The weather outside is frightful….but the fire is so delightful….
And since we celebrate Christmas here in Australia often on 40 degrees Celsius days, the tradition came about to celebrate Christmas in July (our Winter) so northern hemisphere expatriates could enjoy Christmas celebrations in the brisk weather.
We attended a Christmas in July event at Church recently and I brought these dear little cookies along.
230 grams Butter
200 grams Castor Sugar*
375 grams Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract**
1.5 teaspoons Baking Powder
0.5 teaspoon salt
Green food dye
1 Round cookie cutter
1 Christmas tree cookie cutter
*I know some of you will try to reduce the sugar in this recipe, but please resist the urge. The high sugar content is what gives this cookie its crispness. Trust me, your taste buds will not regret it….I can’t say the same for your weighing scales. 🙂
**Vanilla Extract or vanilla paste is best. Vanilla essence pales in comparison.
***I buy fondant or white icing from my local supermarket.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius if you have a fan forced oven).
I’m using a Thermomix, but you can use an electric or non electric mixer to cream your butter and sugar.
Insert butterfly into Thermomix and mix castor sugar and butter together on Speed 4 for 2 minutes (Reduce mixing time to 30 seconds or 1 minute on a warm day). The mixture should be light and fluffy and the colour of your mixture should turn from yellow to a light cream colour.
While the blades are running on speed 4, add the egg through the measuring hole and add the vanilla extract for about 30 seconds or until thoroughly mixed.
Scrape down the sides.
Remove the butterfly, add flour to the bowl and mix on Speed 6 for 1 minute.
In my experience there’s usually still a lot of flour that hasn’t been incorporated into the butter sugar mix at this stage. I tip the whole mix onto my bench and begin kneading it until it comes together. It’s a very buttery mix, so you’ll need to work quickly or in a cool room if you’re making these on a warm day.
I divide the dough into 2, wrap them in cling film and put them in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes (or if you’re patient you can put them in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour). My 6 and 3 year olds are not patient when it comes to chilling cookie dough. 🙂
Sprinkle flour on your bench and your rolling pin and begin rolling out the dough to a thickness of about 0.5cm. You can also roll the dough out between 2 sheets of baking paper which prevents the dough from sticking particularly on warm days. I lay my rolled dough on a lined baking tray and put it in the freezer for 2 to 5 minutes so it’s easier to handle. Take the dough out of the freezer and start cutting the cookies out with a round biscuit cutter.
Lay the cookie rounds on a lined tray, leaving space between the cookies as they’ll need room to spread. Don’t put them too close together or you’ll end up with one huge baking tray size cookie! 😛
Put the cookie rounds back in the freezer for a minute. Cooling the dough will help the cookie keep its round shape. If you’ve ever tried making gingerbread men and they end up looking like bloated snowmen instead, it’s because you’ve missed this crucial step. Chilling the dough helps prevent the cookies spreading too much during the baking process. Bake the cookies for around 10 minutes but keep an eye on them depending on how small or big you’ve cut them. Once they’re golden, they’re ready! 🙂 Allow the biscuits to cool before decorating. Roll out the white fondant to about 2mm and cut out your rounds with the same round cookie cutter.
Take some fondant and put a few drops of green food dye on the fondant. Knead the dye into the fondant until it’s completely green. Roll out your green fondant to about 2mm . Using a Christmas tree cookie cutter, begin cutting out your trees. Lay the white round onto the cookie, followed by a tree.
Ta da, Christmas in July cookies!!! We didn’t have enough white fondant to cover all the cookies so my 6 year old came up with the clever idea to use what was left of the white fondant and turned them into snowflakes. So adorable! Enjoy!
PS. To top off the night, we won the door prize!!! A Christmas hamper! Thank you Kingdomcity!!:) BecX