After a freezing cold commute, a stormy Sunday on the sidelines of your child’s sports pitch, a chilly carol-singing outing or a day of soldiering on with a head-cold - move over mulled wine - nothing beats a hot toddy.
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The hot toddy is one of winter’s greatest comforts. Honey, lemon, spice and whisky combine in the most soothing and pleasurably medicinal, of all the hot drinks. I don’t even mind if you substitute the honey for maple syrup, or the whisky for bourbon or rum, that’s fine with me.
If anyone deserves such a drink at this time of year, it’s Father Christmas. He crams a year’s worth of work into one night and has a bitch of a commute to boot! The thing is, a hot toddy is a more of a sip-and-savour drink. Meanwhile, Christmas Eve is an eat and run kind of night for the Big Man. That’s why we’re leaving him some hot toddy cookies instead.
The cookies themselves are non-alcoholic so the kids can smuggle a few away for themselves. If you choose to substitute some, or all of the lemon juice, for whisky in the icing and keep all the cookies for the grown-ups, that’s ok too. I’m sure Father Christmas will be happy to share.
Father Christmas's Hot Toddy Cookies
(Makes approx 36 cookies, depending on their size)
- 150g golden caster sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 300g butter (or dairy free spread, if required)
- 450g plain flour (or gluten free plain flour mix, if required), plus a little extra for dusting
- zest of ½ lemon
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
Preheat your oven, to 180°C/355°F/Gas Mark 4.
Beat the sugar, honey and butter together until you have a smooth, creamy consistency.
Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and half the flour and mix gently until you have a smooth paste.
Add the rest of the flour and keep stirring! You’ll end up with a stiff, slightly sticky paste
Wrap the mixture in cling film and refrigerate, for at least 30 minutes.
Dust your worktop with flour and roll out the cookie dough, until it’s about ½ cm thick.
Cut out festive shapes and place on a baking tray.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown and firm to the touch.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before decorating.
For Lemon Icing
- 250ml icing sugar
- 2-4 tbsp lemon juice (or whisky, bourbon or rum)
Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl.
Add the lemon juice a teaspoon at a time, stirring all the time until you have the consistency you want. (You’ll need a thickish icing if you’re piping it on. If you’re spreading it on, you want the icing to coat the back of the spoon.)
When you have a smooth icing, add a few drops of food colouring, if you like.
- Decorate your cooled cookies and leave to set.