It’s time to start baking. Even if you never bake for the rest of the year, it is obligatory to bake this week. It’s that special time when you make biscuits that you only have at Christmas. That is what makes them so special.
During this week, I bring out my mum’s old recipes or ring my sisters and ask for them … again. By baking them, I remember and honour her and recall how special these biscuits were to me as a child. Each year, my mum would make, amongst others, melting moments, shortbread, rum balls and fruit mince pies. To a small child, they were magical.
These biscuits help define Christmas.
I decided to start with melting moments. Mum had a couple of recipes but this was my favourite because it includes ginger and cherries. My mum was, as I am, big on ginger.
- 8 oz (225g) butter, preferably unsalted
- 2 oz (56g) icing sugar
- 2 oz (56g) custard powder
- ¼ tsp vanilla essence
- ¾ cup desiccated coconut
- ½ cup glacéd cherries, roughly chopped
- ½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped (I toasted my walnuts, although my mum never did.)
- ¼ cup glacéd ginger, roughly chopped
- 1½ cups self-raising flour, sifted
- extra cherries for decorating
- Preheat oven to 180˚C.
- Cream butter and icing sugar in electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Stir in custard powder, vanilla essence and coconut.
- Add walnuts, ginger and cherries and mix well.
- Stir in sifted flour.
- Roll dough into balls the size of a walnut.
- Flatten slightly and put a piece of cherry on each biscuit.
- Place on a tray lined with baking paper.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Do not brown.