Christmas cookies

(Makes 35)

125g butter,

softened 50g

icing sugar

1 medium egg

1tsp vanilla extract

225g plain flour

225g icing sugar

2½tbsp warm water

Shaped cookie cutters

and sugar sprinkles to decorate

Put the butter in a large bowl beating it until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and beat again. Break the egg into a bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat well.

Add the mixture to the large bowl a little at a time, beating as you go.

Add the flour and stir the mixture until it starts to form dough.

Use your hands to mix.

Wrap the dough in plastic food wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.

Unwrap the dough and put it on to a clean surface. Roll it out and use the cutters to cut out lots of shapes. Bake for 10-12 minutes on two greased baking trays until golden. Leave on the trays for five minutes, then put on a wire rack to cool. For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix it with warm water.

Spread onto each cookie with a blunt knife. Scatter sugar sprinkles on top.

(Recipe from the Christmas Baking Book For Children published by Usborne First Cookbooks, priced £9.99. Available now.

Christmas tree cakes

(Makes 15)

100g self-raising flour

100g soft margarine

100g caster sugar

2 eggs

Paper cake cases,

two baking trays with shallow pans Assorted sweets

50g butter or margarine, softened

100g icing sugar,

sifted Green food dye

Squeeze of lemon juice or a few drops of vanilla essence

Heat your oven to 190C/Gas 5.

Break the eggs into a cup. Sift the flour into a big bowl.

Add the caster sugar, eggs and margarine and stir everything together until you get a smooth, creamy mixture.

Half-fill each case with the cake mixture and bake for about 20 minutes, then leave on a wire rack to cool.

For the butter icing, put the butter in a bowl and stir with a fork until creamy.

Add some icing sugar to the bowl and stir.

Mix in the rest of the icing sugar a little at a time.

Stir in the green food dye a drop at a time until green. Add the lemon juice or vanilla essence.

Spread the butter icing on top of each cake and press the sweets into the icing to make different patterns on the cakes.

Arrange the cakes in a Christmas tree shape, place a star-shaped biscuit at the top and put a chocolate bar at the bottom for a trunk.

(Recipe from 30 Christmas Things To Cook And Eat published by Usborne, priced £5.99.

Available now.