Orange cinnamon butter biscuits – crisp, buttery, melt-in-the-mouth festive cookies that make great cut-outs for Christmas.
I’ve been having a lot of fun making and decorating Christmas biscuits this week. The decorating part is quite time consuming if you are trying to do it really neatly and you have a lot of biscuits to get through, but I find it quite relaxing and it is a nice way to while away a cold, wet afternoon.
These orange cinnamon butter biscuits are a really delicious addition to your Christmas baking repertoire. They are crisp, buttery and melt-in-the-mouth with hints of festive orange and cinnamon. They are a great biscuit for making cut outs as they don’t spread too much in the oven (make sure that you freeze them before baking to help stop them spreading though!), but they are lighter and more delicate than gingerbread so are a great alternative for any gingerbread haters.
They taste delicious un-iced, but as they make such good cut-outs it would be a shame not to decorate them at all. I like the simplicity of plain white royal icing but do feel free to colour it if you like. Just be sure to use gel rather than liquid colours as liquid ones will alter the consistency of the icing.
I’ve given the recipe for from scratch royal icing below, but as it contains raw egg white, if that is of a concern then it may be best to use the stuff from a packet as that is pasteurised.
Orange Cinnamon Butter Biscuits
Orange Cinnamon Butter Biscuits:
- 350 g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 250 g cold, unsalted butter cubed
- finely grated zest of 2 oranges
- 150 g icing (powdered) sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg yolk (save the white for the royal icing)
- 1-2 tsp milk (as needed)
- 235 g icing sugar sifted
- 2 tsp lemon juice (and more as needed)
- 1 large egg white (reserved from making the biscuits)
Orange Cinnamon Butter Biscuits:
Place the flour, salt, butter and orange zest in a food processor and blitz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar and cinnamon and blitz again to mix through.
Add the vanilla extract and egg yolk and blend again. If the dough doesn't come together then add a little bit of milk, a teaspoon at a time until it does. Be careful not to add too much liquid though, stop as soon as the dough begins to clump together.
Shape the dough into two discs, wrap in clingfilm and pop them in the fridge for half an hour.
Roll the discs out on a lightly floured surface to about 4mm thick and use floured cutters to cut out your choice of shapes. Place them slightly spaced apart on a couple of baking trays lined with baking parchment.
Re-roll the scraps and cut out more shapes. Place the baking trays in the freezer for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
Bake the frozen biscuits for about 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Leave to cool on the trays for 5 minutes then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the biscuits are cool, make the royal icing. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the lemon juice. Stir in the egg white a little at a time until the icing is smooth and thick but pipe-able; if you drizzle some back into the bowl the pattern should disappear after about 8 seconds. If it is too thick then add a little more egg white (or lemon juice if you've run out), and if it is too runny then add a little more sifted icing sugar.
Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a 1mm plain round nozzle. Pipe snowflake designs onto the biscuits (Pinterest is a great place to get inspiration for patterns!) and set them aside for half an hour to dry.