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I love these simple Christmas Tree Cookies CHRISTMAS TREE COOKIES


  1. 250g / 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 250g / 1 cup plus one heaped tablespoon caster or golden caster sugar
  3. 2 large free range eggs
  4. 500g / 4 cups sifted plain flour
  5. 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  6. Tree green gel food colouring, such as Sugarflair Christmas Green or Holly Green
  7. 50g white chocolate / just under a third of a cup
  8. Sprinkles
  1. First, make the biscuit dough. Combine your butter, which needs to be incredibly soft, with the sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the two eggs along with the vanilla bean paste, and then sift in the flour and mix with a large spatula – the dough will be quite stiff, but keep going until its all incorporated. Divide the dough into two equal portions, and then pop half onto some clingfilm and wrap it up tightly and put it into the fridge.
  2. Next, add about a third of a teaspoon of gel food colouring to the remaining dough, and knead until it’s completely incorporated. It will go streaky at first, but carry on and add more gel if necessary if the dough isn’t green enough. If its sticky, dust it with a little extra flour. Once it’s a nice Christmas green, pop it onto some clingfilm too and then wrap it up and let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  3. Next, prepare three large cookie sheets with non stick baking mat or parchment paper, and preheat your oven to 160c/gas mark 4/350F.
  4. Roll out your two doughs on a liberally floured work surface. Use a large circular cutter to cut out circles that will easily accommodate the size of Christmas tree cutter you’re using, and transfer these to your cookie sheets. Next, cut out a christmas tree shape in the centre of each circle. Perform the same step with the green dough, and use a palette knife or spatula to pick up and transfer the green trees into the vanilla dough and vice versa.
  5. Bake for 10-14 minutes, and keep a close eye on them and remove from the oven or swap to a lower shelf if they’re starting to get browned (generally if they are starting to get browned, they will be done). Let cool completely on a cooling rack.
  6. If you’d like to decorate with sprinkles, melt your white chocolate in the microwave (I use a mug for such a small amount, and microwave on 15 second intervals and stir well). Use a teaspoon to drizzle white chocolate over the biscuits, or to smear onto the outside of the cookies, and then add on sprinkles.

Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham was named America’s most Outstanding Restaurant at the James Beard Foundation Awards in Chicago on Monday night. Highlands pastry chef Dolester Miles was also named best in the country, making the restaurant the runaway winner at the awards. A panel of chefs, restaurateurs, and food journalists gave chef and owner Frank Stitt’s modern Southern restaurant the honors. The other big winner of the night was Seattle’s Edouardo Jordan, whose JuneBaby was named best new restaurant in America; he was also named Best Chef Northwest for his restaurant, Salare. “People always talk about Portland [Oregon] as the Pacific Northwest restaurant city,” said Jordan. “But they’re like the cool kid with a new name every season. Seattle is showing we are an ongoing force.” He doesn’t credit the rise of Inc. for his restaurants’s successes, although owner Jeff Bezos has dined at Salare. “Seattle has always had big companies—Boeing, Microsoft. They come in and eat, but it’s the people in the city who are making it happen. They’re more engaged than anyone gives them credit for.” The James Beard Foundation Awards recognize restaurants, wine programs, chefs, designers, restaurateurs, cookbook authors, and journalists from around the country. The awards, established in 1990, have recognized industry leaders such as Union Square Hospitality Group’s Danny Meyer and Daniel Humm and Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park. While it may not have been a good year for such famed restaurant cities as New York and San Francisco (which won only two chef and beverage awards, including Best Service at Zuni, and the Best Chef West winner Dominique Crenn), it was a very good year for women. Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune in New York was named Outstanding Chef in the U.S, and Missy Robbins of Lilia in Brooklyn was named Best Chef New York. Forty percent of this year’s nominees were female. Women won many of the major awards, including Caroline Styne, who was named Outstanding Restaurateur for Lucques Group in Los Angeles. Forty percent of the winners of the regional chef awards were women; last year, that number was 30 percent. For the first time, voters were encouraged to consider qualities beyond food, wine, and ambiance, including respect and integrity. This follows accusations of sexual harassment against such past Beard winners as Mario Batali and John Besh.

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