8 Donna Hay Christmas biscuit recipes to decorate, gift and enjoy

Festive baking have never been simpler – or more delicious – thanks to Donna Hay’s Christmas biscuit recipes. Here are eight showstopping ideas to make this year.

Basic gingerbread cookie dough

MAKES 1 QUANTITY

125g unsalted butter, softened
90g light brown sugar
230g golden syrup
375g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, sifted
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice

1. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 10-12 minutes or until pale and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the syrup, flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and mixed spice. Beat until a smooth dough forms.

DONNA’S TIPS See individual recipes for how to roll out, cut and bake the gingerbread treats. If the dough feels too soft at any stage, you can refrigerate it for a few minutes before continuing. Freeze any leftover dough, wrapped in clingfilm, for up to 2 months.

christmas biscuit recipes
Chris Court

Gingerbread heart garlands

MAKES 8

1 x quantity basic gingerbread dough (see above)

Step 1 Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of nonstick baking paper to 5mm thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. 

Step 2 Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 2.. Line 2 large baking trays with nonstick baking paper. Using a 3.5cm heart-shaped cutter, cut 80 hearts from the dough, re-rolling as necessary. Using the tip of a 3mm round piping nozzle, cut a hole in the top of each heart. Place on the trays and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden and dry to the touch. Allow to cool completely on the trays. Thread on to string or ribbon to hang. 

DONNA’S TIP This recipe is designed to make 8 x 10-cookie garlands, but you can choose to make and hang them whichever way you like. 

Spiced brown sugar cookies

christmas biscuit recipes
Chris Court

MAKES 36

320g icing sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
335g plain flour
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
120g unsalted butter, softened
175g light brown sugar
115g golden syrup
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Step 1 Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Line 2 large baking trays with nonstick baking paper. Place the icing sugar and 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix to combine and set aside. 

Step 2 Place the flour and the remaining 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the ginger, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda. Mix to combine and set aside.

Step 3 Place the butter, sugar and syrup in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 3 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Roll 1 tablespoon portions of the dough into balls and place on the trays, allowing room to spread. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden and slightly cracked. Transfer to wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Place the biscuits in the spiced icing sugar and gently toss to coat. Return to the racks and allow to cool completely before serving. 

DONNA’S TIP These will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week. It helps to place nonstick baking paper between the cookies to ensure they don’t stick together.

Rocky road

christmas biscuit recipes
Chris Court

MAKES 6 LONG BARS

1kg dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
130g sweetened dried cranberries
200g store-bought marshmallows
250g store-bought Turkish delight pieces
50g coconut flakes
140g shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped

Step 1 Line a 25cm x 32cm slice tin with nonstick baking paper. Place the chocolate and oil in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. 

Step 2 Place the cranberries, marshmallows, Turkish delight, coconut and pistachios in a large bowl and mix to combine. Reserve and set aside 250ml of the melted chocolate. Add the remaining chocolate to the rocky road mixture and stir to combine. Spoon the mixture into the tin, pressing down gently to spread it to the edges. Pour the reserved chocolate over the top and spread evenly with a palette knife. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set. 

Step 3 Remove the rocky road from the tin and slice into long bars to serve. 

DONNA’S TIP Store the rocky road in a cool, dry place for up to 1 week. Wrap bars in paper and tie with ribbon to make sweet edible gifts.

Basic vanilla snap cookie dough

MAKES 1 QUANTITY

125g unsalted butter, softened
110g caster sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour, sifted

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 6-8 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for a further 2-3 minutes or until well combined. Add the flour and beat until the mixture just comes together to form a smooth dough. 

DONNA’S TIP See individual recipes that follow for how to roll out, cut and bake the various vanilla snap cookies.

Vanilla star wreaths

christmas biscuit recipes
Chris Court

MAKES 4

1 x quantity basic vanilla snap dough (see above)
icing sugar, for dusting

Step 1 Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of nonstick baking paper to 3mm thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. 

Step 2 Preheat the oven to 140C/gas 1. Line 2 large baking trays with nonstick baking paper. Trace 2 x 14cm circles on to each sheet and turn the paper over to prevent any pencil marks transferring. 

Step 3 Using an 8cm star-shaped cutter, cut 28 stars from the dough, re-rolling as necessary. Arrange 7 stars around each circle, overlapping the tips to create wreath shapes. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely on the trays. 

Step 4 Dust with icing sugar and tie the wreaths with string or ribbon to hang. 

DONNA’S TIP Store wreaths in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days and hang them on Christmas Eve.

Chocolate-chip gingerbread cookies

christmas biscuit recipes
Chris Court

MAKES 24

100g dark chocolate, chopped
1 x quantity basic gingerbread dough (see recipe above)

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 2½. Line 2 large baking trays with nonstick baking paper. Add the chocolate to the basic dough and gently mix to combine. Roll 1-tablespoon portions of the mixture into balls and place on the trays, allowing room to spread. Flatten slightly and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely on the trays, before serving.

DONNA’S TIP Paired with a glass of milk, these cookies make the perfect treat to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve. You can bake them ahead of time and keep in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.

Chocolate cookie Christmas tree

christmas biscuit recipes
Chris Court

MAKES 1 TREE

1 x quantity basic vanilla snap dough (see recipe above)
25g cocoa powder, sifted
icing sugar, for dusting

ICING

80g icing sugar, sifted
2 tsp boiling water

Step 1 Follow the dough recipe, adding the cocoa with the flour. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of nonstick baking paper to 3mm thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. 

Step 2 Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 2 1/2. Line 2 large baking trays with nonstick baking paper. Use 12cm, 11cm, 10cm, 9cm, 8cm, 7cm, 6cm, 5cm, 4cm and 3cm six-pointed star-shaped cutters to cut 3 stars of each size from the dough, re-rolling as necessary. Place on the trays and bake for 10 minutes or until dry to the touch. Allow to cool on the trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

Step 3 To make the icing, place the sugar and water in a small bowl and mix until smooth. 

Step 4 Stack the stars from largest to smallest on a serving plate, securing each one with a little of the icing. Dust the tree with icing sugar to serve.

DONNA’S TIP Cookie cutters in various shapes and sizes are available to buy from homeware shops, cake-decorating stores and online.

Spiced vanilla reindeer

reindeer biscuit
Chris Court

MAKES 32

1 x basic vanilla snap dough (see recipe, above)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice

ICING

80g icing sugar, sifted
2tsp boiling water

Step 1 Follow the dough recipe, adding the cinnamon and mixed spice to the flour. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of nonstick baking paper to 5mm thick and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

Step 2 Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 2 1/2. Line 2 large baking trays with nonstick baking paper. Using a 7cm deer-shaped cutter, cut 32 shapes from the dough, re-rolling as necessary. Place on the trays and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely on the trays.

Step 3 To make the icing, place the sugar and water in a small bowl and mix until smooth.

Step 4 Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a 2mm round nozzle then pipe a nose and three tail spots on each deer to decorate. Allow to set before serving.

Lemon and vanilla snowflakes

christmas biscuit recipes
Chris Court

MAKES 25

1 x quantity basic vanilla snap dough (see recipe, above)
1tbsp finely grated lemon rind
160g icing sugar, sifted
1tbsp boiling water

Step 1 Follow the basic dough recipe, adding the lemon rind with the egg.

Step 2 Roll out the dough between 2 sheets on nonstick baking paper to 3mm thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

Step 3 Preheat the oven to 140C/gas 1. Line 2 large baking trays with nonstick baking paper. Using assorted snowflake-shaped cutters, cut 25 shapes from the dough, re-rolling as necessary. Using the tip of a 2mm round piping nozzle, cut a hole in the top of each snowflake. Place on trays and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely on the trays.

Step 4 Place the sugar and water in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 2mm round nozzle and pipe on to snowflakes to decorate. Allow to set before threading with string or ribbon to hang.

christmas biscuit recipesBuy Donna’s Christmas book with 20% off

Christmas Feasts and Treats by Donna Hay is published by Fourth Estate, price £20. To order a copy for £16 until 8 December, call 01603 648155 or go to mailshop.co.uk; p&p is free on all orders. 

Visit donnahay.com.au for ideas, recipes, inspiration and more

Recipes: Donna Hay. Styling: Steve Pearce.