I made some christmas cookies this year, and I really liked them (and so did other people). I made some icing too, lemon flavoured. I thought I'd post the recipe. It uses ingredients that should be available in most countries (in Europe and the USA and such, anyway, can't say I have much knowledge about readily available ingredients and food and such anywhere else).
- 125 g butter (unsalted)
- 100 g (dark) brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 heaped teaspoons ground ginger (or use however much you prefer)
- 5 cloves (ground/powdered as fine as you can manage) (or as many as you prefer)
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
- flour (I don't know how much of it I use, but I just add it at the end until the mixture is the right consistency)
and for the icing:
- juice of 1 lemon (or half a lemon, if you prefer)
- 250 g icing sugar
- the white of 1 egg
Preheat oven to about 170°C.
Put the butter and the sugar in a bowl, and beat them together for a while (I use an electronic hand mixer, highest setting).
Add the egg, the honey, the baking powder, a pinch of salt, the ginger and the cloves to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat everything together for a while (again).
Add some flour (dont start with too much), stir that in with a spoon (or use your hands). Repeat this last step until the dough is the right consistency; meaning, until it isn't very sticky anymore, you need to be able to roll out the dough with a rolling pin (or with your hands) to cut shapes out of it without the dough getting completely stuck on the rolling pin (or your fingers).
Cut nice shapes out of the cookies (I like doing stars and moons; I cut the shapes out of some cardboard or whatever, and then put them onto the dough and cut around them with a sharp knife to get the shapes I like). Or just roll flat round cookies, or whatever you like.
Put cookies in oven for about 15-20 minutes.
When the cookies have cooled down entirely, it's time to prepare the icing. Put the white of 1 egg into a bowl. Add the icing sugar a little bit at a time, while beating/whisking with a small whisk. After that, whisk in the lemon juice. Heat the mixture for just a bit (I put it in the microwave for 30 secnds, highest setting). Let it cool a little bit, then beat it with an electronic stickmixer or handmixer, until it's nice and thick (think enough that it won't dribble right off of your cookies before it's dry when you decorate them). If it won't thicken properly, add more icing sugar.
Now put it on your cookies. I use this flask that you can squeeze that has a pretty small opening to 'draw' decorative lines onto the cookies. Icing bags or icing syringes don't work so well for me when I have to make cookie decorations, the stuff just comes out in big blobs and I have to use both hands to operate the things so I can't hold the cookie.... it just doesn't work.
Wait a while (a few hours for me) for the icing to dry (or just eat them while the icing isn't dry yet :D).