If any time of the year is about indulging in food, it has to be Christmas. With the weather often dark and dreary, and work and school slowing down for many, it is the perfect time to treat yourself.

Of course many Brits will sit down to a traditional roast dinner on December 25. But it’s not just about the dinner.

Desserts and sweet treats are also an important part of the festive season. So why not give a new recipe a try this year?

In her 2008 book, Nigella Christmas, Nigella Lawson shares her favourite chocolate cookie recipe. Via her website, she describes them as “meltingly gorgeous”.

And if you’re not the most confident when it comes to baking sweet goods, don’t worry. The TV chef says they are a “doddle to make”.

Nigella said: “I love these dark, fat patties of chocolate shortbread exuberantly topped with festive sprinkles.

“There’s something so cheering about the sight of them, but they have more in their favour than looks: they are a doddle to make, and meltingly gorgeous to eat.”


To make approximately 24 cookies you will need the following ingredients:

  • 250g soft butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 300g plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • One teaspoon baking powder.

And for the “festive topping” you will need:

  • Two tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 175g icing sugar
  • One teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Christmas sprinkles.


To make the cookies, start by lining a baking sheet with baking parchment and preheating the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas mark three/325F.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl and, when you have a light, soft, whipped mixture, beat in the 40g/one-third cup cocoa powder (which will need sieving if it is lumpy) and, when that’s mixed in, beat in the flour with the bicarb and baking powder.

“Or just put everything in the processor and blitz, if you prefer,” Nigella added.

She said: “This mixture is very soft and sticky and I find it easiest to form the biscuits wearing my CSI (disposable vinyl) gloves, so pinch off pieces about the size of a large walnut, roll them into balls, then slightly flatten into fat discs as you place them, well spaced, on your baking sheet; you should get about 12 on at a time.”

Bake each batch for 15 minutes. They will come out feeling soft but don’t worry, they will continue to cook as they cool.

Nigella said: “They will look slightly cracked on top, and it’s this cosy, homespun look I love.”

Remove the baking sheet to a cold surface and let it sit for 15 minutes before transferring the biscuits to a wire rack, with a sheet of newspaper under it (to catch drips while topping them).

For the topping – put the cocoa powder, icing sugar, vanilla extract, and 60ml or ¼ cup of just-boiled water into a small saucepan and whisk over a low heat until everything’s smoothly combined. Take off the heat for 10 minutes.

When the biscuits are cool, you need to drizzle each one with a tablespoonful of chocolate glaze.

After you’ve iced six biscuits, scatter with some of the Christmas sprinkles, and continue thus until all the biscuits are topped.

“If you ice them all before sprinkling, you will find the cocoa “glue” has dried and the sprinkles won’t stick on,” Nigella said.

You can store them in an airtight container between sheets of parchment paper.

They can also be frozen in sealable bags or rigid containers for up to three months.