“I usually use the cookie press to make these, because I find they look particularly festive in little wreath shapes,” says food writer Anja Dunk.

“If you aren’t so keen on icing you can sprinkle each biscuit with a little demerara sugar before baking – this adds a pleasing crunch and caramel note to the cookie.”

Shortbread from Advent by Anya Dunk
Spiced Christmas shortbread from ADVENT by Anja Dunk (Anja Dunk/PA)
Shortbread from Advent by Anya Dunk
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Christmas spiced shortbread
Amount Per Serving
Calories 47 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 5mg2%
Sodium 9mg0%
Potassium 7mg0%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 63IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 5mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Christmas spiced shortbread

This festive batch of cookies will keep you going for a while.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: Snack, Tea-time
Cuisine: British
Servings: 100 cookies
Calories: 47kcal
Author: Anja Dunk


  • electric mixer
  • Baking sheets


  • 275 g plain all-purpose flour
  • 50 g cornflour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 50 g ground hazelnuts
  • 250 g unsalted butter room temp, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 175 g soft light brown sugar
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground anise or drop of anise extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk for glaze
  • 100 g icing sugar sifted
  • 25 ml just boiled water


  • Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F and line two baking sheets with nonstick baking parchment.
  • Put all the ingredients into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat to a soft, pliable dough on a low speed for a couple of minutes. (If making by hand, put both flours, the ground almonds and ground hazelnuts into a large bowl, then work the butter in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix through the sugar, salt and spices. Add the vanilla extract and milk, and bring the dough together with your hands. Knead for three minutes until pliable.)
  • If using a cookie press, select your preferred shape, then stuff the dough into the top. Hold the press over a prepared baking sheet and click the handle to release one cookie. Repeat this process, placing each cookie one centimetre apart to allow for spreading.
  • If using the mincer method, choose the desired attachment and place your dough in the funnel. Crank the handle with one hand, holding the other hand just below the spout to support the dough as it comes out. When the dough protrudes by six centimetres, cut it off and place it on a baking sheet. Repeat this process, spacing the biscuits one centimetre apart, until both sheets are full. Bake for eight to 10 minutes until just golden.
  • If you don’t have a mincer or cookie press and are making the biscuits by hand, take small, walnut-sized pieces of dough and roll them into sausage shapes around five centimetres long. Place them two centimetres apart on the sheets. Press a fork gently into the top edge of each biscuit and drag it down the length of the dough, flattening and lengthening it as you go. Bake as above, but allow at least 10 minutes (hand-formed biscuits tend to be thicker and so take longer to bake).
  • While the biscuits are baking, put the icing sugar into a bowl, pour in the just-boiled water and mix vigorously until a glossy glaze forms.
  • Allow the cooked biscuits to cool for a minute before transferring to a wire rack. Using a pastry brush, glaze each biscuit while still warm. Repeat the whole process again with any remaining dough. Store in an airtight container for up to four weeks.


Calories: 47kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 7mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 63IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

Advent: Festive German Bakes To Celebrate The Coming Of Christmas by Anja Dunk is published by Quadrille. Photography Anja Dunk.

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