Tag: christmas

snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes plus 10 minutes baking

Serves: 30+ cookies

 

Ingredients

225g (1 cup) butter, softened
300g (1 ½ cups) caster sugar
2 eggs, large
1 tsp vanilla extract
350g (2 ¾ cups) plain/all purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

For the coating
3 tbsp caster sugar
3 tsp cinnamon

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Only Crumbs Remain

I’ve had lots of discussions recently about favourite Christmas cookies/treats. For me it’s not Christmas without a mince pie but for a lot of people their go to Christmas cookie seems to be a snickerdoodle. I’d never heard of them (I’m not sure they are a big thing in Scotland) but I like trying new things and they’ve got a great name so I added them to our ever growing list of things to bake this Christmas.

Having never had them before I can only assume that we were successful. This recipe came from Genius Kitchen but looked the same as most others I found so I think they’re authentic. It makes a nice, slightly crispy cookie on the outside, but with a soft centre. The cinnamon/sugar coating gives a tasty Christmasy flavour and certainly made the kitchen smell very festive when they were baking!

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C /170C Fan /350F

Cream the butter and sugar together

Measure the butter (225g) and sugar (300g) and add to a large bowl or freestanding mixer. Mix together until they are nicely combined and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and eggs and mix again.

 

Mix the dry ingredients

Add the flour (350g), cream of tartar (2 tsp), baking powder (1 tsp), and salt ¼ tsp to a separate bowl.

Mix everything together

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and give everything a good mix until you have a nice ball of dough.

Chill the dough

Wrap the dough in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

Make the snickerdoodles

Line 3 large baking trays with baking paper and chill them.

While the dough is chilling, mix the sugar (3 tbsp) and cinnamon (3 tsp) together in a small bowl.

Take small pieces of dough and roll into approximately 1 inch (2 cm) balls. This is a good bit for little kids to get involved in – Hannah does this a lot with playdough so was able to make the balls if I gave her the correct amount.

Coat the balls in sugar. Hannah just rolled them around in the bowl until all sides were covered. Place on the chilled baking trays.

 

Bake the snickerdoodles

Bake the biscuits for 10 minutes. They’re ready when they have turned golden and are a little but crispy on top but still soft inside.


Enjoy!

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Christmas tree brownies

Christmas tree brownies

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes plus 45 minutes baking

Serves: 10

 

Ingredients

275g (1 ¼ cups) softened butter
375g (1 2/3 cups) caster sugar
4 large eggs
75g (5/8 cup) cocoa powder
100g (7/8 cup) self raising flour
100g plain chocolate chips
For the decoration
200g (2 cups) Icing sugar
Green food colouring
Sprinkles

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I’ve seen Christmas tree brownies online and knew I really wanted to make them this festive season. I love brownies (who doesn’t) and this is a really simple way of making them look a bit Christmasy.

We used our favourite brownie recipe so you could use any recipe or a packet mix. Our recipe is delicious and gooey on the inside but a bit crisp on the outside, the way I think brownies should be. It’s also easy to make as you just throw everything into one bowl and mix it all together.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 160 Fan and prepare a 30 x 23 cm baking tin

Get your toddler to grease the baking tin. I normally just tear off a corner of the butter packet or some grease proof paper and use that to spread butter in the tin. Once greased, line the base and sides with baking parchment.

 

Measure out the ingredients

Measure all the ingredients into a bowl. We used a small bowl to weigh everything out in turn and then added them into the mixing bowl. Face the scales towards you so you can see how much is going in and either use a spoon or pour the ingredients in.

Before putting the butter in get your toddler to cut it into small chunks. If it’s slightly softened they should be able to do this with a butter or table (ie not sharp) knife.

 

Mix everything together

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a large bowl with wooden spoons, mix everything together until it is evenly blended.

Add the chocolate chips

The recipe calls for chocolate chips if you don’t have any, you can use 100g of chocolate chopped into small pieces. Add them to your brownie mixture and give it one final stir.

Make the brownies

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, using a spatula spread the mixture gently into the corners and level the top.

Bake the brownies

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. It’s cooked when the top of the brownies have a nice crust or you can stick a skewer in the middle and it should come out clean. If it starts to look a bit brown on top, cover loosely with foil for the last 10 minutes.

Make the Christmas trees

Once it’s fully cooled remove the brownie from the tin. Cut into Christmas tree shapes (ie triangles). I cut along the middle and then cut a zig zag to form roughly even triangles. There’ll be a little but left over at the edges.

Decorate the Christmas tree brownies

Get your little ones to help you mix some icing sugar together with a spoon or two of water until it is a little runny. Add the green food colour and mix until you have a nice even colour.

You want the icing to be runny enough to add to your trees but not so runny that it spreads everywhere.

Using a small piping bag or if you don’t have one a small zip lock bag with a tiny hole in the corner, pipe a zig zag of icing from the top of your tree to the bottom.

Get your little ones to add a star on top of the Christmas tree brownies and some sprinkles before it sets.


Enjoy!

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mince pies

Mince pies

Difficulty: A wee bit harder

Time: 45 minutes + 15 minutes baking

Serves: makes 24

 


Ingredients

375g (3 cups) plain flour
260g (1 1/6 cups) unsalted butter, softened
125g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 large egg, plus 1 beaten egg for glazing
800g jar mincemeat

 

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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.

If you can’t find a jar of mincemeat or just want to make your own, try this recipe from BBC Good Food.

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.

mince pies

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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super simple christmas tree decorations

Super simple Christmas tree decorations

Edible Christmas tree decorations

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes + 10 minutes baking

Serves: 10

Ingredients
75g butter, softened
115g caster sugar
200g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp mixed spice
To decorate
Writing icing tubes

 

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These biscuits are really simple to bake and make great Christmas tree decorations. Little ones will also enjoy getting the chance to decorate the biscuits and see them hanging on the tree.

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C / 170C Fan and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar

Get your toddler to measure the butter and cut into small pieces before adding to your mixing bowl.

Weigh the sugar and add that to your bowl.

 

Using wooden spoons, mix the butter and sugar together until it’s soft and well beaten.

 

Add the rest of the ingredients

Crack the egg into your bowl. Get your child to measure the flour out along with the baking powder and salt, then add to your bowl.

  

Mix everything together

We used our hands to rub it all together and then into a nice ball of dough.


Wrap the dough in cling film and pop it in your fridge for half an hour or so to firm up a bit.

Make the biscuits

Get your child to help you roll the mixture out until it is about 1cm thick. If you do it between two sheets of baking paper it will stop it sticking.


Using Christmas shaped biscuit cutters, cut out different shapes and pop them on your prepared baking tray. Use a straw to pierce the top of each cookie to make a hole for the ribbon/thread.

 

Bake the biscuits

Pop the biscuits in the oven for 8-10 minutes. They’re ready when they are turning golden brown.

Remove the trays from the oven and place the biscuits on a wire rack to cool. If you need to – re-pierce the holes before they harden.

Decorate the biscuits

Give your toddler the writing icing and get them to decorate each biscuit.

Thread each biscuit/Christmas tree decorations with ribbon or thread and hang on your tree.

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christmas biscuits

Christmas biscuits

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes plus 12 minutes baking

Serves: 12

Ingredients
125g butter, softened
40g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour
¼ tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
To decorate
50g each dark and milk chocolate or white chocolate
Sprinkles

 

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These Viennese fingers are buttery, melt in the mouth biscuits. We made them Christmassy with the addition of Christmas sprinkles, but if you swap the green, white and red sprinkles for a different colour you could make them at any time of the year.

Method

Preheat the oven to 170C / 160C fan and prepare a baking sheet

Get your toddler to cover a baking sheet with baking paper.

Mix the sugar and butter together

Get your toddler to measure the butter and sugar and pop them in a bowl or stand mixer. Add the vanilla extract. If your child has a relatively steady hand they could do this on their own. If not, they can just help you.

  
Mix together until the mixture is light and pale. It’ll take a few minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients

Measure the flour into a bowl along with the cornflour, baking powder and salt. Sift it in to your large bowl/mixer and mix together again until it’s smooth and thoroughly mixed.

 

Pipe your biscuits

Get your child to help you spoon your biscuit mixture into a piping bag with a large star shaped nozzle. Pipe tight s-shaped spirals onto your baking tray. I normally do the first few then as the mixture softens it gets a bit easier to pipe so Hannah has a go. I don’t worry too much about shapes she pipes.

  

Bake your Christmas biscuits

If you want your biscuits to maintain their shape, pop them in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking them.
Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes or until they’re a pale golden colour. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes or so then carefully move them on to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely.

Decorate your biscuits

Get your toddler to help break the chocolate into a bowl. We melted ours in the microwave – giving it short blasts until it was all done. Alternatively, you could do it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring it until it’s smooth.


Pour your sprinkles into a bowl. We got some Christmas coloured one from the baking section of our supermarket.
Dip the underside or the end of each biscuit into the chocolate then dip them in the sprinkles. Hannah enjoyed this part, but be warned – it’s a wee bit messy!

 
Let them set on baking paper before serving them.

Christmas biscuits

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yule log

Yule log

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 (1/2 cup) light muscovado sugar
100g (3/4 cup)  self-raising flour
25g (1/4 cup) 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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