Christmas baking: blogmas 18 December

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but my mother was not a cook.  She enjoyed food, but not cooking, and when I took an interest, she was happy to hand over things to me, bit by bit.  As a teenager, I discovered baking, and I had a captive audience in my mum, who loved anything sweet.

While a rich fruit cake was a normal part of Christmas, there were no special Christmas biscuits/cookies growing up.  Shortbread was always around at New Year, but that was it.  I started my own tradition of making a simple, lightly lemon flavoured biscuits in Christmas shapes, but this year, with only the two of us around, I’m opting out, and going to focus on small batches of different things.

Christmas biscuit cutters

On this fourth Sunday in Advent, I decided to make Polenta and Orange Biscuits from that old favourite The Australian Women’s Weekly Cakes, Biscuits and Slices.  The recipe produces small and very more-ish biscuits with a good orange flavour, and was first featured back in November 2013.

Preheat the oven to 180C, grease an oven tray and line with baking paper.  Beat 125g butter, 2 teaspoons of orange rind and 110g (I used less – around 80g – as the finished product was too sweet last time) icing sugar with an electric mixer.  It is really important to make sure they are properly combined and the mixture is smooth.  Stir in 55g polenta and 150g sifted plain flour.  Shape mixture into a rectangular log and cut into 1cm slices.  Place these on the trays 2cm apart and bake for around 15 minutes.  Let them rest for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool.  They go very well with a cup of tea.  Or while you are putting off doing a large pile of ironing.

*icing sugar is powdered sugar in the US



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