Oven: 180C/160C fan forced (watch the fan forced though cause it blows the baking paper up and turns the cookie edges up)
You will need:
1 vanilla bean
(who the heck has vanilla beans handy? I used 1 tsp of vanilla essence)
250gm butter, softened
(softened, not melted like I tend to)
3/4 cup caster sugar
(yes you need caster sugar, the finer the better)
1 Tbls water
2 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
90gn individually wrapped sugar-free fruit drops, assorted colours
(What the? just get those clear lollipops, nothing fancy)
cookie cutters - two of the same shape, one large and one small.
- beat together the vanilla, sugar, butter, egg and water with an electric beater but watch out for kitchen dangers as Mags found out last Christmas.
- stir in sifted flour in two batches - it will still be sticky but don't stress because...
- knead dough on a floured surface until smooth. Use lots of flour cause that dough sure is sticky.
- make into a big as ball, wrap in plastic wrap, put in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes and then do all your dishes while you wait and then,
- sort your coloured, clear, sugary lollies/lollipops into colour groups, open their little individual packets, put them, still in their colour groups into a plastic bag, gently smash them with a rolling pin or hammer - use the claw end if the lollies are really hard. Please note: though this is an enjoyable process the point is to still have the lollies in the bag when you are finished smashing them. Shards of lollies on the kitchen floor can only lead to trouble. You have been warned.
- put the separated colour groups of lollies aside.
- retrieve the chilled out dough from the fridge, take some baking paper, cut two lengths, take the dough, put between the baking sheets and roll out. Reality: Baking paper is really slippery on a bench so rather than cut two lengths, cut one longer length and fold it in half, put only half the dough between the baking paper and smush - it doesn't roll that well. You want about a 4mm thickness, or close enough.
- using your TWO cookie cutters, press the big one firmly into the dough then inside the big shape cut a smaller one using the small cookie cutter. Remove the inside of the small centre, remove the excess dough from around the outside of the large shape so you have a silhouette. Easiest way is to use a knife and feel free to eat the little bits you've cut away.
- cut the baking paper in half to fit the baking tray, pop in the oven for 7 MINUTES.
- take out of the oven, choose smashed lollies of one colour and place inside the empty centre, enough to fill the empty space.
- put back in oven and bake for about 5 MINUTES or until the cookies are just browning and the lolly centre has melted and filled the space.
- DO NOT TOUCH THE MELTED LOLLY CENTRE! It burns deep, I know.
- leave on the baking paper and cool on a rack. When cold gently pull off the baking paper.
You can put a small hole near the top of the biscuit to hang on your Christmas tree.