Tag: a wee bit harder

raspberry and chocolate brownies

Raspberry and chocolate brownies

 

Difficulty: A wee bit harder

Time: 30 minutes + 35 minutes baking

Serves: 25

Ingredients

300g milk/dark chocolate
250g (1 cup) pack butter
400g (2 cups) soft light brown sugar
4 large eggs
140g (1.25 cup) plain flour
50g (1/2 cup) cocoa powder
200g (1 cup) raspberries

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Chocolate brownies

Chocolate brownies

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Chocolate muffins

chocolate cake

Chocolate cake

 

 

 

Brownies are a great thing to make with kids because they’re so simple: you mix everything in one bowl recipes, pour in a baking tray and pop in the oven. These are a little harder than my usual brownies because you have to melt the chocolate in a pan first, but they make a tasty alternative and are still loads of steps for your kids to get involved with.

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 20×30 cm baking tin with baking paper.

Melt the chocolate, butter and sugar

Get your kids to break the chocolate into pieces and put into a small pan. Measure the butter and sugar out and add to your pan.

  

Heat over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally until it is fully melted, then remove from the heat.

Add the eggs

Break the eggs one at a time into a small bowl or cup and add to your melted chocolate mixture.  Stir the eggs in, one at a time.

Add the flour and cocoa

Get your kids to measure the flour out and add to a large bowl. Measure in the cocoa. We did this through a sieve to get rid of the lumps (but be warned it can get really messy so keep a close eye on it!)

raspberry and chocolate brownies raspberry and chocolate brownies

Add the chocolate mixture to your flour and stir it in.

raspberry and chocolate brownies raspberry and chocolate brownies

Add the raspberries

Stir half the raspberries into the bowl.

Bake the raspberry and chocolate brownies

Pour the raspberry mixture into your prepared baking tin. Get your child to scatter over the remaining raspberries. Make sure they spread them out as much as possible. Ours were a little to clumped together which meant those bits didn’t cook very well.

raspberry and chocolate brownies raspberry and chocolate brownies

 

Bake for 30-35 minutes. It’s ready when the top has crisped up but it still has a little wobble. Cook it a bit longer if you want a firmer texture.

Cool in the tin, then remove and cut into squares.

Enjoy! These raspberry and chocolate brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days (if it lasts that long).

raspberry and chocolate brownies

 

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lemon bundt cake

Lemon bundt cake

Difficulty: A wee bit harder

Time: 30 minutes plus 4 minute baking

Serves: 12 slices

Ingredients
3 lemons
250g (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups caster sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk*
*(You can use a tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar in cup of whole milk instead of buttermilk)

For the glaze
2 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp buttermilk
2 cups icing sugar

 

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We had a craving for something sweet but a bit lighter, so found a recipe for a delicious looking lemon bundt cake on ‘Simply Suzanne’s’ website. We’ve made a few tweaks to make it easier for little chefs to follow but it still makes the same tasty, moist, light and lemony cake as the original.
If lemons aren’t your thing, this also works with other citrus fruits – orange bundt cake would also be delicious!

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C / 170C Fan and grease and flour a bundt tin

Prepare the lemons

I did this part myself as I don’t really like the kids using the grater, but if you have older kids they could help you. Zest and juice the lemons into two separate dishes. (If you zap your lemons in the microwave for 15 seconds or so you should get more juice out!)
Mix the zest with 3 tbsp of lemon juice and set aside.
Leave the rest of the lemon juice for later.

Mix the butter and sugar

Get your child to measure out the butter (250g) and sugar (2 cups). If the butter isn’t already soft/room temperature pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to make it easier to mix.

 

Add them to a large mixing bowl or freestanding mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix for a few minutes until it is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides with a spatula if you need to.

 

Add the eggs

Get your toddler to break the eggs into a small bowl, while you separate the final egg and add just the yolk. Give the eggs a quick whisk.


Turn the speed on your mixer and add half the eggs, mix for 15 seconds or so then add the remaining eggs. Mix together until it is well combined.

Prepare the dry ingredients

Get your child to help you measure out the flour (3 cups) into a separate bowl. While they are doing that add the baking powder (1 tsp), bicarbonate of soda (1/2 tsp) and salt (1 tsp).

Prepare the remaining wet ingredients

Add the buttermilk (3/4 cup) and vanilla (1 tsp) to the lemon/lemon zest mixture and give it a little mix.

 

Add the dry and wet ingredients to your mixing bowl

Turn your mixer speed down and add half the flour mixture. Mix for a few seconds then add half the buttermilk mixture and mix again. Repeat this process with the remaining flour/buttermilk and continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated.

Bake the lemon bundt cake

Spoon the cake batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes. It’s ready when the top is a light golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

Keep an eye on it from about 40 minutes to make sure you don’t over bake it.

Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes.

Prepare the lemon glaze

Add the lemon juice (2-3 tbsp) and buttermilk (1 tbsp) to the icing sugar (2 cups) and whisk it until it is smooth. Add more lemon juice if you need to – you want the mixture to be pourable but still thick enough so it doesn’t all run off the cake.

Glaze your lemon bundt cake

Turn the cake out of the pan and on to a wire rack. Put the rack over baking sheet to make it easy to tidy later.

Get your child to help you pour half the glaze over the cake and leave it to cool for an hour or so. After an hour, pour the remaining glaze over the cake and let it all cool to room temperature.

lemon bundt cake lemon bundt cake

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Double chocolate smarties cookies

Difficulty: A wee bit harder

Time: 30 minutes + 15 minutes baking

Serves: 12

Ingredients

50g unsalted butter
300g dark chocolate
2 eggs
170g soft light brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
150g flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 pack Smarties

 

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These double chocolate smarties cookies were inspired by some we’d made from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook a few weeks ago. I’d never really made cookies before that but have decided they are my new favourite bake so figure it’s not too soon to make some more! To make them a bit more colourful/fun/child friendly we added some Smarties to the top.

Apart from melting the chocolate and butter these are really simple to make with lots of steps your kids can help with. Dolloping the cookie mixture on the baking trays and adding(/eating) the smarties were both a hit in our house!

Method

Preheat your oven to 170C/160C Fan and line 2 baking trays with baking paper
Melt the butter and chocolate

Start by getting your toddler to help you break 200g of the chocolate into small pieces. Pop it into a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure you don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.


Weigh out the butter (50g) and cut it into small pieces. Add it to your bowl.

 

Allow it to melt slowly, stirring it occasionally (or let you child stir it if you trust them near the cooker.)
Mix the eggs and sugar
Get your kids to weigh the sugar (170g) into a small bowl. If you have a freestanding mixer, add your sugar or just put it in a large mixing bowl.

 
Break the eggs (2) into a small bowl to check for shell, then add it to your sugar. Add the vanilla extract (1/2 tsp). Or get your child to if they have a steady enough hand.


Using your paddle attachment, a hand held whisk or wooden spoons, mix everything together.


Add the melted chocolate and butter mixer. Continue mixing everything on a slow speed until it is thoroughly combined.


Add the dry ingredients
Get your child to measure the flour into your small bowl. Help your child add the baking powder (½ tsp) and salt (½ tsp). Add to your chocolate mix a little at a time, mixing after each addition (we did it in 3 batches).

  

Roughly chop the remaining chocolate into small pieces and add to your mixture. Give it a final stir until it is evenly distributed.
Make the smarties cookies
Dollop 6 equal(ish) amounts of cookie mixture onto your baking trays. Lewis helped me with this, and I just evened up each cookie. Make sure the cookies are spaced apart as they’ll spread a little in the oven.


Add some Smarties to the top of each cookie. Your kids will can press them gently into the mixture (and probably enjoy a few along the way!)

 
Bake the cookies
Pop your baking trays in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them after they’ve been in for 10 minutes. They’re ready when the tops start to crack and they look glossy.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays for a few minutes before putting them on a wire rack to cool completely.

 Double chocolate smarties cookies

If you liked these smarties cookies why not try these chocolate chip cookies

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Monkey bread

Difficulty: A wee bit harder

Time: 1 hour + 2 hours proving + 35 minutes baking

Serves: 12

Ingredients

For the dough
200ml milk
85g (3/8 cup) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
550g (4 1/3 cups) strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2.5 tsp fast action dried yeast
50g (1/4 cup) golden caster sugar
Oil, for greasing
To assemble
125g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
225g (1 cup) light muscovado sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
140g pecans
For the glaze
100g (1 cup)icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
Pinch of cinnamon
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

I’d never heard of monkey bread until recently but Hannah loves to watch J House Vlogs (a channel on You Tube) and they’ve made it a few times. It looked delicious even though I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, so when I found a recipe in an old BBC Good Food magazine I knew we were going to make it.

If, like us you’ve never heard of it, it’s like a tear and share cinnamon bun loaf. It’s truly delicious and a great centre piece for a special occasion so thank you J House Vlogs for introducing us to this tasty treat!

On paper it looks like it takes a long time to make, especially if you’re doing it with little ones. You can break it down in to a few different steps – the first one is making the dough, and the second forming the balls that make up the bread. You can also make it the day before and let the dough prove in the fridge overnight. Just bring it out the fridge 45-60 minutes before you bake it.

If you can find ready made dough (from the fridge section) you can get a head start using that.

Method

Start with the dough

Melt the butter and milk in a pan
Get your child to measure the butter (85g) out and put it in a pan.

Pour the milk (200ml) out into a jug (use the ml setting of your digital scales if you have them). Add that to the butter then heat over a low/medium heat until the butter has melted and the milk is at a simmer. Take off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

 

Meanwhile, get your toddler to crack the eggs into a small dish and give them a quick whisk.

 

Add the eggs to the milk/butter mixture and give it a whisk.

Mix the dry ingredients together
Measure the flour (550g) and sugar (50g) out then add to a large bowl. If they are able to, get your little one to help measure the yeast (2.5 tsp), and add a pinch of salt into the bowl.

  

Make the dough
Add the liquid to the flour mixture and stir until it is a sticky dough.

Leave for 5 minutes then tip out on to a lightly floured work surface. Get your children to help you knead it for 5-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and stringy. This is a good step to get everyone involved in, even really little chefs!

We cheated a little and used our freestanding mixer, with the dough hook at to give the dough a head start for a few minutes before doing it by hand. 10 minutes of kneading feels like a long time when you are a toddler so I like to cut it short if I can.

 

Let the dough prove
Oil a large bowl then add your dough and leave to prove somewhere warm for around an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Assemble the bread

Grease a 25cm bundt tin with butter.

Get your toddler to scatter the pecans out on a baking tray and then pop them in the oven for 5-8 minutes at 180C/160C Fan. Once they are toasted, chop them up.

While the pecans are toasting, get your child to measure out the butter and put it in a pan to melt.

Measure the sugar (225g) into a medium bowl. Add the spices (1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1tsp nutmeg). Give it a mix.

  

Get your child to spoon 2 tbsp of the melted butter, 3 tbsp of the spiced sugar, and 4 tsbp of pecans into the bottom of the tin.

Pull the dough into approx 65 small pieces (we didn’t count this, we just did it roughly). Get your child to help you roll them into balls.

 

Take a few balls at a time, dip them into the melted butter, let the excess drain off, and then tip them into the spiced sugar. Roll them around to coat, then put them in the tin. Keep going until you have a full layer of balls in the tin.

 

Scatter over the remaining pecans, then carry on filling the tin with the remaining balls.

Tip any leftover sugar and butter over the dough.

Leave to prove
Cover the tin with oiled cling film then leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or so or until it has risen and the dough doesn’t spring back if you poke it.

At this point you can also pop the dough in the freezer for up to a month or in the fridge overnight, just let it come up to room temperature before you bake it.

Bake the monkey bread

Heat your oven to 180C/160C Fan.
Bake the monkey bread for 35 minutes. It’s ready when it has risen and turned golden.

Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then give it a sharp knock on the counter to loosen it from the tin. Leave to cool in the tin until it is just warm.

Make the glaze
Mix all the glaze ingredients together (100g icing sugar, ½ tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp milk, pinch of cinnamon, 2 tbsp melted butter). It will thicken a bit as it cools.

Turn the monkey bread out onto a plate and get your child to drizzle over the glaze and allow to set.

monkey bread

If your kids enjoyed making this monkey bread, then they might also like making shaped dinner rolls or hot cross buns.

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Banana upside down cake

Difficulty: A wee bit harder

Time: 45 minutes + 45 minutes baking

Serves: 8

Ingredients

Topping
1 cup brown sugar
85g unsalted butter
2-3 bananas

Cake
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 medium sized bananas)
½ cup buttermilk*
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
* You can make a buttermilk substitute by adding 1 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice plus milk to make it up to a cup.

We had some spare bananas so rather than making more banana bread like we always do I found a recipe for a banana upside down cake. The kids enjoyed chopping the bananas and organising them in the baking dish as well as all the mixing, measuring (and sampling!)

This recipe originally came from an what I assume is an American blog called sprinkle some sugar so rather than using scales most of the measurements are in cups. The caramelised banana topping is delicious on top of a tasty, moist banana flavoured cake so the next time you have some bananas turning black, why not try this.

Method

Preheat oven to 180C and prepare your baking tin
Get your toddler to grease a 23cm round baking pan. Don’t use a loose bottomed tin like we tried as our topping started oozing out the side as soon as it went in the pan. We swapped to a solid oven proof pie dish and that worked well.

Make the topping
Get your child to measure out the butter (85g) and sugar (1 cup) and pop them into a small pan. Heat it slowly, stirring occasionally until it’s all melted and come together. Put the mixture into the bottom of your pan and press it down.

  

Meanwhile, peel and chop the bananas into 0.5-1cm pieces. This was a good bit for both the kids to help with. Even the littlest cooks can help peel bananas, and it doesn’t matter if all the bananas aren’t exactly the same size so it’s a good way to practice cutting skills.

Arrange the bananas to the top of your butter/sugar mixture – this will ultimately be the top your cake.


Make the upside down cake

Combine the dry ingredients
Get your toddler to measure the flour (1.5 cups) out into a cup and add it to a large mixing bowl or freestanding mixer.

If your little one is able to get them to add the baking soda (1/2 tsp), baking powder (1 tsp) and pinch of salt to the flour. If they don’t have a steady enough hand, just let them help you level the top of the spoon before adding it.

 

Measure the sugar (3/4 cup brown sugar and ¼ cup caster sugar) into a cup and then add to the flour.

Give it all a mix.

Add the wet ingredients
Get your kids to peel and mash the bananas. We weren’t too precise about how much we used. 2 bananas is about right (minus any that gets eaten along the way!). Add to your mixing bowl.

Pour the buttermilk into a cup (1/2 cup) and add to the bowl. Do the same with the oil (1/3 cup). Add the vanilla extract (1/2 tsp).

 

Finally, get your toddler to crack the eggs into a small bowl before adding to your mixing bowl.

Stir everything together until everything has combined and there are no more lumps.

 

Bake the upside down cake
Pour your mixture into the baking dish on top of the cut bananas.

 

Pop in the oven and bake for approx 45 minutes. It’s ready when it’s browned and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs).

Leave the cake to cool for a few minutes and turn out onto a large plate or platter. Don’t wait too long or the caramelized sugar will stick to the pan.

The upside down cake best served warm with custard or ice cream and will keep for a few days in an airtight container.

banana upside down cake

If you like bananas you might also like this banana bread or this banana and blueberry loaf.

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Rainbow cupcakes

Difficulty: A wee bit harder

Time: 45 minutes + 25 minutes baking

Serves: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, softened
120ml whole milk
1 egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Food colouring

For the vanilla frosting
250g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter, softened
25ml whole milk
A few drops of vanilla extract
Sprinkles

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The kids love making cupcakes so I’ve been looking for new ways of making them a bit different. I saw some fun rainbow cupcakes on pintrest and thought the kids would enjoy them (or just make a colourful mess of the kitchen!) They were easier than I thought to make – just find your favourite cupcake recipe, and add some colour before you put them into the cupcake cases. We used all the colours in the rainbow but you could use just a few and they would still look good.

We used food colouring we had in the house but it turns out not all were suitable for baking so faded a bit. The best ones to use are good quality pastes or gels like these Wilton ones. I think we’ll have to get some the next time we are in Hobbycraft!

Method

Preheat the oven to 170C and prepare your baking tray
Get your little ones to fill a muffin tray with paper cupcake cases.

Mix the dry ingredients together
Get your child to measure the flour (120g) into a small bowl then add it into a mixing bowl or freestanding mixer.

If they are able to, get your little one to spoon the baking powder (1.5 tsp) into the mixing bowl. If they don’t have a steady enough hand yet, let them help you level it off before adding it in. Add the pinch of salt.
Add the butter (40g) to the mixing bowl. Your wee one can help measure this out. If it’s not soft enough, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds, just so it mixes easily.

  

Mix everything together using your paddle attachment, (or a handheld whisk or wooden spoons) until it is a sandy consistency.

Add the wet ingredients
Measure the milk (120ml) into a cup or measuring jug. The best way to be accurate is to use the ‘ml’ setting on digital scales if you have them.

Get your little one to add half the milk to your flour mixture, and beat it together until it has just incorporated.

 

Break the egg into a small dish. Doing it this way, is a good way to let your little one practice without worrying about the shell. Add it to the remaining milk.

Get your little one to add the vanilla extract (¼ tsp)to the milk and give it all a little whisk.

Pour into the flour mixture and give it all a good mix until everything it is well mixed into a nice, smooth batter.

 

Make the cupcakes
To make the rainbow cupcakes, divide the batter mixer into 6 small bowls (or however many colours you are using). Add a few drops of colour to each bowl and give it a mix until the colour has incorporated.

   

Get your little ones to spoon a dollop of each colour into each paper case. Don’t worry too much about how even the colours all are – Hannah and Lewis just had fun make a colourful mess! Give the edges of your baking tray a little wipe before you put them in the oven if there is a lot of batter mess.

 
Bake the rainbow cupcakes
Pop the cupcakes in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t go too brown on top. They ready when the sponge bounces back when you touch it or if a metal skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven, leave them to cool slightly in the baking tray then turn them out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the icing
Get your toddler to measure the icing sugar (250g) out into a small bowl. Add it carefully to your mixer.

Measure the butter (80g), soften it if you need to for a few seconds in the microwave. Add it to your mixer.

Mix everything together slowly at first and then on a medium setting until the butter and sugar come together.

While it’s mixing, get your little one to measure the milk (25ml) out into a cup or measuring jug. Add a few drops of vanilla extract.

Slowly add the milk to your icing mixture, stirring it all the time. Once the milk has been incorporated turn the speed up to a high speed and mix it for a few minutes.

The longer you beat it, the lighter and fluffier the icing becomes.

Spread it on to your cupcakes with a spoon or palette knife. Get your little ones to add some sprinkles on top of your rainbow cupcakes for a nice finishing touch.

rainbow cupcakes

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Chocolate chip cookies

Difficulty: A wee bit harder

Time: 30 minutes + 10 minutes baking

Serves: 24 cookies approx

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

225g (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
350g (2 cups) soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
400g (3 1/3 cups) plain flour
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g (1 cup) dark chocolate.

 

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Double choco-smarties cookies

Jammy heart biscuits

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got a new cookbook for Christmas from the Hummingbird bakery. There are loads of delicious looking recipes in it so I’m planning on using it a lot over the next few weeks/months. So while most people are starting their New Year’s diets Hannah and I were making a big batch of chocolate chip cookies!

Method

Preheat the oven to 170C and line your baking trays with greaseproof paper

Mix the butter and sugar
Get your child to measure the butter (225g) and sugar (350g)out then add to a mixing bowl or freestanding mixer. Mix them together using the paddle attachment or a hand held mixer (or wooden spoons) until the sugar and butter are light and fluffy.

  

Add the eggs and vanilla extract
Get your child to break the eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl. Add them to your bowl, mixing it a little between each addition.

Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and get your child to help you measure the vanilla extract (1/2 tsp) into the bowl. Let them use the spoon on their own if they are able to, or help them and steady their hand while you pour if you need to.

 

Add the remaining ingredients
Measure the flour (400g) into a small bowl. If your child is able to, get them to help measure the salt ( ½ tsp) and bicarbonate of soda (2 ½ tsp) into the flour. Add these into your large bowl.

Mix everything together until you have a smooth dough. If you need to, use a spatula to scrape the mixture down from the sides of the bowl.

Get your toddler to add in the chocolate pieces to your dough mixture.

 

Give it one last mix so that everything is nicely combined.

Form the chocolate chip cookies
Using a spoon (or as Hannah preferred – your hands) add 6 dollops of dough mixture to each of your baking trays. These cookies spread a lot while baking so leave as much space between each cookie as possible.

  

Bake the cookies
Pop them in the oven for roughly 10 minutes. They’re ready when the edges have turned golden brown and they’ve flattened down.

Leave them on the baking trays to cool slightly, then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.

chocolate chip cookies

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Mince pies

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 45 minutes + 15 minutes baking

Serves: makes 24

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

375g plain flour
260g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 large egg, plus 1 beaten egg for glazing
800g jar mincemeat

 

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Yule log

Snowman cupcakes

Gingerbread men

Snowflake shortbread

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wouldn’t be Christmas without mince pies. So far this year we’ve made about 4 batches and I think there is probably time for some more! We use a jar of mincemeat but you could make your own. Don’t be put off making your own pastry, it’s not as hard as you think, although you could use shop bought shortcrust pastry if you wanted.

Method

Make the pastry
Get your toddler to weigh the flour (375g) out and put it in a large mixing bowl. Measure the butter (260g) and cut into small pieces before adding to your bowl.

  

Rub together until it looks like breadcrumbs.

 

Get your child to measure the sugar (125g) and add to the bowl. Crack the egg into the bowl.

 

Mix everything until it’s coming together then tip out onto a lightly floured surface. Fold until the pastry comes together – try not to over mix, as soon as it happily forms a ball you’re done. Wrap the pastry up in cling film and pop it in the fridge for 15+ minutes or so.

 

Pre-heat the oven to 220C/200 fan.

Make your mince pies
Lightly flour your work surface then get your toddler to help you roll the pastry out to 3mm thick.

 

When you’re rolling it out, be sure to turn it 90 degrees between turns – it helps to stop it sticking to your work surface, and also ensures you get an even thickness. When it gets a bit bigger, roll it round your rolling pin before rotating it to stop it tearing.

Use a round cutter (about 10cm) to cut out 24 bases and place them gently into muffin trays. Put a tbsp or so of mincemeat into each base.

.

 

Re-roll the pastry and either use another round cutter to cut some lids (7cm) or if you have stars like we do use them. I prefer using stars as they look nice and Christmassy and I also think it’s a nicer ratio of mince pie meat to pastry.

 

Get your toddler to crack an egg into a small dish. If you are using a full lid brush the edges of your mince pies with a little egg before placing the lids on and pressing them down to seal. You don’t need to worry about the egg at this point if you are using stars.

Use the egg to glaze the tops of the mince pies. If you are using a full lid, cut little slits in the middle.

 

Bake your mince pies
Bake them for 15-20 minutes. They’re ready when they are golden brown and bubbling.
Remove your tray from the oven. Cool the mince pies on a wire rack. I find it easier to remove the mince pies from the muffin tray before while they’re still hot.

mince pies

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Yule log

Difficulty: A wee bit harder

Time: 30 minutes + 10 minutes baking + 10 minutes icing

Serves: 8

Ingredients
Butter, for greasing
5 eggs
140g light muscovado sugar
100g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder
caster sugar, for dusting
For the icing and filling
285ml carton double cream
450g fondant chocolate, (we used a mixture of regular chocolate and Lindt Lindor)
icing sugar, for dusting

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What’s more Christmasy than a Yule log? I’ve never actually got round to making one before but have always wanted to. This year Hannah and I (with a bit of help from Daddy and Lewis) gave it a go using a nice easy recipe from BBC Good Food. It was delicious – a definite centrepiece for your Christmas table!

Method

Preheat your oven to 190C/fan 170C and prepare a swiss roll tin.
Get your toddler to butter and line the base and sides of a 30 x 35cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper.

 

Separate the eggs
If your child is older they may be able to help with this. Hannah is a bit young, so I did this step while she measured out the sugar.

Separate your eggs into two bowls. Pop your egg yolks straight into a stand mixer/mixing bowl.

Whisk the eggs and sugar
Get your toddler to weight the sugar into a bowl, then add to your egg yolks along with 2 tbsp of water.

 

Whisk the eggs and sugar using stand mixer or electric whisk until the mixture has thickened, is light in colour and leaves a trail when the whisk is lifted. It took us about 5 minutes.

 

Add the flour and cocoa powder
Get your child to measure out the flour and cocoa powder. Sift them into the eggs/sugar. Fold in very carefully using a metal spoon or your whisk blades.

 

Whisk the egg whites
Clean your whisk/stand mixer (we had to put the cake mixture into a different bowl.) Add your egg whites and whisk until they are stiff.

Add them to your cake mixture, folding it in a third at a time, again using a metal spoon/your whisk blades. Try and keep as much air in as possible while thoroughly mixing the whites in. We probably didn’t mix it enough as there were still a few lumps of egg white – we didn’t notice that while we were eating it though!

 

Bake the cake
Get your toddler to pour the mixture into your prepared tin and spread to the edges.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cake feels firm to the touch.


Put a large piece of baking paper on to your work surface, sprinkle with caster sugar then turn the cake out on top. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to cool completely.

Trim a little cake from all the edges to neaten it up, then score along the edge of one of the long sides of the cake. Get your toddler to help you roll it up from there, using the paper to help you, rolling the paper up inside the cake. Do it as tight as you can.

Make the icing and filling
Pour the cream into a small pan and bring to the boil.

While the cream is warming get your toddler to help you break 400g of the chocolate up. Remove the cream from the heat, then add the chocolate. Stir it until it has melted and smooth.

 

Leave it to cool, then chill it until it is spreadable – about an hour.

Cut up the remaining chocolate,

Spoon a third of the icing into a bowl with the chocolate pieces then stir together to make the filling.

Form the yule log
Carefully unroll the yule log, then spread all the filling over to within 2cm of the edges. Roll up the cake again using the paper to help guide you, then set on a board or serving plate.

Cut a thick diagonal slice off one end of the yule log. Spread a little icing over cut side of the small piece of cake and fix it to the large roll to make a stump. Spread remaining icing over the cake, then dust with icing sugar to serve.

 yule log

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Sticky toffee pudding

sticky toffee pudding

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 1 hr + 15 minutes baking

Serves: 6

Ingredients

For the puddings
225g whole Medjool dates
175g boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g self-raising flour, plus extra for greasing
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
85g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
140g demerara sugar
2 tbsp black treacle
100ml milk

For the toffee sauce
175g light muscovado sugar
50g butter, cut into pieces
225ml double cream
1 tbsp black treacle

 

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Rhubarb struesel crumble

 

 

Sticky toffee pudding is one of my favourite winter warmer puddings. I always seem to make it when the weather turns a bit colder and the nights start to get dark. Some versions I’ve had a drier and ‘cakier’ than this one, but this bbc good food recipe most definitely lives up to its sticky toffee pudding name! Serve it with custard, cream or ice cream.

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180C / 160C fan.

Prepare the fruit
Get your toddler to help stone the fruits and chop them into small pieces. Pop them in a bowl, then pour the boiling water over them and leave to soak for around 30 minutes until they have softened and the water has cooled. Get on with the next few steps while you’re waiting.

  

Prepare the pudding dishes
Get your child to butter 6 dishes (pudding dishes or ramekins work). Coat the butter in flour. Hannah, spooned flour into each dish and shook them around until all the butter was covered. Make sure they’ve covered everything so the puddings don’t stick. Tip any excess out. Put them on a baking tray.

 

 

Make the sticky toffee puddings
Measure the flour into a small bowl. Add the bicarbonate of soda.

Get your child to break the eggs into a separate bowl and give them a whisk.

  

Measure the sugar and butter into a large bowl. Beat them together (we used wooden spoons) for a few minutes until the mixture is slightly creamy (although it will still be grainy because of the sugar).
  

Add the eggs, a little at a time, mixing all the time.

Spoon the treacle in and mix it well.

Measure the milk into a jug ready to add to the mixture.

 

 
Add a third of the flour to the bowl and fold it in gently using a metal spoon. Continue mixing gently, and add half the milk, then a third more of the flour, the rest of the milk and the last of the flour. Be careful not to over mix.

Add the vanilla to the dates and mash a little with a fork. Add the dates to the bowl(and the water they were soaking in.) Give one last mix. It’ll look a bit curdled and wet but that’s fine.

 

 

Spoon the mixture evenly into each of your prepared dishes.

 

 

Bake for 20 minutes or so until they have risen and are firm.

 

 

Make the toffee sauce
While your puddings are cooking, get your toddler to measure the sugar and butter out, then add to a small saucepan. Add half the cream.

Bring to the boil over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the treacle, turn the heat up and let it bubble away for a few minutes until it is a rich toffee colour. Stir it occasionally so it doesn’t burn.

 

 

 

Take the pan off the heat and add the rest of the cream.

Serve and enjoy!
Take your sticky toffee pudding out the oven, leave to sit for a few minutes then use a small palette knife to loosen the edges then remove from their tins.

Drizzle over the sauce, and eat immediately. Or you can leave them to sit for a few days covered in sauce to become even tastier and stickier!

If you do this, pour half the sauce in an oven proof dish, pop the puddings on top then pour the rest of the sauce over. Cover with foil. To reheat them simply put them in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling.

 

 sticky toffee pudding

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