Is it just me or is time flying by faster than ever? It seems like only a few months since last Christmas. The cupboard is now teetering with gifts that Santa has kindly left for us there, the cake is maturing in the cupboard, the turkey is ordered and the Stilton takes up a large part of our fridge. So it's a good job I love this time of the year.
What I love about Christmas is it is the one time of the year that we can indulge with a great excuse. It is refreshing that in this current world of 'celebrity' chefs, as well as health 'experts' who claim to know it all on our televisions telling us what we are doing wrong with our bodies, we can gorge to our hearts content without being tutted at.
I for one will be pigging out as usual and facing the consequences in the New Year when sensibility returns. It has already started if truth be known and at the weekend it was time for the nipper and I to get the pots and pans out and begin making jams, chutneys and edible decorations for the tree including Marron Glace and sugar almonds.
Some little orange and spice biscuits, thickly covered in chocolate and decorated with silver balls, now speckle our modest tree and make for a tempting treat each time you see it. Like anything edible sitting around the house, the difficult part is not eating them too early. But I reckon you could be forgiven for this. After all, it is Christmas. Go on, just the one...
Spiced Orange and Chocolate Stars
125g plain flour
50g rolled oats
125g butter or margarine
75g caster sugar
A pinch of baking powder
Zest and juice of one orange
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
A pinch of fresh nutmeg
100g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate
1 - Pre-heat the oven to 180C/GM4.
2 - Tip the flour, oats, sugar, spice and orange zest into a large bowl.
3 - Melt the butter in a pan then stir into the dry ingredients thoroughly along with the orange juice. If it seems too sticky add a little more flour but you want a very soft dough.
3 - Roll out the dough until approximately 1cm thick. Using a star shaped biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits and place onto a greased baking tray.
4 - Bake on a high shelf for 8-10 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown and slightly risen.
5 - Cool on a wire rack.
6 - Melt the chocolates in an ovenproof bowl in the oven. Stir thoroughly with more zest of orange. Using two forks, gently toss each biscuit into the melted chocolate then drain on a wire rack until dry.
7 - Cover each biscuit in foil. Thread the biscuits with a needle and thread, form loops and decorate your tree.