)
- Soft silver pearls to finish
- Sieve the icing sugar in a bowl to remove any hard lumps. Tip the icing sugar into the bowl of your food processor and give it a couple of turns.
- Add 2 tablespoons of milk and the glycerine. Whiz until smooth and workable.
- If it seems too stiff to pipe add the remaining ½ tablespoon of milk.
- Pour into an icing bottle (the concertina-type ones work well) with a fine line nozzle: or use an icing bag if you prefer.
- Once the biscuits are completely cold pipe wavy lines across and decorate with silver balls.
Warm the icing bottle before use to ensure the icing flows evenly.
Tweezers are helpful for positioning the balls.