I look after my niblings (niece and nephew) each week and, spotting that there were four weeks in December before Christmas, decided that I'd put together an Aunty Advent with a different Christmassy craft/experience each week. I painted a set of little wooden drawers and each week we'll open a drawer and see what's inside!
WEEK TWO - snowflake/star biscuits : suitable for toddlers and up
OK, this is a little late because last week was BUSY but week two was fun and another one inspired by the Jolly Snow story in Old Bear! This one uses my favourite biscuit recipe for baking with little ones and, like last week, was something that Toddler Nibling could do mostly by herself. Despite these being called snowflake biscuits, we used a star cutter because it's less fiddly to cut out with - the idea being that we could ice our snowflake pattern on top (which tbh is exactly what the ones in Jolly Snow are) Just a warning, the pics for this are definitely action shots - lots of blur - because there's nothing gentle about baking with toddlers!
You will need:
- star/snowflake cookie cutter (I picked up a set of two sizes from Hobbycraft which I think are these ones )
- icing tubes (these were the ones I picked up from Morrisons, and they were great because of the pastel Wintery colours) *see note in instructions about icing*
- flour, butter and sugar (recipe below)
- baking tray
So about the biscuit recipe - I use one from Lunch Lady I can't find the recipe on their website but I have an instagram post saved from Annual Store where it was shared (side note - Annual Store are a great online shop for gorgeous kids bits and pieces!) and it's my go-to recipe for biscuit baking with kids. It's super easy, doesn't have too much sugar and is pretty fool-proof. I always add a bit of milk to bind but other than that it's straight from them. Their original recipe is to make super cute face biscuits (if you click on the link for the Annual Store post you can see these - I even turned them into Elf biscuits last Christmas by changing the shape slightly and using white choc with green colouring for the hats!) but the base biscuit works great for any shaped-biscuit.
125g butter (I use olive spread because that's what we have)
55g caster sugar
180g plain flour
Preheat the oven to 190c (this can be done at step four when the biscuits cool in the fridge for 20 mins)
Beat butter and sugar until creamy (this was loads easier using the spread as it's already soft so it's just a case of combining the two. Toddler Nibling needed a little help but did most of it herself)
Stir in the flour until smooth (we sifted the flour because I'm never sure whether you're supposed to or not and also because it's fun for her to do! This bit required a bit more help from me because it gets more difficult as the mix becomes a dough)
I then add the milk at this point, a drop at a time (usually 1-2tbsp in the end) until I've got a nice dough. You should be able to bring it together with your hands but don't worry about it being super sticky!
Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll out your dough until 1cm thick
Cut your dough into shapes (and if you're a toddler you're going to want to start that right slap bang in the middle of the dough...!)
Pop them onto a baking tray and put in the fridge for about 20 mins (this bit helps retain the shape of the biscuits when baking)
Bake for 15-20 mins until pale golden brown and then cool on a wire rack when done
Decorating time! Now, if you want snowflakes then it's just a case of some simple lines going to each point with a couple of smaller lines off each. If you're a toddler however, it's game on and just do what you like! We had a mix of lines for snowflakes, full coverage and random shapes. A little note on the icing. The tubes I got were great but a couple were a little stiff for Toddler Nibling to squeeze and control. We tried using a toothpaste tube squeezer but it didn't really work and we also mixed up some water icing to spoon on. Other things that may work are those decorating pens you can get (not sure how they work directly onto biscuits though), or a plain icing and then snowflake sprinkles.
And you're done! Obviously you'll need to try a few straight away to see if they're any good, and then some more just to be extra sure...! Let me know if you try these!
Some bonus pictures of the realities of working with needy cats...and the life of a second child! Haggis had to be part of the fun so perched himself on the chair behind Toddler Nibling and Newest Nibling got some toys in a cot instead of a wholesome Christmas activity! Don't worry though, he gets to join in on the next one!