biscuit

8 days to Christmas – day seventeen is here!

Just 8 days to go until Christmas – are you excited or worried about the size of your ‘things to do before Christmas’  list?

Ornament calendar

While this ornament looks fancy and is bigger than most other ones, it was still just two simple pieces interconnected to make our reindeer.

Images of the press out reindeer ornament

Lego City

I love the little chef with his tray of biscuits that my son found behind flap 17! He is inspiring me to go bake something, too…

Lego chef with a tray of biscuits

Lego Friends

Today’s ornament from the Friends advent calendar is colourful and cute – but is it a boot on wheels or an unusually shaped vehicle?

Lego boot on wheels

Christmas book

Tonight’s Christmas book is The naughtiest reindeer in the zoo which will be a nice story to read while those biscuits are cooking I think!

Double Christmas treats ~ recipe

Delicious Double Christmas Treats

These Double Christmas Treats are made of two layers and taste absolutely divine, ad are surprisingly moist, too.

Looking through Pinterest a few weeks ago, I came across an image which I really liked the look of. It had two layers but looked like a cupcake/muffin – something a bit different, I thought, plus two parts meant I could get my two littlies involved a different stages…

Unfortunately, the image was not linked to a recipe but a sales page for the most over-priced cake mix I’ve ever come across.

So I created my own version, adding Christmassy touches and I am very pleased with the results of this one!

Double Christmas treats

These do take a bit of time, especially if you have little helpers, but are SO worth it!

It would make a lovely Christmas Eve activity with the kids – there’s plenty to sample and still have a nice snack to leave out for Santa 🙂

Child cracking eggs into bowl

My three year old calls herself a ‘good egger’ and enjoyed making these treats…

brownie mix in muffin cases

First layer in some muffin cases, ready for cooking

Adding layer two to Xmas treats

Cover the lower layer with the biscuit mix – this photo shows the top layer on the back row and lower layer only in the front row.

cooked double Christmas treats

Double Christmas treats fresh out of the oven – a light brown top is what you are after.

Ingredients

180 g white chocolate, chopped plus about 100 g for decoration at the end
375g unsalted butter
420g smart sugar (or castor sugar as an alternative)
100g raw sugar
4 eggs
100g macadamia nuts, finely chopped
415g plain flour
1.5 teaspoons orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
150g dried cranberries
1/4 cup mixed dried fruit
food colouring (optional)

Making Christmas double treats

Melt white chocolate and 150g butter.

Once it has cooled a little, mix in 220g (1 cup) smart sugar. Then add 3 eggs and mix well.

Stir in chopped macadamias and 115g (3/4 cup) flour.

Grease large muffin pans – prepare 24 large muffin holes.

Half fill muffin holes with mixture and put aside.

Preheat over to 185°C.

Cream raw sugar, 225g butter and 200g (bit under 1 cup) smart sugar.

Beat in 1 egg.

Mix in orange zest and juice.

Mix in 300g (2.5 generous cups) flour and bicarb soda.

Gently stir in cranberries and dried fruit until mixed throughout the dough.

Add a spoonful of mixture on top of the brownie mix in the muffin tins. You may need to use fingers to spread the biscuit dough evenly.

Place muffin trays into oven for 16 -17 minutes – the biscuit top should be lightly brown all over.

Leave the trays to cool completely before removing from the muffin trays.

Melt remaining white chocolate, add food colouring if you wish, and drizzle over the cooled Double Christmas Treats.

Once the chocolate has set, they’re ready to serve…

Decorated double Christmas treats

I tried a variety of decorating styles on my Double Christmas Treats…

 

Cooking notes…

  1.  If you undercook them, the bottom layer will be very sticky. Simply turn the treats upside down and serve with ice-cream as a pudding!
  2. You can use a skewer to check the treats are cooked – you are looking for crumbs from the lower layer. But be careful crumbs from the top layer don’t mislead – thus watching the time is  better judge.
  3. Finely chopped macadamias gives a lovely chewy, moist texture. A few bigger pieces are ok but it is worth getting them chopped well.

    Finely chopped macadamias

    It took a while to chop the macadamias this fine, but it gives a better result.

  4. To add some green to match the red cranberries, you could swap the mixed dried fruit with pistachios
  5. You could cook this as small slabs and cut into pieces. But given the layers, cooking it as one big slab would probably result in the bottom being undercooked or the top burning.
  6. I used silicone muffin tray and some individual muffin cases – both worked equally well.
  7. I had a little left over biscuit mix so made a few biscuits as well – they take a bit less time to cook though.

 

Making vanilla wreaths as teacher’s gifts

I like getting my children to give gifts to teachers, etc – and I prefer them to be involved in the gifts somehow. I’m also conscious that most teachers probably get too many candles and soaps as it is.

So last year, my kids make some vanilla wreaths and balls for their teachers – the recipe below made about 30 of each which we shared between 9 paper plates and wrapped in cellophane, tied with red ribbon and given as gifts the next day.

Before you assume 9 teachers is a lot, I included one for each of my children’s class and instrument teachers, plus the lollypop lady, school librarian and the school cleaner (an under appreciated man!)

Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

250g butter, softened

145g smart sugar (or 290g castor sugar)*

2 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

1 teaspoon baking powder

600g plain flour

PLUS

About 320g smart icing sugar *

6 – 8 tablespoons fresh orange juice (the bottled stuff is too sweet for my liking)

15 mint leaves (the lolly variety!)

About 90 red smarties or equivalent lolly (useful if you’re used to eating the red ones last! Sorry, old ad jingles stick in my head!)

Packet of 100s and 1000s or mini lollies of some sort

Method

Cream butter and sugar

Add eggs and vanilla; combine well

Add flour and baking powder; mix into a dough

Roll out dough to about 5mm thick – it’s a bit sticky so I use sheets of baking paper on either side. I also do it in batches as there’s a lot of dough!

Cut out large circles – circle biscuit cutter or a mug will do the trick

Cut a smaller circle out of each biscuit – use a smaller circle cutter or a glass

Put the rings (wreaths) and circles (Christmas balls) ont greased or lined biscuit trays

Put full trays into the fridge while you continue rolling and cutting and all dough is used up (rework the scraps back in each time)

Place trays in pre-heated 180° oven for 8 – 10 minutes – biscuits should be a lightly golden-brown on the top

Cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the trays onto a wire rack

When completely cool, decorate as wreaths or Christmas balls.

Vanilla Wreaths

Slice the mint leaves through the middle (so they become thinner but have the same shape as they started with)

Mix the icing sugar and orange juice in batches

Ice the top of the wreaths – I let it drip down the sides but you could ice the sides properly if you wanted to

Stick two leaf halves onto the biscuit to form the holly leaves

Dab some left over icing onto 3 smarties and stick them onto the leaves as holly berries – repeat for the other biscuits!

Christmas balls

Mix the icing sugar with some orange juice and a drop or red or green food colouring. If you have time, it’s really nice to use two colours, but one or none will work fine!

Spread icing onto the smaller circle biscuits – making some half red and half green is fun

Sprinkle 100s and 1000s over the top

 

 

* I tend to use smart sugar for everything now – you need half as much so the food is lower GI and it’s made from Australian cane sugar. If you can’t get it, castor sugar or normal icing sugar works just as well.

Edible snowflakes

Ok, they aren’t part of an Aussie Christmas, but snowflakes do have a traditional Xmas feel and these ones are quite yummy 🙂

To make 60 snowflakes…

Sanat's cabin in Canada!

A white Christmas in Canada has snowflakes – Aussies need edible snowflakes!

2 cup icing sugar
5.5 cups plain flour
250 g butter
2 eggs
2.5 tsp vanilla essence

get eggs to room temperature.
Cube butter and put back in fridge
mix flour and 1.5 cup sugar together then add butter.
Blend until you get a mixture looking like fine breadcrumbs.
Mix in eggs and vanilla essence until a dough forms.
Knead dough until lower surface is smooth.
Push dough into two circles about 20 cm across and wrap in grease-proof paper. Put in fridge for an hour or so – should be firm to touch.
roll out dough until about 5mm thick – sticks less if you put it between sheets of baking paper.
If you can find a snowflake cutter, now is when to use it! If not, use a star cutter and a knife to adjust it or try a Christmas tree cutter (instead of snowflakes or join two together for a snowflake-ish look).
Put trays of biscuits into fridge for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat over to 180 Celsius and prepare baking trays (grease or use baking paper).
bake for about 10 minutes
cool completely on trays then dust with icing sugar to enhance the snow feeling.

 

Christmas Trees to eat!

These are a yummy snack for Santa but can also be wrapped to make a nice gift 🙂

ingredients

250g butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour or custard powder
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon milk
200 g milk chocolate
100g white chocolate
round lollies (e.g. mini marshmallows, mini smarties)
icypole sticks (at least 12)

instructions

  1. cream butter, sugar & vanilla
  2. add egg
  3. mix well
  4. add cocoa, flours & milk
  5. mix well
  6. wrap mix in plastic and cool for at least 30 minutes
  7. cut out 24 Christmas tree (or other biscuit cutter shapes always even number of each shape)
  8. put in 180 C over for 15 minutes
  9. cool on tray
  10. spread melted milk chocolate on biscuits
  11. press icy pole stick in chocolate
  12. place matching shape biscuit on top
  13. let chocolate set in fridge
  14. melt white chocolate
  15. use piping bag or paint brush to create chocolate ‘garlands’ on trees
  16. use lollies to create Christmas balls on trees
  17. allow chocolate to set before storing or wrapping

* Makes about a dozen trees if you have a 12cm long biscuit cutter. Will make more or less depending on your biscuit cutter.

* It’s fun to make different Christmas shapes and give a couple together as a gift…

Klejner (danish Diamonds ) recipe

Another traditional Christmas treat from Denmark…

Klejner

.5 cup butter

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

.25 cup thickened cream

3.5 cups plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

.75 teaspoon ground cardamon

.25 teaspoon ground nutmeg

oil

icing sugar

Cream the butter and sugar.

Beat the eggs then whisk in the cream. Slowly mix the egg mixture into the butter/sugar.

Add dry ingredients to form a dough.

Divide dough into four and tightly wrap in plastic wrap. Leave in fridge overnight.

Work with one dough section at a time…

Roll dough out to about 6 mm thick. Cut into strips about 5 cm wide and then into diamonds by cutting the diagonals about 7 cm apart.

Cut a small slit along the length of the diamond and tuck one end of the diamond through the slit until it is a diamond shape again with just a little twist in the middle.

Keep refrigerated while doing the remaining batches.

Heat oil in a pan or deep fryer until hot. Add a few diamonds at a time (about 5 but it depends on the size of your pan) until they are puffed up and golden brown on both side – don’t forget to turn them once!

Drain on paper towel then roll in icing sugar.

Store in layers with grease-proof paper in air tight containers. This recipe makes about 4 dozen so I think I’ll reduce it when I make them!

Kulkuls

Kulkuls are an Indian biscuit that is made in most (all?) regions of India for Christmas. They’re easy to make and the kids will have fun BUT make sure an adult does the frying and heating the syrup.

We made some yesterday – it was great timing as our Santa letters arrived afterwards so we nibbled on yummy Indian Kulkuls while reading Australian themed Santa letters! Some port for parents, milk for kids, and it made a really nice family evening:)

So, onto the Kulkul recipe…

You need: 1 kilo of flour, 1 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cardamon, 2 Tablespoons ghee, 2 cups of coconut milk, 8 Tablespoons sugar (very fine so use castor sugar or grind some other sugar yourself) and 4 eggs.

Beat the eggs, then mix in with the baking powder and flour. Add in the sugar, cardamon and coconut milk.

Knead the dough then cover with a damp cloth for about 30 minutes.

Separate the dough into small portions and roll into balls (remember playing with play dough as a kid?) Flatten the balls with the back of a fork, leaving lines in it, then curl up the edges a bit before deep-frying in small batches.

Drain on paper towel or newspaper.

Heat 2 cups of sugar to 6-8 Tablespoons of water until sugar is dissolved. Place kulkuls in the syrup to absorb the syrup, then put aside to let the sugar harden.

Store in airtight containers.

Note – ghee is a form of fat used a lot in Indian cooking. Instead of ghee, you can use shortening or a light margarine.

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