120g caster sugar
180g plain flour
1 egg, separated
500g green ready-to-roll fondant icing
50g apricot jam, melted
Green food colouring paste
Edible silver balls, nonpareils and other sprinkles of your choice
Star-shaped cookie cutters in various sizes
2 prepared baking sheets
A disposable piping bag
2 very fresh egg whites
500–600g icing sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Four. Put the butter, sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl. Rub together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, and then add the egg yolk. Bring everything together to form a smooth dough. On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle about 4mm thick. Cut out star shapes in descending sizes. Bring the trimmed dough together and roll out again to cut as many cookies out of the dough as possible. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, with the larger cookies on one sheet and the smaller cookies on another.
Bake the larger cookies in the preheated oven for eight to 10 minutes, and the smaller for four to eight minutes, until golden and firm. Leave to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes or so before transferring to a wire rack until completely cold.
Roll out the fondant icing and cut into stars using the cookie cutters, so that you have fondant stars that correspond in size to the cookies. Brush the cold cookies with the melted apricot jam and position the matching fondant star on top. Push gently to secure, taking care not to break the cookies.
For the royal icing, place the eggs whites and icing sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat for five to seven minutes, until white and thick. Alternatively use a mixing bowl and hand-held electric whisk, beating the egg whites until foamy and then whisking in the sugar. For piping it should hold a solid ribbon trail. If you are not using it immediately, cover with cling film, pressing it into the surface to prevent the icing from drying out.
Tint the royal icing green and spoon it into the piping bag. Outline the cookies with a green line. Decorate the edges of each star with silver balls, gently pushing them into the piped green icing to secure. When the icing is dry stack the cookies on a serving plate, starting with the largest cookies at the base, as positioning as shown. Scatter over some loose nonpareils and sprinkles to finish.
Christmas Cookies to Make and Bake is published by Ryland Peters & Small, £9.99.