snacks

Passionfruit Christmas biscuits ~ recipe

Passionfruit Christmas biscuits on a plate with tinsel

Passionfruit Christmas biscuits

While these biscuits don’t look or sound very Christmassy (other than by adding colouring to them or icing with Christmas colours like I have), they feel like a Christmas treat to me!

I think it is because the passionfruit flavour is a hint of summer and the texture is like shortbread (which I associate with Christmas).

These are fairly easy to make so are suitable for young children to help with – and I bet Santa would enjoy a few of these on Christmas Eve!

 

Passionfruit Christmas biscuits

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs castor sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 Tbs passionfruit pulp (1 – 2 passionfruit)
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 Tbs cornflour

{Makes about 40 biscuits}

Mix the butter (softened butter makes this easier!) with the sugars and vanilla essence.

Mix in the passionfruit pulp then add in the flours.

Christmas passionfruit biscuit ingredients mixed together in a bowl

The mix is browner than most biscuits because of the brown sugar.

It forms a stiff mix, not quite like a pastry dough – and it looks a bit sticky.

Put a little plain flour on your hands then roll small bits of the mixture into balls (the flour is enough to stop them sticking to you).

Floured ahdn holding a ball of passionfruit Christmas biscuit dough

Turn a sticky blob into a ball…

Put the balls on a greased tray or tray lined with baking paper (I’ve tried both and neither seems superior to the other).

baked passionfruit Christmas biscuits on a greased tray and a baking paper lined tray

Greased tray or baking paper – the choice is yours!

Push down on each ball lightly with the back of a spoon to make them flatter. Note these biscuits don’t spread very much so you don’t need a lot of space between biscuits.

Bake at 160°C for 13 – 15 minutes.

Cool on the tray before serving, icing or storing.

Passionfruit Christmas biscuits on a white plate for serving

Passionfruit Christmas biscuits – they look simple but taste divine!

Some additional notes…

Why use the different flours? Well, corn flour and coconut flour are gluten free so these biscuits are lower gluten than most biscuits. The coconut flour also adds protein and fibre so these biscuits are lower carbohydrate than you’d expect. It also gives a slight hint of coconut to add to the summery effect.

Why brown sugar? It is less processed so healthier than white sugar of any type.

I melted some white chocolate and added colouring to cover some of my biscuits. I love the crunch of the set chocolate but I found it did overwhelm the passionfruit flavour a bit – they still were yummy and melted on the tongue though!

A child's ahnd reaching for the last passionfruit biscuit on the plate!

What my children and friends thought of the biscuits…

I am thinking of making batches of these with my kids this year for them to give to kinder/school teachers as Christmas gifts.

What will you do with the biscuits you make?

And I’m curious, if you are from the northern hemisphere, would these feel Christmassy or would you prefer them in summer?

Christmas pudding balls ~ recipe

Christmas pudding balls on plate

Complete Christmas pudding balls – they didn’t last long on the plate in our house!

I came across a recipe for dough balls which looked yummy and adjusted it for taste and to make it more Christmassy.

It is easy to make, doesn’t need to be cooked and could be a nice snack to leave out for Santa, on a plate to take to a function. I’m finding these quite handy to send along to the kids’ Christmas parties at school and scouts because they are quick and easy and kids love them!

I don’t think they quite fit the nice gift category but that could just be me 🙂 Try the recipe and let me know if you’d give them as a gift…

Christmas pudding balls

100g unsalted butter (room temperature or almost melt it in the microwave to make it really soft if kids are helping you cook!)
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoons red food colouring
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup fruit mince (or dried mixed fruit plus 1-2 tablespoon of liquid*)
1 cup plain flour
125g white chocolate
1/2 teaspoon green food colouring

mixing ingredients for Christmas pudding balls

An easy recipe for little people to help with – although you may get a bit of flour splatter around the kitchen!

How to make Christmas pudding balls

Cream the butter and sugar.

Mix in the essence, red food colouring, cinnamon and flour.

Stir in choc chips and fruit mince.

Form balls of dough. I found it needed some moisture to really hold together and be able to roll it – dry fruit alone will be fairly crumbly and impossible to roll (forming shapes is ok) thus fruit mince or some liquid is required.

Put them in the fridge to harden – I left them for a few hours but half an hour or so is probably enough. Note they taste much better at this stage now when just mixed 🙂

Melt the while chocolate until liquid. Then add green food colour.

Christmas pudding balls created and ready for fridge

It’s not easy to make neat balls with this mix, so be comfortable with a rustic effect!

Dip each ball into the green chocolate and place on a tray.

Put back in the fridge for the chocolate to set, and for storage. Enjoy!

* You could use a liqueur or some orange or cranberry juice

Quick Christmas Royal Puddings Recipe

These cute little Christmas Royals look like teeny-tiny Christmas puddings and they are the perfect take-along party plate for busy Mums. They’re a similar concept to the Christmas Anzacs I made last year, but a bit more decadent and fancy-looking.

You can get these made in ten minutes, and they are the sort of ingredients you can have in the cupboard for a while so you can make them at the last minute.

Or let the kids work on them – it will take longer obviously but it’s an easy snack for them to make for Santa.

Christmas Royals

ingredients and equipment to prepare Christmas royal puddings

Ingredients and preparations required to make your Christmas Royal Puddings!

Ingredients:

2x 200g Arnott’s Royals Biscuits
200g white chocolate
1 x 180g Smarties
1 x resealable or freezer bag
spearmint leaves, cut into about 6 slices

 

Method:

Take the biscuits out of the packet and lay them on  board or plate. You can put them straight onto a serving plate if you trust you won’t make a mess (and that could depend on whether you have any little helpers or not!)

Melt white chocolate  – over a pan of water will work but takes time and isn’t suitable with young children. So I just pop them into the microwave for about 70 seconds – test then repeat for 20 second bursts until they are nicely melted.

Pour the melted chocolate into the plastic bag. Snip off the corner of the bag. Of course, if you have a piping bag, just use that! You can drizzle the chocolate from a spoon but it does tend to get messy and takes longer so the chocolate will start to set.

Pipe (or drizzle) chocolate onto the top of each biscuit.

Pop a red smartie on top of the chocolate. Arrange two or three pieces of spearmint leave to be the holly leaves.

Let the chocolate set and serve 🙂

Sprinkle some halved spearmint leaves around the Christmas Royals for a pretty presentation.

Stages of creating some Royal Puddings as a Christmas treat or snack for Santa

Piping chocolate ‘custard’, adding smartie ‘berries’, add spearmint ‘holly leaves’ and putting royal puddings on a plate – an easy recipe!

 

Pink centred Royal Christmas puddings

Pink centres add a little extra!

Sometimes you can get Royals with a pink centre, too, and they are even better when it comes to making a Christmassy treat!

If you can’t get Royals, other chocolate biscuits can work (mint slices are an obvious option) but they don’t stand up as high to look like little Christmas puddings.

 

** You could win $300 worth of Arnott’s free samples to maintain the Arnott’s taste after eating those Royals! Free and fast entry, and you may get an immediate sample, too. **

Christmas banana cake – to eat or gift!

As much as my family loves bananas, we seem to get soft black bananas sitting in the fruit bowl way too often. So a good banana cake recipe is a must!

This recipe is a mix of some other recipes with my own Christmassy touches.

Banana cakes wrapped as Christmas gifts

Simple but effective presentation of a yummy Christmas gift!

It takes a while to cook but is moist and yummy, and suitable for making into gifts, serving for Santa or simply eating!

Making it as small loaves and wrapping it in red and/or green cellophane is a nice gift idea for hostesses, teachers, leaders and others you want to say thanks to. You can also make it as muffins and roughly half the cooking time, but I don’t think muffins look quite as nice as a gift.

Love Santa’s Christmas Banana Cake Recipe

3 eggs
5 large bananas – the riper the better!
3/4 cup of vegetable oil
2 cups white self-raising flour
1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1.5 cups raw sugar (I use 1 cup smart raw sugar to reduce the GI)
0.5 teaspoon of nutmeg
1.5 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 cup cherries (I use jarred cherries but you could use a tin) – cut in halves
4 tablespoons cherry juice (from the jar! Otherwise use cranberry or orange juice)

Preparing a Christmas banana cake

My son loves making sure the mixture is evenly spread out in the pan!

Beat the eggs together

Add the bananas – many recipes will tell you to add the mashed bananas but to save myself washing an extra dish and because the kids find it fun this way, I put pieces of banana in with the egg and mash in that bowl.

Mix in the oil and juice.

Add flours, spices and sugar and make sure everything is well mixed.

Stir in the fruit and nuts

Pour into your greased cooking pan(s).

Cook for about an hour at 160°C

Cool on a tray and voila!

 

Christmas banana cake

Moist cherry pieces add a nice surprise to this Christmas banana cake.

 A couple of notes…

You can use any nuts you like – 3/4 cup chopped nuts of any type will work. I just happened on the almond/pecan mix because it’s all I had in the cupboard one day when I made this cake! Pistachios could be an interesting alternative I think – or chestnuts may add an authentic Christmas taste for people in the Northern hemisphere!

If you don’t have wholemeal self-raising flour, you can use white. I prefer to use a mixture because it is healthier to have wholemeal but gets too heavy if you didn’t use some white flour.

If cooking with young kids, I strongly suggest chopping the nuts and cherries before you call them into the kitchen – they get bored if they have to wait!

Cheerful cake pops to make with kids

I made my first cake pops today.

cake pops iced in green with red decorations added

Some red and green Christmas cheer via cake pops

I may be a bit behind the trends but at least I bought the trays a little while ago!

My son’s birthday is next month and I am planning some themed cake pops for his party so I figured I should have a trial run or two first. Thus, I made some cake pops today.

Of course, as a test run, I didn’t touch his birthday theme and gave them a Christmassy touch instead!

They were fun to make and easy enough with my children so this could be a fun activity to build up the Christmas excitement during December.

My cake pop tips…

So here’s what I learned today…

  1. fill the holes to about level. On the plus side, if you over fill them you simply get cute little mushroom caps that easily come off the tin to leave perfect cake balls.
  2. they cook quickly which was great for my three year old helper. She wasn’t so keen on the waiting-for-them-to-cool-down phase though! Use that time to prepare any decorations. If you want lots of cake pops, the quick cooking time would be a bonus.
  3. make sure your icing is quite thick (and maybe even starting to set). Mine was pretty thick I thought and it covered the balls well but as they sat to set, much of the icing slowly dripped away…

    Cake pops iced in green - and dripping!

    Initially, the icing stayed put but after a few minutes it pooled onto the plate…

  4. think ahead of time and have a means of standing your cake pops upright as they dry. An old bit of packaging could do the trick or some firm cardboard with holes poked through. Although you can lay the cake pops on a plate or some greaseproof paper, the finished result is less even.
  5. a little icing on the stick will hold it in place better than just putting in the stick. This is almost instantly better actually.
  6. you will not be able to have the stick placed to best show off each ball (ie seams will be amongst decorations at the top) if you have little people helping you insert the sticks… My four year old was very proud to help but he couldn’t care less where he shoved the sticks!

My Christmassy Cake Pops…

I made a batch of my usual easy cake and had left overs from the cake pop tray.

Simply mix 1 cup self-raising flour, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons milk, 125g butter (melted is easiest) and 2 tablespoons of cocoa.

As cake pops, cook for 15-20 minutes at 180.

Remove from oven and trays. Let cool.

Insert stick.

Coat in green icing (I used yoghurt, icing sugar and green food dye) – best results by tipping the bowl on its side and rolling the cake around.

Decorate with small pieces of red lolly snakes.

Voila!

 

Christmas rocky road recipe

Last Christmas, I changed a rocky road recipe a bit to make it more Christmassy – but there’s no reason you can’t eat it any other time of the year 🙂 And if you make and eat it in winter, there’s less of an issue with melting, too!

Simple enough for kids to make, too.

Christmas rocky road

160g dark chocolate
100g mini marshmallows
1/4 cup cranberries
1/4 cup nuts (I like cashews but peanuts give a stronger flavour)
1/4 cup green smarties, crushed into pieces

Melt the chocolate.

Stir in the marshmallows, nuts and cranberries.

Pour into a lined pan.

Sprinkle crushed smarties on top.

Put in fridge to set.

Cut or break into pieces and enjoy!

Note adding smarties to the melted chocolate tastes ok but the smarties melt a bit so you don’t get as good result visually.

Savory Christmas treats ~ recipe

Although I am a sweet  tooth myself, it’s easy to forget that Christmas treats can be savory and yummy, too! So here is another toddler friendly Christmas recipe, and one that will be useful as we head into colder weather, too …

Christmas fritters

1/3 cup flour (plain or self-raising is ok)
1/3 cup wholemeal flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated cheese
2 teaspoons of parsley and/or other fresh herbs (coriander and mint are lovely)
1/8 cup squished peas (or beans sliced into small pieces)
1/8 cup grated zucchini (skin on)
1/4 cup finely chopped red capsicum (or use tomatoes without the seeds and juice)
milk (as needed, maybe 2 tablespoons)
oil or butter (for cooking)

Mix everything up to get a stiff batter – adding just enough milk to hold things together.

Heat the pan, add a little oil/butter then drop in balls of the mixture.

When the fritter is bubbling (like pikelets), flip and cook the other side.

Place on paper towel to drain before serving hot or cold.

If you’re feeling creative…

  • make shapes other than circles – a Christmas tree or star would be really cool!
  • join some balls together to form a snowman
  • try some different ingredients, like spinach/silver beet, grated celery, red cabbage, red potatoes or red kidney beans. Of course, if you move away from red and green, there are many other delicious ingredients to add (carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, beetroot, corn, sweet potato…)
  • add a dipping sauce – satay, coriander, chilli are good ones – or a salsa with it for extra flavour and moisture.

This could be a healthier alternative to leave out for Santa, too!

Christmas tree cakes

For a bit of fun, make some cakes (or muffins) that look like Christmas trees 🙂 Sorry to share it so long after Christmas – I just got too busy, lol!

This is an easy activity to give the kids, too, and can become a gift-making exercise while you’re at it.

Christmas tree shaped cakes with candy cane trunks

Christmas tree cakes

Make a rectangular cake or brownie

Cool the cake

Cut the cake/brownie into triangles

Insert a candy cane into the cake half way along the base – to form the tree trunk

Use coloured icing to add lines of tinsel on the tree

Use dobs of icing or broken lollies to add other decorations to your tree

Let everything set then enjoy!

Really handy to give as gifts for the kinder or school class.

Of course, you could use a tree shaped cutter instead of triangles if you have that option, but the triangles are so easy and don’t waste any cake.

Christmas Anzac biscuits

I first made these for my daughter to take to a ‘bring a dish’ Christmas break up for her scout troop, and I think they’re quite effective – and very Australian!

You could of course make the Anzacs – or buy a packet as I did to save time.

Christmas Anzac biscuits on a green plate

Decorating the biscuits

 

  1. Melt some white chocolate
  2. Drizzle melted chocolate over each Anzac biscuit
  3. Add some red and green to each biscuit to represent holly
  4. Let the chocolate set (it doesn’t take long unless it’s a hot day!) and serve

Simple, effective and they travel pretty well so make a good plate to take to functions.

Red and green decorations…

To create the holly, I used red and green smarties as a very quick option (and one I’m quite partial to!) but a little more effort will get a fancier result.

Other ideas I’ve had are:

  • use a red smartie as is but half the green smarties so they are thinner and look more like leaves
  • cut up some spearmint leaves
  • get an edible cake topper with Santa or another Christmas theme to pop on top
  • glace cherries (not my preferred choice, but they’d look good!)
  • cut the top part off a lolly raspberry for a real berry look
  • sprinkle red and green 100s & 1000s over the chocolate – not so much like holly but very pretty!

Have you got any other suggestions for adding the red and green?

Delicious Christmas flummery – a summer treat!

I remember eating fruit flummery as a child – it was sooo good! Smooth and tasty and cold, my cousins, brother and I ate all we could get our hands on!

It was at all our family occasions in summer, although I don’t actually remember it on Christmas Day…

Most of the time, we ate home-made plum flummery – and I’m going to have to search for that recipe, too. But here is an easier version for the whole family (again, inspired by recipes that are good for toddlers and babies as requested by Vida 🙂 )

Do you have a special dessert memory from your childhood, too?

Red & green Flummery

250 ml (1 cup) unsweetened evaporated milk
1 packet (85 g) red jelly crystals
1 cup of boiling water
2 kiwi fruit
bunch green grapes

Chill the milk for at least an hour.

Mix jelly and water in a bowl then put into fridge until it is about half set.

Pour milk in to a large bowl and whip until light and fluffy.

Keep beating the milk and slowly pour in the half-set jelly until all is blended.

Put into fridge to set.

Slice kiwi fruit and grapes and arrange on top of the set flummery to serve.

Lots of red cherries on top instead of the kiwi and grapes is delicious, too, if you are happy with a red dessert instead of red and green!

Christmas jelly – not just for babies and toddlers…

Continuing on with the request for some Christmas recipes the very young can enjoy, here is another one that’s pretty easy to make. It is well suited to an Australian Christmas, but I think it can be eaten alongside a hot Christmas pudding and apple pie, too!

Christmas jelly

200 ml hot water
4 teaspoons gelatine
100ml red fruit juice
100ml green fruit juice
1 – 2 tablespoons chopped cherries or strawberries
1-2 tablespoons sliced grapes or kiwi fruit pieces

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of gelatine in 100ml hot water.

Stir into the red fruit juice.

Pour into a small bow or jelly mould. Add the grapes or kiwi fruit.

Put into the fridge to set.

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of gelatine in 100ml hot water.

Stir into the green fruit juice.

Pour into a small bow or jelly mould. Add the cherries/strawberries.

Put into the fridge to set.

Serve together, tipped onto a plate or straight into bowls.

In total, this makes about one metric cup of jelly which is a side serve for about two people or a few days’ supply for a baby or young toddler.

Notes:

  1. juicing the fruit yourself is a much healthier option, but bottled juice works. Red juice can be cranberry or mix apple with raspberries, cherries and strawberries. Green juice can be made from kiwi fruit, apple and celery together, green grapes or a combination.
  2. you can of course use packets of jelly instead of gelatine and fruit juice but it has a lot more sugar and less satisfaction!
  3. stand your jelly bowl in a hot water for 30 – 60 seconds to make it easier to tip out once it’s set

 

Have you ever made your own jelly?

Surprised to find it is this easy? I know I was when I made it for my first baby – it’s such as easy thing to feed them but I didn’t want the sugar and additives of the commercial jelly.

Have you ever left a bowl of jelly out for Santa? I haven’t but it’s not a bad idea, especially if it’s hot on Christmas Eve!

Christmas fruit muffins

Yummy muffins that have red dots to look Christmassy and fruit mince to taste Christmassy – easy to make, nice to leave out for Santa or offer guests or just send to school in lunch boxes.

They take about 20 minutes to make plus cooking time so fit into our busy family life 🙂

For fun, you can ice them in red icing with chopped green spearmint leaves on top or in white icing with coconut sprinkled over the tope for a snow look.

Ingredients

Serves: 24Christmas fruit muffins for Santa

220g self-raising flour, sifted

100g castor sugar

1 large egg

100ml sunflower oil

75ml milk

60g each good quality white and milk/dark chocolate, chopped

1 heaped tablespoon good quality fruit mince (dried fruit works but doesn’t give such good results)

60g fresh (or dried) cranberries (make sure you drain them if use a tin or jar – I haven’t tried this but you’d risk a very wet mix)

To make:

Preheat the oven to 190C and prepare muffin trays or patty pans.

Mix the flour and sugar.

Beat egg, oil and milk.

Pour wet ingredients in with flour and sugar, and stir gently.

Add the yummy things – sorry, add the chocolate, fruit mince and cranberries.

Stir gently to not break up the fruit or get tough muffins.

Put mix into muffin pans and bake for about 20 minutes. Cooked when golden brown.

Put onto a wire rack but nice to serve them warm, too (gooey chocolate, yum!) with a scoop of ice-cream.

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