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Sweet spice biscuits for a Christmas celebration

Orange and sweet spice biscuits, Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores
We may have started the week mid way through November, but our Peel Valley Landcare Group held its Christmas drinks and I was searching for Christmas biscuit recipes to bake and take along. You know when you can visualise a recipe you've seen and then spend 30 minutes searching through recipe books to find it. That was me on Monday. I found the recipe for Orange and Sweet Spice Biscuits on a promotional postcard from The Healthy Baker, tucked in the back of another recipe book. At least I could stop searching and start cooking. With the combination of sugar, mixed spice, currants, and orange zest, this recipe evokes the traditional flavour and scent of a European Christmas. It felt a little early to break out the Christmas cutters, so I opted for crinkle cutters instead. On reflection I wish I'd used stars. We need all the joy we can muster after such a disruptive year.
Our Peel Valley Landcare Group had something to celebrate too, a $2,400 grant from Tamworth Regional Landcare Association to start a community garden next to Nundle Library and Seed Library. This has been a long held ambition for Peel Valley Landcare Group members and the vision is for a space to complement the successful collection and exchange of locally adapted seed, and bring people together to share local gardening, preserving and cooking knowledge. The grant includes funds for raised garden beds, a water tank and irrigation, accessible paths, a compost area, and outdoor shaded education/potting table. We'll be meeting in mid-January to plan preparations to be ready for March sowing.
You might like to make Orange and Sweet Spice Biscuits for your family (ours were devoured for morning and afternoon tea), to take to a Christmas gathering, or give away. Our youngest said, "they taste like mince pies." Christmas flavours accomplished.
Recipe makes approx 20. Preparation 1 hour, 15 minutes (including dough chilling time)
What you need: 3 cups plain flour, 115g unsalted butter (room temperature), 1 cup caster sugar (plus extra for sprinkling), 2 eggs, 1 tsp mixed spice, pinch salt, 1/2 cup currants, zest of one orange (I substituted lemon with success)
What you do: Combine the butter and sugar in an electric mixer and cream until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in the flour, salt and mixed spice, folding with the butter mixture, currants and orange zest. Turn the mixture onto a work surface and form into a disc-shaped dough. Store in a covered container and chill in the fridge for an hour.
Preheat oven to 180C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
Roll out dough between two sheets of baking paper until about 5mm thick. Use biscuit cutters to cut biscuit shapes, gently toss in a bowl of extra caster sugar, and place on baking trays, leaving space between each. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on baking trays or gently transfer to wire cooling rack.

Megan Trousdale
Megan Trousdale


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