These cookies are a holiday necessity in our house. Perfectly spiced with a hint of caramel sweetness, they are the best cookies for cutting into festive shapes and decorating with frosting, and edible decorations.
I remember the first day I made these cookies like it was yesterday. Mum had taken Jess and I to a YMCA Christmas function and the activity of the day was making these cookies together and decorating them with raisins. It was a really special moment making these cookies with my Mum and sister and taking them home for Dad. Every time I bite into one of these cookies, I remember that first day, and all the Christmases since.
My Mum has made improvements to the original recipe over time, because in her house raisins are only found in breakfast foods, never in desserts (I’m still a raisin oatmeal lover to her chagrin), and the original heavy dose of ginger was replaced with the more subtle flavour of mixed spice (pumpkin spice for my Northern Hemisphere friends). This cookie recipe has been made in our house for the last twenty years. Every Christmas, come the first week of December, someone in the household will pull down Mum’s big yellow binder full of recipes and get started on the first batch of the season. Much dough tasting later (scrap nibbling is highly encouraged) the cookies are cut into shapes and the house fills with the delicate scent of cinnamon and allspice.
Mum’s Mixed Spice Cookies puff slightly in the oven, and when they are cooled they are soft and warmly sweet, and pair perfectly with a drape of sweet frosting. You can be as wild or restrained as your tastes allow. This year I have made this cookie recipe my own by mixing up gluten free flours for treats that taste exactly like the cookies Mum makes, but safe for tender tummies. If you don’t need the cookies to be gluten free, just replace the gluten free flours and almond meal with 2 cups of plain flour.
These cookies are tender, so treat them gently when transferring the cut-out cookies to the baking trays, and allow them to cool completely on the trays before you decorate them. They do store very well though, and if wrapped up in an airtight container they will last for up to a week. If you wrap them in cellophane or in brown paper, they make an excellent gifting cookie and I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t fall for their subtly spiced, tender crumbed charm.
Mum’s cookies are perfect for making with little bakers who can help with rolling, cutting and decorating. Don’t worry about the messy kitchen, the sticky fingers, and the lopsidedly decorated Christmas tree cookies. What matters is the love, the joy of creating, and the value of your time spent together. Those are the Christmas memories that last a lifetime.
Mum’s Mixed Spice Cookies
Gluten Free | Makes about 24 5cm cookies | Leftovers will keep up to a week in an airtight container
- 125 grams butter, softened
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 tablespoon golden syrup
- 70 grams sorghum flour
- 70 grams brown rice flour
- 70 grams white rice flour
- 50 grams almond meal
- 50 grams buckwheat flour
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice (or ginger)
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line three baking sheets with baking paper. Set aside until required.
- In a medium bowl whisk together sorghum flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond meal, buckwheat flour, mixed spice, and baking powder.
- In a large mixing bowl using hand beaters, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream softened butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add egg, vanilla, and golden syrup and beat until incorporated.
- Add flour, and use a wooden spoon to mix together dough. It may be tough to get it to come together in a ball, but you can use your hands if you need to.
- Scoop the dough together into a large ball. Divide this in half.
- Lightly dust your bench with some rice flour and gently roll out the dough to about .8cm thick. This dough is a little more delicate than a wheat dough but it will roll.
- Use your choice of cookie cutter to cut out shapes and place on prepared baking sheets. You can use a thin, flat, spatula to help remove the cut out shapes from the bench if required. Leave a little room for spreading.
- Once you have cut out all the shapes, gather together dough scraps and re-roll, continue until all the dough it used up.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden and the cookies have puffed up slightly.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before decorating as desired.