Cranberry, Orange and Pistachio Biscuits

Monday, 19 December 2016

Six days until Christmas and of all my shopping is done, wrapped and looking pretty and isn't that just the best feeling? I'm quite often running around during the week before Christmas trying to find something for that one awkward person who you have totally no idea what to buy so I'm pretty happy that I've been on it this year. I finish up work on Friday and then I'm off for a week and a half so I am really looking forward to that. I'm going to go on lots of long walks, eat all the Christmas food and spend plenty of evenings snuggled up watching movies. 

I actually want to get real with you guys for a sec here because for a long time Christmas really scared me. All that unhealthy food, having to eat in front of lots of people and constantly thinking about how much exercise I needed to do to burn it all off. It really did ruin it for me but it can be so difficult to get out of that mindset and actually allow yourself to enjoy it. Since going vegan earlier this year I feel like my relationship with food has improved a lot. Yes, sometimes I still get anxious about eating out or not being able to get to the gym, but on the whole, I feel so much better about what I am eating and have stopped restricting myself and labeling foods as 'good' or 'bad' because nothing good ever came from doing that. Christmas is a time to spend time with the people you love, relax a little and eat a whole lot of delicious food. Please don't deprive yourself of that because you are scared. Don't listen to those negative thoughts eating away at you. Embrace it, enjoy it and do not feel bad about it. You 100% deserve to enjoy yourself and to not feel guilty about indulging a little. Eat all those mince pies and love every second. My blog post this month for my friends over at T Plus was on this topic so if you want to read a bit more about it then head over to their website. 

And onto the recipe - I first made this one last year, before I was vegan, but it was shortbread rather than biscuits. Turns out baking vegan shortbread is really bloody hard and despite using the same recipe and trying it a few times, I kept baking biscuits rather than shortbread. It's okay though because the flavours are so good that it doesn't really matter. They taste so Christmassy, the slightly sour cranberries give a little kick alongside the festive spices and sweetness from the orange. I just love them, even if they aren't shortbread as intended. 

P.s, if you know the secret to baking vegan shortbread then please do let me know! 

You will need (makes 14): 
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup dairy free spread (I use vitalite)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup pistachio kernels
zest of 1 orange + juice of half the orange 

- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Finely chop the cranberries into little pieces and roughly chop the pistachios. Zest the orange and set all these ingredients aside while you prepare the biscuit mixture.
- Add the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice and sugar to a large bowl and mix together. Add in the spread and rub in using your hands. The mixture should begin to resemble breadcrumbs as it combines.
- Add the cranberries, pistachios, orange zest and juice of half the orange and mix together using your hands, being careful not to overwork it.
- Put the mixture out onto a floured surface and roll out using a floured rolling pin until it's around 1cm thick. Cut out biscuits using a cookie cutter and then place these onto a lined and greased baking tray. The mixture should make around 14 biscuits.
- Place into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. 

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