Christmas Treats

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Which mouth-watering treats are your guilty pleasure at Christmas…? With the help of our friend and food blogger Jo Brigdale, we’ve created a menu of treats to enjoy at this magical time. Follow Jo’s easy recipes below and let us know how your bakes and makes turn out in the comments below.

Mini Christmas Cakes

These are adorable little Christmas cakes, which are easy to make, and ideal to give as gifts. I make mine in baking cups (strong cupcake cases) but normal cupcake cases would be fine too. I have made mine using a stand mixer but a large mixing bowl and an electric hand whisk would work too.

Ingredients (makes 12)

For the cake

  • 150g softened unsalted butter
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 325g dried mixed fruit with peel that has been soaked in 75ml of brandy
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup

For the decoration

  • 2-3 tablespoons smooth apricot jam, with 1 teaspoon of warm water added to it
  • 500g white fondant icing
  • 100g green fondant icing
  • 25g red fondant icing
  • Icing sugar for dusting

Method

In an airtight container, add the fruit and brandy and mix well. Leave the sit in the container for as long as you can but at least overnight.

Place the baking cups into a cupcake tray. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until combined.

Add in the eggs and mix until light and frothy.

Add in the lemon and orange zest, golden syrup, mixed spice and the flour and mix gently combine.

Finally finish by adding in the fruit that has been soaking.

Put the cake mix into the baking cups and flatten out the top as best as you can. The cakes will cook in about 40-50 minutes but keep an eye on them as it depends on your own oven. When a knife inserted into the middle of them comes out clean, they are ready. Leave them to cool.

Once the cakes are cool, brush the top of them with some of the jam and water mix. Then roll out the white fondant icing. Use a cutter to cut circles out of the icing and place on the tops of the cakes.

Next, roll out the green fondant icing and make your holly leaves then make your berries out of red fondant. Stick them to the top of cakes using a little bit of water and a brush.

Your cakes will keep in airtight container at room temperature for at least a month so why not get ahead start for Christmas!

Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread Christmas Trees

These biscuits are versatile and can be cut into any shape you like. My boys love eating these especially when they are dipped in chocolate or covered in glace icing. You could put them on the tree if you add a hole at the top before baking. Cooking time will depend on the size of the cookie cutter that you use.

Ingredients (makes 10-30 – depending on size of cutter)

  • 225 g self-raising flour plus extra for dusting
  • 2-3 tsp ground ginger (depending on how much ginger you like!)
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 100 g soft dark brown sugar
  • 100 g golden syrup
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • 200g melted milk chocolate (for dipping)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Sift the flour, ginger and baking powder into a large bowl.

Put the butter, sugar and syrup into a pan and heat gently, stirring occasionally until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beat the egg and milk together and stir in the cooled butter and sugar, then pour the contents of the pan into the dry ingredients and stir to form a soft dough.

 

Transfer onto a piece of greased cling film and wrap tightly, then refrigerate for 1 hour, until firm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to around 3 mm thick. Cut out biscuits using a Christmas tree cutter or whatever shape you like and place onto a lined baking tray.

Cook for about 8 min but check before to see if they are going darker at the edges. It depends on the size of the cutter you use as to how long they will take to cook. If they are dark at the edges, they are ready. They will go hard though until you take them out of the oven to cool.

Once the biscuits are cool, dip them into the melted chocolate and place back on the greaseproof paper to set. Once set, these will be happy in airtight container for a few days but they do not usually last that long in my house!

 

Red Onion Chutney

This is a simple chutney that is easy to make and great to give as a gift. It goes perfectly with leftover roast meats, a cheeseboard and my cheese palmiers.

Ingredients (makes 2 jars)

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 350g red onions, peeled and finely sliced into half moons
  • 350g brown sugar
  • 350g red wine vinegar

Method

In large saucepan, place the oil and allow to heat up. Add in the onions and gently fry until the onions are soft and translucent. This takes about 20 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, add in the brown sugar and the red wine vinegar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix well and allow to simmer away, stirring occasionally for 30-40 minutes until the chutney has a jam like consistency.

Place the hot chutney into sterilised jars and allow to cool before putting on the lid. Keep until Christmas for your cheese and wine parties or give as a gift to a loved one.

Cheese Palmiers

These are posh but easy to make treats, which are great as a gift or ideal for a festive cheese and wine evening.

Ingredients (makes 20)

  • 1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry, taken out of the fridge ½ an hour before use
  • 100g cheddar
  • 25g parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons dried herbs
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Roll out the pastry so it is in landscape view in front of you. Cover with both types of cheese and sprinkle one-half with the mixed herbs and the other with the paprika. This gives it a festive colour scheme.

Roll up one edge of the pastry into the centre, and then repeat with the opposite edge to meet in the middle. Place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Cut into 20 slices, place on a baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Allow to cool and then serve. These will keep for a few days in an airtight container or can be frozen.

We hope you enjoy making these festive treats! Don’t forget to post a comment below telling us how your bakes and makes turned out. 

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