|Nothing says Christmas like cherry blossoms|
I thought about doing a Christmas gift guide, but instead I have collected (one might even say curated...) some guides that other people have done:
Gemma's collection of things for keeping warm is very appealing!
Kavey's guide has several things I would be very happy to receive (I don't use salt or pepper shakers, but those snowglobes are very cute).
Jassy has some really excellent ideas for interesting foody gifts.
Miss South has some very thoughtful and considered recommendations for books and gadgets, and I totally endorse her recommendation for Noodle! and A Change of Appetite. Of course, Miss South herself has a cook book out, which would be a great gift for anyone with a slow-cooker.
customisable cookie stamp. They are beautifully short and crunchy, and just what you need with a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Or a hot toddy, if your Christmas spirit requires spirits.
Spiced Shortbread Cookies (makes 12)
130g plain flour
Pinch of salt
25g rice flour
25g caster sugar
25g dark muscovado sugar
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (the seeds from about 10 pods, bashed in the mortar & pestle is what I used)
100g butter, chilled.
Sift together the dry ingredients. Rub in the butter and bring together into a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for about half an hour.
Roll the dough out to about 3/4cm thick. Cut into shapes or stamp with the seasonal message of your choice (if you are using a cookie stamp, dunk it in a plate of icing sugar and use a toothpick to make sure the details of the letters are still clear before each stamping).
Lift the cookies onto a paper-lined baking sheet and chill for another half hour.
Preheat the oven to 170C. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Allow to cool on the tray for a minute before lifting onto a wire rack to cool completely. If you want them a little sweeter, a thin glacé icing would work well, adding a bit more sweetness but not obliterating the letters.