I love cooking with my kids and Christmas is such a good chance to make loads of fun yummy treats, I’m getting quite a collection of festive bakeware and cookie cutters so I thought I’d put a few of them together for you.
Starting off with biscuits, which have to be one of the easiest bakes to let the kids help with. As long as you weigh out everything before hand and help them with the mixing a bit they can pretty much do all of it themselves. We used a basic butter biscuit recipe:
175g unsalted butter (softened)
200g caster sugar
2 large eggs (beaten)
1 and a half tsp vanilla extract
450g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
- Cream the butter and sugar in a freestanding mixer or by hand
- Add the vanilla extract to the beaten egg then slowly add to the butter mixture while mixing
- In a separate bowl mix together the flour, salt & baking powder
- Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix at a slow speed until combined
- Wrap your dough in cling-film and place in the fridge to cool for at least an hour (freeze half if you like)
- Roll out your dough and use cookie cutters to make whatever festive shape you like.
- If you want to hang your cookies on a Christmas tree remember to make a hole for the ribbon with the handle of a wooden spoon or similar.
- Bake at 180c for 8-12 minutes or until slightly golden then cool on wire racks
I let the kids loose with a selection of cutters including Christmas trees, snowmen, stars and snowflakes they love cutting them out and deciding which shape to do next. Once the biscuits have cooled they can be decorated. I passed a few sacrificial biscuits to the kiddies but they really are far more interested in eating their biscuits than decorating them so I took over at this point. For the iced biscuits I used normal water icing coloured red, green and white in piping bags with writing nozzles. I also used a gold food paint on some of the details.
Next I tempered some milk chocolate by melting it in the microwave in 20 second bursts then stirring in unmelted chocolate pieces until the melted chocolate felt cool on my bottom lip. To check the temper drizzle a little chocolate onto greaseproof paper and it should set almost straight away. I dipped the different sized star biscuits in and set them to dry on grease proof paper, adding white chocolate stars and freeze dried raspberries as the chocolate set. Next I added a little double cream to the remaining milk chocolate to make a ganache and turned the stars into Christmas trees.
We used some of the mini Christmas biscuits made with textured mini Christmas Cookie Cutters to make a snow-scene and dusted the whole thing with icing sugar.
The other main baking that I do with my kids is cakes. They help me get to the right number on the scales and do (some of) the mixing. Last week I was making cakes for the Christmas fair and they were feeling a little left out so we also made come chocolate cakes together.
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- To soften the butter you could simply leave it on the side for an hour, but I always forget so I place it in a microwavable bowl and heat in 10 second bursts, removing and mixing each time. The aim is to soften the butter a little not to melt it. If the butter does melt a little, use a fork to mix it back together with the rest of the butter.
- In a freestanding mixer cream the softened butter and sugar until smooth.
- Add the vanilla essence to the beaten egg then slowly add the mixture to the mixer.
- Mix the flour and cocoa together in a separate bowl then gradually add the flour mix while mixing on a slow speed.
- Add the whole milk slowly while mixing by hand until the mixture falls easily from a spoon or spatula. (You may need more milk than you expect as the cocoa can make the mixture quite dry)
- Set out the paper cupcake cases in cupcake tins and add the mixture.
- Bake for approx 17 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
We made some cakes in red and green cases but also used my Christmas tree silicone mould to make some little Christmas tree cakes. When the Christmas tree cakes cake out of the mould I pushed lollipop sticks into the base of them before leaving them to cool. Once the cakes were cool I tempered both white and milk chocolate, made some chocolate cake toppers with Silicone Christmas Moulds, dipped the Christmas trees in the white chocolate and used the remaining milk chocolate to make a ganache for the chocolate cupcakes.
And finally the exciting bit, thanks to the kind people at The Gift Oasis I have a set of mini Christmas Cookie Cutters and a Silicone Christmas Mould to giveaway(like the ones in the picture below). Just complete the RaffleCopter widget below to enter. You can also enter the competition via their Facebook page.