My rule for when you're allowed to get excited about Christmas is this: As soon as the months start ending in 'ember' your'e allowed to get excited about Christmas (I'm very much aware that October is there sitting arrogantly between September and November making my rule a little less than perfect...but I deem it close enough!)
Anyway, it's DECEMBER now, so baking nicely spiced biscuits with cranberries and lemon peel is very much an appropriate and timely activity.
What's even more exciting is that I realised when making these that I had no butter, so I checked for a butter-to-olive-oil conversion chart on the internet and voila! These have no animal products, not all that much sugar, and good old wholesome olive oil! They are also appropriate for reindeer and any oversized men who get stuck in your chimney.
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp treacle, plus a little extra if your dough really isn't sticking together when you roll it
1/2 tsp mixed spice,
1/2 tsp cinnamon,
lemon peel from one lemon
lemon juice from 1 - 1 1/2 lemons
1 1/2 tsp water
1/2 tsp bicarb
pinch of salt
splash of vanilla extract
What to do
Preheat your oven to 170˚C
Mix the flour, oats, sugar, coconut, mixed spice, salt, cinnamon, cranberries and lemon peel in a big bowl.
Warm the olive oil gently in a saucepan over low heat. Add the treacle and stir until it has all dissolved. Take the saucepan off the heat and add the bicarb soda. It'll bubble up a little, don't worry, it's fun! Add the vanilla essence and lemon juice to this and stir to combine.
Pour your olive oil/treacle mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, and stir until thoroughly combined. Add a little extra treacle or a bit more lemon juice if it still looks dry.
Roll the mixture into little balls (use around 1 Tbsp of mixture per ball), put them onto a lined baking tray, and flatten them down with a fork. They might crumble a bit, but that's ok, you can eat the crumbs later!
Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Mine took quite a while but they're pretty hard to overcook. Just keep an eye on them until they go golden brown on top and then they're done!