These savoury Christmas shortbread are perfect for a bit of festive baking, and could be served at a Christmas party or given as fun edible gifts. Alyn Williams adds his fun festive twist to traditional shortbread biscuits with sage and onion mixed into the dough, and decorates them with a creamy cheese and cranberry mix. If you don't have this cookie cutter then see our guide on how to cut dough using a stencil.
It is always a pleasing moment when a talented apprentice steps out and succeeds on their own terms. After working as Head Chef at Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley for 5 years, Alyn Williams has done exactly that; taking over the Westbury in the autumn of 2011 and quickly winning a Michelin star.
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Place a pan over a medium heat and add oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt, cook until the onions soften and start to caramelise
1 pinch of salt
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 dash of olive oil
Add the sage and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the contents onto kitchen towel to cool
6 sage leaves, finely chopped, or 1/2 tsp dried
1 pinch of pepper
Add the butter and sugar to a bowl. Using a whisk, whip the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Season with black pepper
125g of unsalted butter, softened
15g of caster sugar
1 tsp black pepper
Gradually mix in the flour and a pinch of salt until a ball of dough forms - you may not need all the flour. Add the cooled sage and onion and gently work into the dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes
125g of plain flour, sifted
1 pinch of salt
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1-2cm thick. Use a small Christmas tree cutter to cut out the shortbread, place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and return to the fridge for 10 minutes
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Transfer the shortbread to the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack
Add all of the bauble ingredients to a blender and blitz into a smooth purée. Transfer to a piping bag with a 5mm nozzle
25g of cranberry sauce
150g of half fat medium cheese, finely chopped
1 tsp English mustard
3 tsp low fat cream cheese
Once the trees are cool, pipe little dots onto the 'branches' of the shortbread and serve