Christmas Biscuits Three Ways

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We made it!  Just 4 more sleeps until Christmas – can you believe it?  I’m already nackered from running around doing that final food shop (…I still managed to forget a couple of things.  Do you think my in-laws will mind going without milk in their tea for a couple of days…?) and wrapping those last couple of presents.  I’m feeling pretty organised and chill about it all, how ’bout you?  Are you sorted… or stressed?  Have you still got a couple of people to buy for?  Well, I got your back.  If you’re looking for a couple of easy handmade gifts then you can’t go wrong with a jar of Chilli and Red Pepper Jam, these fuss-free Chocolate Truffles or, why not bake a box of some Christmas Biscuits?

I make a big batch every year for family and friends to scoff with a cuppa when they stop by over Christmas – but I get bored of making the same sugar cookies, so this year, I decided to fiddle around with the base recipe and come up with a few alternative flavours including Cinnamon, Maple and Pecan and – my personal favourite – Pistachio.  Yum! 🙂

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Christmas Biscuits – Three Ways

Cinnamon

  • 200g Plain Flour (including a little extra for dusting)
  • 75g Caster Sugar
  • 50g Butter
  • 1 Egg, whisked
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Maple and Pecan

  • 150g Plain Flour (including a little extra for dusting)
  • 50g Pecans, finely ground
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 50g Butter
  • 1 Egg, whisked
  • 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Pistachio

  • 100g Plain Flour (including a little extra for dusting)
  • 100g Pistachios, finely ground
  • 75g Caster Sugar
  • 50g Butter
  • 1 Egg, whisked
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  1. In a bowl, cream together your butter and caster sugar, then beat in the egg (and any other wet ingredients, e.g. Maple Syrup).  Stir in the dry ingredients (flour, nut flours, baking powder and salt) until they pull together into a dough. 
  2. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours (this will make the dough easier to roll and hold its shape when it bakes).
  3. When you’re ready to start baking, set your oven to 170 and line a couple of baking trays with grease proof baking paper.  I like to set up a bit of a production line and work in batches, cutting the dough in half, working with one half and leaving the other in the fridge to cool until I’m ready to use it.
  4. Roll out your dough with a little flour (you might need more for the Maple and Pecan dough – which tends to be stickier – and less for the Pistachio dough – which tends to be drier).  Roll out the dough until it’s about a cm thick, then cut into shapes.
  5. Bake the biscuits for about 10 minutes, then leave to cool.
  6. Decorate with chocolate icing, then scoff!

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Well, that’s me done until 2019!  Nadolig Llawen (Merry Christmas)!  Hope you have the best time ever with your favourite people (and pets!).  ❤

Christmas Jaffa Cake… Cake

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Bye bye November!  Hello December – which means Christmas isn’t just around the corner anymore; it’s literally on the block.  Maybe you’re ready for it, or maybe you’d prefer to just shut the curtains and pretend you’re not at home.  I might not be anywhere near ready (I say I’m going to be more organised every year and every year I fail), but I’m definitely ready for the food. Am I ever not ready for food? 😉

I haven’t baked a cake in a while and seeing as it’s the first of December tomorrow I fancied making something a little bit festive.  So, I decided to make a giant Jaffa Cake.  It’s a plain sponge threaded with orange jelly (which makes the cake really moist) and decorated with candied oranges and chocolate.  Yum!

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Jaffa Cake Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 200g Butter
  • 100g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Pack of Orange-flavoured jelly
  • 100g Chocolate
  • 25g Hazelnuts

For the candied Oranges:

  • 2 Oranges cut into slices
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200ml water
  1. Grease a 20cm cake tin and set your oven to 180°.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar.  Stir in the eggs, then fold in the flour and baking powder.
  3. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes (or until an inserted skewer comes out clean).  Put to the side and allow to cool.
  4. While the cake’s cooling, get started on making your candied orange slices.  First, cut your oranges into slices that are about half a centimetre thick.  Bring a deep saucepan of water to the boil and soak the orange slices for 3 minutes until the peel is soft.  Have a bowl of cold water ready, and drop the slices in there to cool.  Heat up a saucepan with the sugar and water – don’t be tempted to stir, leave it until the sugar all dissolves and then add the blood orange slices.  Let them simmer in the sugar water for 30 minutes, making sure you soak both sides, then put them on a sheet of baking paper and leave to cool.
  5. Next, use a skewer to poke holes in the cake (make sure you leave a gap in the centre and try not to poke all the way through to the base otherwise you’ll get a soggy bottom!).  Mix up your orange jelly as per the instructions on the pack and then slowly pour the mixture over the cake, concentrating on the holes you made.  Pop the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours for the jelly to set.
  6. Decorate the surface of the cake with the candied oranges, melted chocolate and hazelnuts (add a little orange zest if you want a little more zing!). 🙂

Have a lovely weekend!

Chocolate and Praline Dipped Madeleines

I’ve made (and scoffed) Madeleines more than a few times.  They’re so easy to make and are the perfect kind of tea cake to stick out on a plate whenever you’ve got someone coming over for elevenses (they’re made to be dunked!).  Traditionally they’re flavoured with lemon, but since it’s Christmas I thought I’d do something a little more fancy pants.  These ones are dunked in melted chocolate and then sprinkled with praline and a little bit of edible glitter (if you can’t use glitter at Christmas, then when can you?).  I’d never made praline before and to be honest it took two attempts; I made the mistake of stirring the sugar as it was heating and it crystallized in the saucepan and looked like snow.  Oops!  How many times have I rolled my eyes as Bake Off contestants make exactly the same mistake?!  Typical!  I got it the second time round though and had more than enough left over.  It’ll be jazzing up my porridge over Christmas I think!  😉

Chocolate and Praline Dunked Madeleines

Ingredients

  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g self raising flour
  • A splash of milk
  • 100g butter melted (and a little extra to grease the tin)
  • 100g chocolate (I used milk, but I bet dark chocolate would be even better!)
  • 100g chopped hazelnuts
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 50ml water
  1. Preheat the oven to 200° and grease the madeleine tin with a little butter.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and the caster sugar in a bowl until combined and frothy.
  3. Pour in the melted butter (be careful if it’s still hot – if you pour it in too quickly you’ll get scrambled eggs!), and then stir in the flour.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tray – about a desert spoonful for each madeleine mould should do the trick.  Leave them to rest for about 10 minutes before you whack them in the oven.
  5. Bake for around 10 minutes until the madeleines have risen and cooked through.  Leave the madeleines to cool while you work on the toppings.
  6. To make the praline, scatter the chopped hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes until golden.  In a saucepan, heat the sugar and water together on a low heat until it caramelizes (don’t stir!).  Pour the caramel over the roasted hazelnuts and leave to cool.  Once it’s cooled, smash it with a rolling pin.
  7. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, then dunk the tips of the madeleines. Once they’re all coated in melted chocolate, dunk them into the praline to coat the melted chocolate tip. Leave to set, then scoff! 🙂

Have a great week everyone!  Hope the final run up to Christmas hasn’t got you too stressed! X

Chocolate Orange Welsh Cakes

Now that we’re officially a week into December (coupled with the fact that it actually snowed this morning!  Not for long… but still!) I declare it officially safe to bring on the Christmas baking.  I’m easing you in gently though with these Chocolate Orange flavoured Welsh Cakes.  I LOVE Welsh Cakes, not only because I’m Welsh and it’s practically criminal not to love them, but also because they’re so easy to play around with!  If you’re not a fan of the traditional mixed fruit filling, then just swap it out with something you fancy – like chocolate! 🙂

Bonus Bungle snap 😉  Isn’t he handsome?

Chocolate Orange Welsh Cakes

Ingredients

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 50g caster sugar (+20g for dusting)
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g chopped pieces of orange-flavoured chocolate
  • 110g butter/margarine (+ a little extra to grease the pan/skillet)
  • 1 large egg
  • a splash of milk if the dough is too dry

1. Sift together the dry ingredients into a bowl, then rub in the butter/margarine (get in there with your fingers and rub until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs).
2. Stir in the chocolate.
3. Mix in the egg until the dough comes together (if it’s too dry, add a splash of milk).
4. Roll out and cut into rounds.
5. If you haven’t got a skillet, a greased, level frying pan will do; cook the cakes for 3 minutes on each side (low heat), or until golden brown.
6. While still warm, sprinkle with a little caster sugar and then scoff!

Have a great weekend everyone! x

Christmas Gingerbread Cake

Are you sick of food yet?  No?  Me either.  I had a whole Terry’s Chocolate Orange for breakfast yesterday whilst watching The Life of Brian and it was quite possibly the best breakfast I’ve had all year.  🙂  Anyway, if you’re like me and your hunger for all things sweet knows no bounds (even at Christmas!) you’ll have eaten a fair bit of cake over the past week.  I made this Gingerbread Cake in the week leading up to Christmas because I knew I’d be pushed for time to bake when the big day arrived (since I was hosting this year – but more on that later).  It was the first time I’d ever made a cake ahead of time and frozen it, and d’you know what?  I was pretty chuffed with how it turned out!  So much so that I might freeze all my cakes in future.  If you’re not a fan of the traditional Christmas iced fruit cake, then this is a sweet alternative.

Christmas Gingerbread Cake

Ingredients

  • 100g Golden Syrup
  • 100g Light Brown Sugar
  • 175g Butter
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 250ml of Milk
  • 350g Self Raising Flour
  • 3 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • (Plenty of Buttercream and Sprigs of Rosemary to decorate)

Method

  1. Melt the syrup, sugar and butter in a pan until combined then set aside to cool.
  2. Beat together the eggs and milk.
  3. Beat the cooled syrup into the milk and eggs (make sure it’s cool enough else it’ll scramble your eggs!)
  4. Sift and fold in the flour, baking powder and spices.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased cake tin and bake at 180° for around 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. If you’re freezing the cake wrap it tightly in cling film as soon as it’s hot enough to handle.
  7. Once completely cooled (or defrosted!) – slice the cake into three layers.  Sandwich with buttercream and lightly cover the sides and top to create a “naked cake” style icing.  Decorate with a crown of rosemary to finish 🙂