Want a little healthier break with some yummy spiced treats? They’re gluten-free made with buckwheat flour and pure maple syrup instead of refined sugar. Then you can decorate with milk or dark chocolate. This was an experiment and I didn’t expect the pastry to hold together so well or that these healthier spiced Christmas biscuits would be so delicious!!! I shall be making buckets of these for friends and family! Sorry, correction: a nice moderate amount. Must not get carried away just because they’re delicious, healthy, cute and easy to make. 🙂
I used a ready-blended Spice mix for Gingerbread by Albert Ménès (it was cheaper in Monoprix supermarket than on Amazon) as I’m temporarily in Paris and didn’t want to buy 4 or 5 different spice packs. It’s a lovely blend of cinammon, cloves, nutmeg, pimento, mace, cardammon and ground ginger. Please feel free to buy a spice blend too or mix your own. The buckwheat flour is also French and hopefully the Spanish version will be just as wonderful in pastry.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F (static oven) or 170°C/340°F (fan/convection oven)
- Line a baking tray (about 30cm x 40cm) with greaseproof paper
- 100g/half a cup (3.5 oz) unsalted butter
- 85g/a quarter cup maple syrup
- 200g/1 and two-thirds of a cup buckwheat flour
- 50g/half a cup ground almonds
- 2 teaspoons/5g mixed spices
- about a quarter teaspoon of salt, to taste
- 1 whole small/medium-sized free-range egg (53-55g), beaten
- 1 egg yolk (19-20g), beaten
- Whisk the dry ingredients together to combine.
- Cream the butter till it’s the consistency of hair cream (beurre pommade) – warm it a little if necessary.
- Whisk in the maple syrup and keep whisking till combined and light.
- Gradually add the beaten egg and yolk till the mixture is light and fluffy. Don’t worry if it curdles a little – the flour will sort that out.
- Add the flour and fold in well till just combined – don’t overwork (or you’ll get a tougher pastry).
- Wrap in greaseproof paper and store in the fridge for 2 or 3 hours at least. You can store it overnight.
- Roll the pastry between two sheets of baking paper that are very lightly floured. If you don’t have a rolling pin use a wine bottle like me (I’m still in Paris after the Cordon Bleu course and missing some of my usual equipment). Roll to 4 -6mm thick. This pastry is quite soft so you need to work quickly and make sure it’s not too thin. This video my Mum kindly took just shows me finishing up the rolling. Not sure if it’s very helpful but it stars a lovely bottle of wine.
- Cut shapes with a glass or cookie cutters then place on your prepared baking tray. Drink the wine.
- Bake around 20 minutes until your cookies are lightly browned. It depends on your oven and thickness of pastry, so be flexible and just keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn. Turn the tray around if necessary or remove biscuits that have darkened earlier. After your biscuits cool they should have a snap when broken.
If you want super healthy biscuits have them plain. Also very yummy.
Otherwise pipe milk, dark or white chocolate (tempered if you like) and you can add little colourful sweets like mini m&m’s for buttons. Most of my little men wanted scarves because they’d seen some on Instagram but bow-ties could also be charming if you prefer evening wear! 🙂
Storing and eating
Store in a metal airtight container or sealed in aluminium foil. They keep at least 5 days and probably even a week or more.
I tested them out on Mum, who loved them, then on my Cordon Bleu classmate when we went into town to buy baking materials (as you do). I took them out in the metro and four stops later we’d polished them all off! 🙂 Approved as not a ‘healthy substitute’ but a delicious biscuit in its own right! Yay! Plus it’s true what Instagrammer friends have been saying about the beautiful spiced aroma floating about the house. Hmmm…
So I’m sharing these healthier spiced Christmas biscuits, aka cookies with Simply Eggcellent@BelleauKitchen, Free from Fridays@Freefromfarmhouse and Fabulous Foodie Fridays hosted by Lucy@BakePlaySmile and Lauren@CreateBakeMake. Do help yourselves… um they’re healthier so you can have loads…?! Tee hee. 🙂
Wishing you a lovely run-up to Christmas sweet reader with some excellent festive treats and fun! Have a wonderful week, and of course happy baking and eating! 🙂 x
P.S. Leaving Paris tomorrow morning, snif… will give you an update on the last Cordon Bleu creations here very soon!