The chatter about Christmas has been well upon us since the start of October, so it’s given me quite a lot of time to think about what I like to cook around Christmastime. I tend to always make a Christmas cake at the end of November, albeit a FODMAP friendly version that’s very light on the dried fruit, but not everyone enjoys fruit cake so it’s nice to have an alternative to hand when people come to visit, such as this biscuit Christmas tree.
Initially, this bake might look complicated, but I can assure you, it really isn’t. It’s just layers of decorated biscuit that are stacked on top of one another. I cut my star templates out of different sizes of card and just cut out my biscuit shapes with a knife before transferring them onto a greaseproof-papered baking tray, but you can actually buy star-shaped biscuit cutters in varying sizes that will cut out the different sized biscuits to make this tree.
I really like the visual impact of this stunning biscuit Christmas tree which makes it a real dessert centre point for the dining table after a family meal, but it also tastes great too. The chocolate biscuits are generously decorated with rich dark chocolate, so you really feel as though you’re eating a proper chocolate biscuit and the fruity Skittle ‘baubles’ which adorn the tips of the tree’s ‘branches’ make every mouthful taste like fruity chocolate.
The additional Maltesers which hold each level of the tree up from one another also add a delicious crunch to the biscuit layers, but because Maltesers aren’t vegan you could use vegan marshmallows if you’d prefer. Also Maltesers aren’t gluten-free because they’re made from barley, so although you might get away with eating a couple if you’re on the low FODMAP diet, if you’re celiac you’ll need to use an alternative sweetie, such as marshmallows, to hold the biscuit levels up. Let’s not kid the troops, my friends, this biscuit Christmas tree isn’t the healthiest thing you could eat, but it’s certainly a lovely festive treat to have at Christmastime!
200g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F flour because it’s made with low FODMAP ingredients whereas many other gluten-free flours are made with high FODMAP options.)
100g custard powder
100g caster sugar
A pinch of salt
2 tbsps of cocoa powder
140g butter (or coconut oil)
1-2 tbsps water
100g dark chocolate
A bag of Skittles
A large bag of Maltesers (or vegan marshmallows)
Cut out six paper star templates, ranging from large to small and keep to one side. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Melt your butter and then simply put all of your ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix it all together.
Add as much water as necessary to bring the mixture together into a firm dough and chill in the fridge for an hour.
Once the dough is cold, roll it out between two sheets of greaseproof paper until it is around half a centimetre thick.
Using your templates or star-shaped biscuit cutters, cut out your stars and place them on the baking trays. (You might need to re-roll the biscuit dough to get enough dough to cut out all of the stars.)
Important note! The biscuits are very delicate when they’re freshly baked, but they go hard once they’re cool, so leave them to completely cool down on the baking trays before you remove them.
Bake in the oven for 12-14 mins and then leave them to cool on the baking trays until they are completely cold.
Once they’re cold decorate them with melted chocolate and Skittles and place three Maltesers or vegan marshmallows in the centre of the five largest biscuits.
Once the chocolate has hardened, stack the biscuits on top of each other, from the largest to the smallest, and serve.