Christmas shortbread cookies and an incredible lady

December 4, 2011

This is my Aunty Alida. She’s from Holland originally, where she survived the Nazi occupation. At 89, she’s still going strong, and as you can see she’s also incredibly stylish. I adore her.

One of the loveliest Dutch traditions she’s passed on to her family is Christmas Cookie Day, a day for all generations to gather and bake. So if you fancy starting this too, here’s a recipe for Christmas shortbread stars. The good thing about this recipe is that it’s really easy for little hands to get involved with too – it really doesn’t matter if the cookies don’t look perfect. If you want to hang them on your tree, though, make sure you put a hole in the top before baking.

4 1/2 oz (125g) fine semolina (this might seem weird but it’s what gives you the crunch)
3 oz (75g) butter
1 1/2oz (40g) golden caster sugar
3oz (75g) plain flour

Preheat oven to gas 4 180F (160C fan). Cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Add the semolina and flour, mixing together with the spoon and then your finger tips until you have a smooth dough. Roll out the dough. Using a star-shaped cutter, cut out stars and place on a lightly greased baking tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until just golden. When completely cool, use glace icing, silver balls, edible glitter, whatever you fancy to decorate.

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  • Mama Syder December 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Wow…I want some of what your Aunt has…How amazing does she look! Incredible! Love the cookie day tradition, lovely idea!

  • English Mum December 4, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Gorgeous! Love the idea of the semolina too – will give these a go x