These biscuits, cut into festive shapes, have become a staple at Messy Christmas. To decorate, follow the Messy rule: no icing too bright, and there’s no such thing as too many sprinkles.


  • 175 grams soft unsalted butter
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 400 grams plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

To make the dough

Beat the butter and sugar together, and then add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the mixture and fold in until you get a soft dough. If it’s too sticky then add a little more flour but it shouldn’t be too stiff.

Divide the dough in two and wrap each piece in clingfilm. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour – it will last in the fridge for a few days quite happily, and can also be frozen and used later.

To make the biscuits

Preheat oven to 180ºC/160°C Fan/gas mark 4/350ºF

Roll out the dough on a floured surface using a floured rolling pin until about 1/2cm thick.

Cut out biscuits and place on baking sheets (these biscuits don’t spread too much when baking, but still leave gaps between them)

Bake for around 10-12 minutes until the edges are golden.

Ice and decorate when cool. (300g icing sugar made up with a little hot water – add a few teaspoons at a time, you need a lot less water than you think – will make plenty icing. Add food colouring if wanted.)

This recipe was originally taken from Nigella Lawson’s book How to be a Domestic Goddess

This post is part of our online “Advent calendar”, taking us through to Christmas. You can see all the posts here.

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