I have to admit I have never made Christmas biscuits before, but recently the little home cook in me thought why not after all it is the festive season. So I decided upon making some 'robin biscuits' with the ingredient of the moment, the seasonal cranberry.
Cranberries are deep crimson in colour and are related to the blueberry, but unlike its cousin the cranberry is quite a tart and sharp tasting berry, so it is not to everyones taste. Cranberries have always been valued, but it only over the past ten years, the cranberry has gained worldwide popularity, particularly for its juice. There are a number of health claims which suggest that it can help to prevent urinary-tract infections, gum disease and stomach ulcers, and may even help to protect against heart disease and cancer.
Unlike other berries such as the strawberry and raspberry, the cranberry is quite robust and can last in the fridge for at least two weeks. The reason it is long lasting is because the berries contain large amounts of benzoic acid, a natural preservative. As cranberries are a seasonal berry and only available during the winter season, I would recommend to anyone to freeze some as they will keep up to nine months. Then they can be used directly in recipes without thawing. Cranberries make delicious muffins.Now back to my biscuits, although I have a lot of biscuit and cookie cutters, including Christmassy themes ones, I did not have a robin one, so in the style of a 'Blue Peter' child I made a template of rocking robin from an old Christmas card, cut it out and then used it to carefully to cut around the rolled out dough.
I know these are not the most professional looking of Christmas biscuits, but as a home cook I am pretty chuffed with them. In the future, I think I would stud the belly of the robin with a mix of white chocolate chips and chips; or even coat the whole robin biscuit all in dark chocolate and then stud the belly with cranberries.
As you can see below I originally submitted this recipe to the Weekend Herb Blogging event, but I have been encouraged by Nicisme of Cherrapeno who is hosting the December Sugar High Friday (an event created by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess) to submit it as the theme of Holiday Sweet Treats.
I am submitting this recipe to the lovely Haalo who is hosting this weeks Weekend Herb Blogging#214. WHB is a weekly food blog event showcases information and recipes about herbs, vegetables, fruits and other plant ingredients. WHB was initiated 4 years ago by Kalyn's Kitchen, it is now organized by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once. Please note that Weekend Herb Blogging will be taking a break for Christmas and the New Year and will resume on January 4th 2010 when Haalo will be hosting again.
Finally, please remember to feed and water the 'real' birds over the winter season.
Cranberry (belly) Robin biscuits
Find a reliable biscuit recipe and make according to instructions, use a robin biscuit/cookie cutter and cut out required number. Then stud the eye and belly with fresh cranberries that have been cut in half and bake according to recipe instructions.