Like most nurseries (I guess), Oscar’s preschool celebrates each and every birthday in their midst. They invite the parents of the birthday child to come in and watch their child’s special day be celebrated by their friends (my guy’s school also carries out something of a rather abstract birthday ritual. The child carries a globe round a circle of children as many times as they are years old, whilst they all sing a song about the world. Yeah I’m not sure either, but the kids seem to like it). Said parents are also invited to provide a little treat for the children. I was so excited when I heard about this. What a lovely thing to be able to do and it was definitely something Oscar and I could prepare together. However, as is to be expected, the nursery have pupils with all kinds of specific dietary requirements. Oscar himself eats gluten free and he has a little pal who has a serious broad spectrum nut allergy. Meaning anything we chose to make had to be pretty well thought through. To the Googles!
As Oscar got so many lovely cookie cutters for his birthday, I decided it would be fun to let him try them out. That’s when I found a great biscuit recipe on the American site Momables.com. It was written to be purely gluten free however, I checked with Oscar’s pal’s mum and found the recipe was also completely free of nut contaminants too. Perfect.
I followed the original recipe, which being American, was measured in cups. However, because I’m nice like that, I have converted it to grams here for the baker who favours the scales.
- 200g sugar
- 115g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk (or water)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour already has it, mine didn’t)
- 250g gluten-free plain flour
I use Dove Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour and Xanthan Gum to great effect. You could also add spice such as cinnamon, if you were making these near Christmas
I used my Kitchenaid mixer, but you could do this by hand
- Cream the sugar and butter together
- Add egg, milk, vanilla extract and salt mixing well
- Add flour and xanthan gum if using. Mix at a low speed until well combined. Dough should come together well and not be too sticky.
- Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour
- Preheat the oven to 180c or Gas Mark 5 and cover two baking sheets with baking paper
- Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, as thick as you want. Mine were about 0.25cm.
- Cut out the dough with cookie cutters, and place the biscuits on the baking sheets. Ensure the cookies are not touching.
- Re-roll and re-cut dough until it’s all used
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a cooling rack.
- Cool completely before decorating. If you’re so inclined. They’re lovely with or without decoration
In the end I chose to make all heart biscuits as I reckoned they were a decent size. I got 24 out of this recipe, plus a handful of the smaller shapes you can see Oscar cutting above.
I decided to “decorate” them with a simple water icing. Unfortunately I had to do this when Oscar was in bed, but I totally plan to let him have a go next time! I think I used around 60g of icing sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water mixed to make a smooth paste, runny enough to drizzle. I used a couple of drops of Wilton colouring to get the amazing blue, then just drizzled the icing from the end of a spoon onto the biscuits at an angle. It did take a while to dry though so be factor this in when planning timings.
They went down a treat with Oscar and all his pals. As one of his little friends told her mum “they had blue on them and they were yum”. What more could you ask for?!