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I wanted to share three easy, festive baking recipes that the kids and I have enjoyed during the Christmas break so far. This time of year always brings with it the seasonal excuse to over indulge in a little more sugar than we’d like to admit to – and I certainly let myself off the hook. You can’t beat the smell of Christmas spices wafting through the house from the hot oven – nor the giggles you inevitably have as the children lay on gallons of icing and silver balls to decorate your carefully cut-out cookies! These recipes are perfect for whipping up on a lazy afternoon over the coming holidays. The children can get involved on any level, from the mixing, the sprinkling – or simply just the eating!

Spiced Iced Cookies

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300g plain flour
150g light brown sugar
quarter tsp of salt
150g cold butter (diced)
2 tsp ground mixed spice
1 large egg (beaten)
300g royal icing sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180oC and line 2-3 baking trays with parchment. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and rub together with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the mixed spice and the beaten egg and bring together with your hands into a firm dough. Chill this mixture for at least 15 minutes. Roll out on a floured worktop (about half a centimetre thick) and cut out your chosen shapes. Place the cookies on to the baking trays and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer on to a wire rack and leave to cool. To ice, mix the royal icing with the lemon juice and stir until thick and glossy. Use a spoon or a piping bag to top your cookies with the icing mixture.
Peppered Shortbreads

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200g softened butter
100g caster sugar
260g plain flour
40g rice flour or ground rice or cornflour
a good pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of ground mixed peppercorns
2 tablespoons of demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 170oC. Beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in the caster sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Sift in the flour, rice flour and the salt, and work everything together with your hands until combined into a dough. Shape the dough into a large sausage shape about 20cm long and roll this in the mixture of crushed peppercorns and demerara sugar to coat it. Save the remaining peppered sugar for later. Wrap the dough in clingfilm, twisting both ends to secure it and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. When firm, remove the dough from the clingfilm and cut into 20 cookies with a sharp knife. Sprinkle with the left over pepper-sugar and bake them on a lined tray for about 20 minutes, until just starting to colour around the edges.
Baked Nutmeg Donuts

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125g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 a nutmeg, freshly grated
1 large egg
60g soft light brown sugar
60ml milk
60g greek yoghurt
1tsp vanilla extract
30g butter (melted)

recipe adapted from sally’s baking addiction

Preheat the oven to 180oC. Grease a 6-hole donut tray well. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and set aside. Whisk the egg, sugar, milk, yogurt and vanilla together and mix with the dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter and mix everything together well. Fill the donut moulds about three quarters full – and bake for 10 minutes, until the donuts are puffed up and golden. Leave to cool in the pan for before turning them out on to a cooling wrack. Glaze with icing sugar and water mix, or with melted chocolate – and top with chopped sugared nuts, poppy seeds or whatever you can find!
Happy holidays! Love Cat x

 

you can find more recipes and photos over at my blog

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