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Santa Hat Brownies

19 Dec

Ok, talk about a baking disaster! You know the Murphy’s Law saying “everything that can go wrong will go wrong”? Well, that was the case with my Santa Hat Brownies. However, I did live to tell the tale and wanted to share my experience with you should you take on the deadly Santa Hat Brownies that seem to be everywhere this Christmas! They do look fantastic and taste delicious. I would say they were worth the pain…

The recipe is simple…

Ingredients

1 chocolate brownie mix – I used the Donna Hay packet mix that we cooked a while back. Lets face it, we are all short on time at this time of the year so why make things more difficult than you have to??

2 punnets of strawberries washed and hulled

1/2 cup cream

1/2 cup pure icing sugar (or thereabouts)

Method:

Bake the brownie mix as per the packet, allow to cool then cut out small circle shapes from the mix using a cutter. I used a medicine cup as I didn’t have a small enough cutter. You could get your kids helping with this step…

Cut the strawberries in half. Here is where I ran into my first problem. My strawberries were too big to sit on top of the brownie so I had to make them smaller (Thomas enjoyed eating the offcuts!).

Drain the strawberries on some paper towel while you mix up the cream. This was another problem I found. If you don’t do this, your strawberries will run into the cream and slide off!

Whip the cream and icing sugar together. Add as much icing sugar as necessary to make the cream hold its shape.

Pipe some cream onto each brownie.

Place a strawberry on top of the cream and then pipe a little dot of cream on top of the strawberry. Voile!

So my top tips for making this recipe are…

1. Cut strawberries in half – don’t use a whole strawberry as it is too heavy

2. Drain the strawberries on paper towel to avoid them running into the cream and from sliding off.

3. Add icing sugar to cream so it will hold it’s shape and the strawberries will stay in place.

You can see from the picture that my little Santa hats are not perfect but they still tasted yummy and it was fun – even with all the frustrations!

 

 

 

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Rudolph the Reindeer Chocolate Tartlets

19 Dec

We went to a Christmas party last night and I wanted to make something fun for the kids. Thought these were just too cute! Easy to make but a little bit fiddly. They are a little bit time consuming so don’t expect to make them in a rush – especially if your little assistants are helping!

Ingredients

  • 250g packet Arnott’s Butternut Snap Cookies
  • 65g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 200g milk or dark chocolate, chopped
  • 10 vanilla marshmallows, halved horizontally
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla ready-made frosting
  • 20 jaffas
  • 20 mini vanilla marshmallows, halved horizontally
  • Rich choc fudge writing icing
  • 40 mini star pretzels

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Place 1 biscuit over each hole of a 12-hole, 1 1/2 tablespoon-capacity round-based tartlet tin. Bake for 2-3 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven. Using a small ladle or a lime, carefully press softened biscuits into tin to mould into a cup shape. Allow to cool. Remove from tin and transfer to serving plate. Repeat with remaining biscuits.
  2. Place butter, cream and chocolate in a saucepan over very low heat. Stir constantly for 7 minutes or until melted and smooth. Pour into a clean, dry bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until cool but not set.
  3. Fill biscuit cases with 1 heaped teaspoon of chocolate mixture. Place in refrigerator for 20-25 minutes, or until set.
  4. Using the picture as a guide, gently press 1 marshmallow half, cut-side down into each tartlet. Attach 1 jaffa to each marshmallow with ready-made frosting to form a nose, then attach 2 mini marshmallow halves above nose, cut-side up, to form eyes. Use a drop of writing icing to form pupils. Cut pretzels in half to form antler shapes. Place 2 pretzel pieces above eyes. Press to secure. Serve.

     

    I had some trouble finding the star pretzels so had to make do with what I could get. They went down a treat at the party!

     


Candy Cane Biscuits

8 Dec

I found some great little cookie cutters in ‘House’ the other day. I bought a little candy cane cutter to add to our collection of reindeer and Christmas trees. Thomas and I both wore our new Christmas aprons and had lots of fun!

The recipe is one that I found in the latest edition of Donna Hay magazine. She had made little round cookies with chocolate stars on them so I just adapted it to suit our needs. We divided the dough into 2 different batches, one we kept vanilla and the other we added cocoa to. I like the look of the chocolate ones best.

Ingredients:

125g butter softened

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup sifted plain flour

1 tablespoon dutch cocoa sifted (I just used the cocoa I had in the cupboard)

Method:

Place the butter and sugar in an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until pale and creamy.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat for a further 2-3 minutes or until combined.

Add the flour and beat until a smooth dough forms. Remove 1/2 of the dough. Set aside. Add the cocoa to the mixer and beat until combined.

Roll each dough portion out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm thick and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

Preheat oven to 160°C.
Using a cutter, cut out the shapes that you desire.
Place cookies on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 12-13 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool on wire racks.
When biscuits have cooled, decorate with Royal Icing. We also added some little silver cachous to some of the biscuits.

Royal Icing Recipe

1 egg white
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted

Method:

Using an electric mixer, whisk egg white with the lemon juice until combined.

Gradually add in sifted icing sugar on low speed until smooth.

Add food colour of your choice.

Pipe onto cookies or cake.

For writing icing, you can put the icing in a ziploc bag and snip the corner to create a homemade icing bag.

Leave for 2-3 hours to set hard.

Thomas had so much fun making these cookies. They would make a perfect little present wrapped up in some cellophane or on a plate for a Christmas party. Icing biscuits is a great activity for developing hand eye co-ordination, fine motor skills, developing hand muscles and colour recognition.

Christmas Story Advent Calendar

29 Nov

Ok, this is totally unrelated to cooking with kids but I had to share it…

I absolutely love Christmas and now I have a little person to share it with (and to spoil) it is even better. When I saw this idea originally in Pinterest I knew it was going to fast become a Christmas tradition for us.

The idea is an advent calendar of wrapped up Christmas stories – your child can open a new book each night at bedtime and for the lead up to Christmas, you read a new Christmas story each night. I was so excited! What child doesn’t love opening presents?

What you will need:

24 Christmas related stories – if you are having trouble collecting 24, try your local library or op shop. Even supermarkets, K-mart or Target have some cheap Christmas books. Make sure if you do borrow from the library that you strategically place those ones near the top so they can be returned by the due date!

This is our selection.

Wrapping paper

For our advent calendar, I also numbered 24 Christmas baubles (or naubles as Thomas calls them) and a small Christmas tree decorated with battery operated lights. Thomas can hang the numbered ‘nauble’ on the tree each night when he opens his story.

What you do:

Wrap each book individually and pile on top of each other. Number them any way you like – with a bauble or you could use a gift tag type numbering system. What ever you choose.

Open one book each night with your child and read it together.

There are so many things to be learnt from this simple activity – fine motor skills, numeracy, literacy, relationship and self esteem building.

He hasn’t seen it yet :-). I’m so excited :-)!

Cookies in a Jar

22 Nov

Just a quick post this time. I wanted to share with you these great cookies in a jar. They’re a great gift idea for teachers, grandparents or anyone who enjoys baking –  and a perfect thing to make with your kids. They are easy, inexpensive and look great.

 

You will find the ingredients and printable gift tag by clicking here.

You will also need a 1L glass jar ( I ended up getting a large Moccona coffee jar because I couldn’t find any), some Christmas fabric cut into a circle large enough to cover the top and sides of the top, an elastic band to hold the fabric on and some ribbon.

 

Place all the ingredients into the jar as directed on the recipe. Put the lid on and cover with fabric. Use the elastic band to hold the fabric on and tie the ribbon around the top of the jar.

We added a Button Christmas Tree decoration that Thomas had made – you can find out how to make those by clicking here.

You can get your kids to help with measuring, pouring and decorating the present. We gave one to one of Thomas’ teachers yesterday and she loved it. She was looking forward to going home and making the cookies with her kids… Love it :-)!