Festive Goodies

I haven’t baked in a while, I have been having withdrawal symptoms to be honest.  But is there any better excuse to bake than Christmas? My parents spent the festive period with us and they do like a sweet treat to have with their endless cups of tea.

I decided to try Gingerbread, I’ve never made this before and its great for dunking in a nice steaming hot cup of tea.  Though the big question is… crunchy or chewy…I thought I’d let the oven decide!

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I used this recipe by Bakerella, which was easy but made loads, I have actually frozen half of the dough for another time (not sure if you can actually do that but only time will tell!)

Gingerbread Men

Ingredients

5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 cup butter, slightly soft
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses

  • Sift flour, soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg and mix until combined.
  • Add molasses and mix until combined.
  • Gradually add in flour mixture and mix until combined and a dough forms.
  • Divide dough into four sections and shape each into a flattened disc.
  • Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  • When ready to bake preheat oven to 350 F degrees (180 C)
  • Roll out each disc between two sheets of parchment paper using a rolling pin.
  • Flour the sides of the paper that will touch the dough to make it a little easier to release.
  • Cut out shapes and remove excess dough to reuse.
  • Leave cut-outs on parchment paper and transfer to cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 8-9 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

The recipe made so many gingerbread men, big and small, I needed to do something with them, so I made Ginger Cupcakes and topped them with the little ‘uns

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Ginger Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

110g Self Raising Flour
110g Caster Sugar
110g Margarine
2 Eggs
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Frosting

225g Icing Sugar
100g Butter
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp Milk

  • Preheat the oven to 160 C
  • Line a Muffin Tin with 12 Muffin or Cupcake cases
  • Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl
  • Add butter and egg
  • Using a mixer beat everything together until fluffy and light
  • Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake in the oven for 20 mins
  • For the frosting beat together the icing sugar, butter and cinnamon until light and fluffy, using the milk to loosen the mixture as required.
  • Once the cupcakes are ready leave them to cool on a rack.
  • Once cool, you can decorate with the frosting which ever way you want!

Next I decided to make Lemoncello cupcakes, I love Lemoncello, reminds me of good times in Italy and it would be a nice break from the other gingery treats!

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Lemoncello Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

110g Self Raising Flour
110g Caster Sugar
110g Margarine
1 tsp baking powder
2 Eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
1 tbsp Lemon Juice

Filling

2 tsp Lemon curd
1 tsp lemoncello

Frosting

225g Icing Sugar
100g Butter
2 tsp lemoncello

  • Preheat the oven to 160 C
  • Line a Muffin Tin with 12 Muffin or Cupcake cases
  • Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl
  • Add butter, egg and lemon juice
  • Using a mixer beat everything together until fluffy and light
  • Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake in the oven for 20 mins
  • For the frosting beat together the icing sugar, butter and lemoncello until light and fluffy.
  • Once the cupcakes are ready leave them to cool on a rack.
  • Whilst cooling mix together the lemon curd and lemon cello to make the filling.  Spoon into a piping bag with a fine nozzle
  • Once the cupcakes are cool, you can ‘inject’ them with the lemoncello curd filling
  • Then you can decorate with the frosting which ever way you want!

And finally… you cant have Christmas without a mince pie or two, but instead of the usual type I spied this recipe by Chef Jae on Preheat The Oven.  Simple, tasty and a little bit different

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Mince Pie Twists

Ingredients

375g ready-rolled puff pastry
200g mincemeat
25g dried sweetened cranberries
grated zest of 1 orange
1 egg yolk

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (180°C fan)/375°F/gas mark 5 and line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  • Combine the mincemeat, cranberries and orange zest in a bowl and set aside.
  • Mix the egg yolk with two teaspoons of water and set aside.
  • Unroll the pastry and make a note of the dimensions (should be about 35x25cm). With the shortest side running parallel to the edge of the work surface, spread the mincemeat filling evenly over the top half of the pastry.
  • Fold the bottom half of the pastry over the filling and re-roll the pastry back to the original dimensions, taking care the filling doesn’t pierce the pastry or squeeze out of the sides.
  • Trim the edges with a sharp knife to make a neat rectangle.
  • Cut the pastry ‘sandwich’ in half lengthways and then in twelve widthways to create twenty-four slices.
  • Take one slice, brush both sides with the egg wash and twist a few times into a spiral then transfer to one of the lined trays.
  • Repeat with eleven of the remaining slices, spacing evenly on the same tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until puffed up and golden all over.
  • Do the same with the remaining twelve slices and arrange on the second baking tray while the first batch are baking.
  • Allow the twists to cool on the tray for a few minutes before serving, otherwise transfer to a wire rack to cool completely then store in an air-tight container.

Needless to say after all this my parents went home happy, full and on a sugar high! I think diets are on the cards for everyone this new year!