Christmas biscuits


Christmas Biscuits: left to right - gingerbread stars and  kipferl

Christmas Biscuits: left to right – gingerbread stars and kipferl

For me there are 3 unsurpassably wonderful Christmas biscuits, Gingerbread, Kipferl and Lebkuchen, all Germanic in origin. Over the last couple of years I’ve baked lots of these basing them on the recipes found in this lovely little book, Christmas Treats to make and give by Linda Collister (pub. Ryland Peters & Small, 2008) .  After tweaking and experimentation I now have 3 recipes that I think are just right.

I prepared biscuit dough for all 3 biscuit recipes as my contribution to  bits and bobs to eat after the Carol Service on Sunday when we have a glass of wine. I then ran out of time to do the cooking. Undaunted I cooked the biscuits on Christmas Eve and we had them after Midnight Mass instead. Phew, imagine the temptation of all those biscuits sitting uneaten in tins around in the kitchen. 

Christmas biscuits: Kipferl

Christmas biscuits: Kipferl


(I think these biscuits are even more delicious if half the flour is wholemeal, so the recipe below has been adjusted accordingly)

125 g ground almonds (or ground hazlenuts)

60 g icing sugar (plus extra for dusting)

115 g unsalted butter (chilled and diced)

2-3 drops pure almond extract

50 g plain flour & 50 g wholemeal flour

Have ready a couple of good-sized baking trays.

Put the almonds and icing sugar in a bowl. Add the diced butter, almond extract and  flour and mix until the crumbly mixture starts to clump and form a ball. (I think the recipe I used intended me to use a food processor and as I don’t have one it took rather a long time for me to get to this stage with my electric hand whisk – but I did get there.) Gather the ball of dough up, wrap it in cling film and chill for 20 minutes or more.

Remove the ball of dough from the fridge and open up the cling film. Now break off little pieces. Roll into about 30 sausages about 5 cms long which you then curve into crescent shapes and put on a greased baking sheet. 

Place tray in an oven pre-heated to 160 degrees C/ 150 degrees C for a fan oven (325 degrees F) for about 10 minutes (keeping a careful eye on them as they can burn very quickly),

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Shake icing sugar over WHILE BISCUITS STILL HOT as this helps the sugar to stick.

Christmas biscuits: lebkuchen

Christmas biscuits: lebkuchen


Adding chopped MORELLO glacé cherries to this makes an already delicious sweetmeat even more wonderful. If I had a food processor the biscuits would be finer in texture but chunky is just as good in terms of taste. I also like to add 50 g cocoa to make them more chocolatey.


100 g  ground almonds

25 g dark chocolate coarsely chopped

50 g cocoa powder

2 tblsp mixed peel, very finely chopped

2-3 tblsp finely chopped morello glacé cherries 

1/2 teasp ground cinnamon

1/2 teasp ground ginger

1/4 teasp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teasp ground black pepper (under rather than over; it can be very overpowering)

1/4 teasp ground cloves

1/4 teasp allspice

2 large egg whites

115 g sifted icing sugar



150 g good dark chocolate, chopped

(60 g is ample if your biscuits don’t spread)


Prepare several baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C (about 140 degrees C  for a fan oven), Gas 2

Put the ground almonds and chopped chocolate into a bowl along with  the finely chopped peel, cherries and all the spices.

Put the egg whites into a spotlessly clean and grease-free bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gradually whisk in the icing sugar, then continue whisking for another minute until you have a very stiff, glossy meringue. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the top the beaten egg whites and gently fold this in with a large metal spoon.

Take tablespoons of the mixture and drop them on the prepared baking trays, spacing them well apart to allow for spreading. Using a round-bladed knife, spread out each mound to a nicely rounded shape. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until pale gold and firm. (If cocoa has been added,  just check how firm they are).

Remove the trays from the oven, set the biscuits – still on the baking paper – on a wire rack to cool. When cold, peel the biscuits off the backing paper (sometimes it helps to ease them off with the side of a spatula blade).

To decorate, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of steaming – but not boiling water  – (making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water). Stir gently till melted, then remove from the heat.m Spread some melted chocolate over one side of each lebkuchen with a palette knife, then leave to set on a sheet of non-stick baking paper.

Store in an airtight container and eat within 4 days.

Christmas biscuits: Gingerbread shapes

Christmas biscuits: Gingerbread shapes

Gingerbread Shapes

I employ Delia’s flapjack principle here, adding more Golden Syrup and cutting down on the sugar to produce a much softer gingerbread. I also replace part of the flour with wholemeal flour.


200g plain flour

150g wholemeal flour

1 tbsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 teasp ground cinnamon

175g unsalted butter

100g light muscovado sugar

6 tbsp Golden Syrup

Sift four, ginger, bicarb and cinnamon into a bowl.

Put butter, sugar and golden syrup into a pan over a low heat and melt gently. Take the pan off the heat and add the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon – you may need to borrow someone to do this as it can get very stiff – until the mixture starts to adhere together into a ball. When cool enough to handle make it into a nice round ball, cover in cling film and leave in the fridge for about 20 mins.

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out on a floured working top (it’s easier if you divide the dough into 2 lots). Cut out with your favourite cutters.

Place in a preheated oven 180 degrees C /160 degrees C for a fan oven/350 degrees F/ Gas 4 for about 10 minutes. Let cool a little in the baking tin and then remove them with a spatula on to an airing rack (they may still be quite flexible at this stage but they will firm up.) When cool decorate as desired.

Tray of Christmas biscuits (gingerbread shapes, kipferl and lebkuchen) to have after Midnight Mass on Christmas Day

Tray of Christmas biscuits (gingerbread shapes, kipferl and lebkuchen) to have after Midnight Mass on Christmas Day


Christmas treats by Linda Collister

Christmas treats by Linda Collister


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Sharon Meager
    Posted December 26, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    These look absolutely delicious! I am just wondering though – only the gingerbread is nut free. Do you stick a little warning on the others? I am asking as the mother of an (adult) daughter who has to plunge her epipen in should she inadvertently ingest a nut. Sadly the best Christmas recipes seem laden with hazelnuts, chestnuts, almonds …..

    • Mary Addison
      Posted December 27, 2013 at 12:19 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your comment. I try to make a point of telling people what the main ingredients are – mainly because I adore biscuits and desserts with almond/marzipan or hazelnuts. Now after your comment, I shall make sure that I do. Fortunately, I know most of the people who come to the churches regularly but I shall be sure to let any guests know when the biscuits contain nuts. (I usually only bake one type of biscuit at a time, so it’s not difficult to be precise.)

One Trackback

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • December 2013
    M T W T F S S
    « Nov   Jan »
  • Photographs & Media

    Please attribute any re-uploaded images to Addison Embroidery at the Vicarage or Mary Addison and link back to this website. And please do not hot-link images!