When I was a little kid, we would always leave out a treat for Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve. Carrots would often be on the menu for Rudolph and his friends; someone must have decided at some point that reindeer have a diet similar to horses. As for Father Christmas, he would of course be treated to a couple of biscuits, usually of the Arnotts variety, and a glass of milk.
Although I’m sure my parents appreciated the midnight snack as they rushed to wrap presents and sign them off from Santa Claus, these days we pretend that Santa has slightly finer tastes. My younger siblings are given a special packet of “reindeer food” at school (rolled oats and glitter that will be found for days afterward) to scatter outside and Santa is usually left some homemade biscuits or a slice of cake.
This year we’ll be treating Santa to a twist on the traditional shortbread: melting moments. Often found in cafes and restaurants, two shortbread biscuits sandwiched with a lemony filling are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea in the afternoon or a glass of milk at midnight. And best of all, they look impressive, taste much better than the bought variety but are deceptively easy! And I’m sure they will be greatly appreciated by someone on Christmas Eve this year…
Melting Moments, adapted from the Women’s Weekly Wicked cookbook and taste.com.au
For the biscuits:
- 250g unsalted butter, just softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (80g) icing sugar mixture
- 1.5 cups (225 g) plain flour
- 1/2 cup (75g) cornflour
For the filling:
- 60g unsalted butter, just softened
- 2/3 cup (150g) icing sugar mixture
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
- Beat the butter, essence and sugar using an electric mixer until light, very pale and fluffy; stir in sifted dry ingredients in 3 batches.
- Roll two teaspoons of the mixture into balls and place on the prepared trays, allowing 3cm between each biscuit. Using a fork dusted with flour, uses the tines to indent and flatten the balls slightly. Bake for approximately 17 minutes, or until the biscuits are beginning to colour around the outside and the bases are golden brown. Allow to stand on the trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, beat the extra butter and icing sugar mixture in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon zest and juice, and then sandwich the cooled biscuits with the filling. Makes approximately 30 melting moments.