Happy Birthday Fuss Free

Stained glass window decorations and amaretti biscuits

I can't believe that this time last year I was only just posting up my first blog and hoping a few people would be interested enough to read! In fact, over 17,000 of you did! It's been quite a 12 months with many highlights but the last 2 weeks have been the cherry on top!

My first two films of edible Christmas gift aired last week on The Hairy Bikers Home for Christmas series (Episode 1:24 mins Episode 2: 9 mins) The response from everyone has been so positive, and really well received. The best bit has been seeing some of the kids at school work out that I was on the telly! Sweet!! I know some of you were very keen to have a go at making the tree decorations, so remember to have a go and please share the recipe with your friends too!

There has been so much going on that in the new year I will send a newsletter about what's happening across all social media platforms to FFF subscribers. You will get each new blog post directly into your inbox, and you won't miss a thing! So remember to hit the sign up tab and pop in your email address.  

So, for now, I'm going to leave you to check out the new website! Let me know what you like best on the FB page, and please share it with your friends too! I'll be back shortly with an extra post with the last 2 recipes from the Hairy Bikers episodes. Plus I will tell you more about 2 more bits of filming and a new club I'm starting!

Lisa x

Amaretti biscuits

200g ground almonds
225g caster sugar
2 egg whites
1 tsp almond extract
Icing sugar for dusting

  1. Place the almonds and half of the caster sugar in a bowl, mix and set aside
  2. Put the egg whites into a clean bowl and whip with a whisk until they form soft peaks
  3. Add the remaining caster sugar to the egg whites and continue whisking to form stiff peaks
  4. Add a little of egg white mixture to the almonds/sugar and mix in. Then add the remaining mixture and almond extract and fold in carefully
  5. Put the mixture into a piping bag (or food bag with the corner cut off about 3/4 of a cm) and pipe little rounds the size of a walnut onto the tray and baking parchment
  6. Cook for 12-15 minutes at 180/gas 4
  7. After 12 minutes watch them like a hawk as you want them dark golden brown to get the crunch…but they could burn in a minute too long!
  8. Cool on a wire rack then place in an airtight tin or put into little bags for gifts

Stained Glass Window Biscuits

  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice or ginger
  • 100g cold butter, chopped
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp. whole milk
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Bag of fruit boiled sweets
  • Parchment
  • Cookie cutters (round, stars, holly)
  • Ribbon 1m
  • Blender
  • Rolling pin
  • Cocktail stick

Making the biscuit dough

  • Place the flour, mixed spice, cold butter, salt and zest into the blender
  • Put the flour in first so the butter doesn't stick to the bottom
  • Pulse for a minute until the butter is blended into the flour and it almost resembles breadcrumbs or rub in by hand
  • Add the sugar and milk, and pulse for 30 seconds until it has a more defined breadcrumb mixture
  • Tip out onto a lightly floured surface. Start pushing the mixture together to try and make a ball.  Knead briefly and roll into a flat disk, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  • By making the dough into a flatter shape before chilling will make it easier to start rolling out

 Making the biscuit shape

  • Bring the dough mixture out of the fridge 10 minutes before you are due to roll it
  • Dust the surface with flour and place the dough in the middle
  • Roll out the dough to about £1 coin thickness. Choose a large cutter to make the outer shape and then choose a smaller shape to cut out a hole in the middle. Re roll any leftover dough to make more
  • Place on a baking sheet
  • Don't forget to bake the bits from the middle, these are great to give to the kids to eat and the others go on the tree!
  • Using a cocktail stick make a small hole at the top so you can thread a piece of ribbon through to hang the biscuit on the tree

Making the stained glass

  • Meanwhile, put about 10-15 boiled sweets in a bag and bash with the end of the rolling pin until they are smashed into small pieces
  • Using a teaspoon place a scant amount of the sweets into the cutout shape of the cookie. 
  • Fill to the edges but don't be tempted to overfill as it will boil over into the biscuit and have a less sharp look
  • Place into a preheated oven 180 deg c. For 12-15 minutes. Until golden but not dark brown. 
  • Leave to cool slightly on the tray and then lift carefully with a fish slice onto a cooling rack to cool

Threading through the ribbon

  • Cut a 10cm piece of ribbon. Thread it through the hole at the top of the biscuit and knot it.  You can now hang your biscuits!

With thanks to Blue Ochre Design