Treats Of The Season

29 November 2023 Hints & Tips

1. Christmas Cookies

Christmas cookies with icing on rack

140g icing sugar, sieved
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
250g butter, cut into small cubes
375g plain flour, sieved
To decorate
200g icing sugar, sieved
edible food colouring, optional
edible gold and silver balls
approx 2m thin ribbon cut into 10cm lengths
Tip the icing sugar, vanilla extract, egg yolk and butter into a mixing bowl, then stir together with a wooden spoon (or pulse in a food processor until well combined). Add the flour and mix to a firm dough. Shape the dough into two flat discs and wrap them. Chill for 20-30 mins. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 and line two baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of two £1 coins. Cut out Christmassy shapes (use a cutter if you like) and place on the baking sheets. Using the tip of a skewer, cut a small hole in the top of each cookie. Bake for 10-12 mins until lightly golden.

Lift the biscuits onto a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile, mix the icing sugar with a few drops of cold water to make a thick, but still runny icing. Colour with edible food colouring, if you like. Spread it over the cooled biscuits, decorate with edible balls and thread with ribbon when dry.

2. Gingerbread Cupcakes

A batch of gingerbread cupcakes served on a white cake stand

250g self-raising flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
125g unsalted butter
125g dark brown sugar
100g golden syrup
100g black treacle
2 eggs, lightly beaten
150ml milk
200g unsalted butter, softened
350g icing sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
mini gingerbread men and sprinkles, to decorate.
To make the cupcakes, heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper cases. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside, then melt together the butter, sugar, syrup and treacle in a medium pan over a low-medium heat, stirring until well combined.

Create a well in the dry ingredients, then pour in the butter mix, bringing the flour in from the sides with a fork. Finally, stir in the eggs and milk until smooth. Divide the mix between the cases in the tin and bake for 20-25 mins or until springy to the touch. Allow to cool for 10 mins in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the buttercream, beat the butter until soft, then add the icing sugar along with the ginger in two batches, beating until well combined. Pipe or dollop the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes. Decorate with mini gingerbread men and sprinkles.

3. Christmas Blondies

christmas blondies

Cooking spray
180g butter, softened
200g granulated sugar
90g packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
240g all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8 Oreos, crushed
1/2 cup M&M's
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to gas 4 and grease a baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat until just combined. Fold in Oreos, M&M’S, and chocolate chips.

Press batter into prepared pan and bake until golden and still slightly soft in the middle, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let cool completely before slicing into squares.