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Gingerbread Biscuits

Gingerbread is a real Christmas biscuit, the smell of it wafting through the house is magical! Any item of food that can be decorated without constraint is a winner in my child’s eyes so we decided to bake some Christmas treats that Zoe could get creative with.

Decorated Gingerbread Treats

Gingerbread biscuits gleefully decorated by my 4 year old

Ingredients:

  • 75g soft light brown sugar
  • 75g butter softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 250g of plain cream flour
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

You will also need some shape cutters

To Prepare:

Cream the butter with an electric hand mixer until soft and then gradually add the sugar and cream until light and well mixed together. Add the bicarbonate of soda, golden syrup, and the egg and continue to mix .

Sift the flour, ginger, and cinnamon into the bowl and mix well using a spoon or a K mixer if using an electric kitchen machine.
Knead the mixture into a ball, then wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To Bake:

Preheat the oven to 180°

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until quite thin, not too thin though, it’s nice to have a little weight on them. Using the cutters that you have, (we used gingerbread man and Christmas shapes) cut out the shapes that you wish to have. Place the shapes on a baking sheet covered baking tray and put in the oven for about 15 minutes turning the tray halfway through.

Once the Gingerbread shapes are baked, place them on a wire rack to cool.

Gingerbread Biscuits

Gingerbread Biscuits

To Decorate:

I found some glitter icing gel in the supermarket today so decided to give them a try but my opinion is simple white icing tastes much better. We also used some smarties and coloured balls but you could decorate with  whatever you have in your pantry or my preference, don’t decorate at all, which may not go down too well if you have a budding artist helping you.

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White Chocolate Ganache Cake

Now this is a great cake to make for very special occasions, it is originally suggested as an Anniversary Cake by Rachel Allen but when I last made it, it was for Easter and with a little imagination you could decorate it to suit more of a Christmas theme.

White Chocolate Ganache Cake

White Chocolate Ganache Cake

Ingredients:

  • butter, softened, for greasing
  • 4 eggs
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 125 g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 1.50 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 g white chocolate, as chips or chopped into pieces
  • Chocolate Flakes and Cadbury’s Mini Eggs to decorate

For the Ganache:

  • 300 ml double or regular cream
  • 400 g white chocolate, in drops or broken into pieces
  • 75 g butter, softened and cut into 2cm cubes

To Make:

First make the ganache. Place the cream in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then immediately remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate.
Stir to melt the chocolate – you may need to place it back over a low heat, just so all the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until tepid.
Add the butter to the melted chocolate, a few cubes at a time, beating the mixture until all the butter has been incorporated. Leave in the fridge for about 2 hours, stirring a couple of times as it cools. It should stiffen but still be spreadable.
Make sure to take the ganache out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before icing the cake. It may be necessary to beat the mixture with a wooden spoon to make it spread more easily.

To Bake:

While the ganache is cooling, you can make the cakes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter the sides of the cake tins and dust with flour, then line each base with a disc of baking parchment.
Using an electric food mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar together on a high speed for several minutes or until light and mousse-like.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and chocolate pieces, then fold into the egg and sugar mixture. Divide the batter between the prepared tins and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden on top and lightly springy to the touch.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then loosen around the edges using a small, sharp knife. Carefully remove each cake before transferring to a wire rack to cool down fully.

To Decorate:

When the cakes are cool, place one upside down on a cake plate or stand, then spread over some of the ganache to about 4–5mm thick.
Place the second cake on top the right way up and use the rest of the ganache to cover the cake completely. Using a palette knife or the back of a spoon, lightly flick the ganache to make peaks all over the cake.

You can decorate the cake to suit whatever theme you have in mind, for the Easter theme I used Cadbury’s flakes shaped into a nest and added 3 mini-eggs. I also lined the bottom of the cake with mini eggs.

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Vanilla Biscuits with a Raspberry Filling

This recipe uses the Vanilla Biscuit Recipe from a previous post and a divine raspberry filling, both come from separate recipes in The Great British Bake Off Book

Vanilla & Raspberry Biscuits

Vanilla & Raspberry Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 large free range egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 450g plain flour
  • Good pinch of salt

You will also need mixed shaped cutters and a smaller one to make a whole in the middle. 2 baking sheets lined with baking paper.

To Bake:

Beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar.

In a small bowl beat the egg and vanilla together with a fork until frothy, then gradually beat into the butter mixture. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl and work them into the butter mixture with your hands to make a shortbread–like dough. Bring the dough together into a ball, then flatten to a thick disk. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes until firm enough to roll out.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured worked up to 4mm thickness.Cut out shapes using floured biscuit cutter, then use the smaller cutter on half of the shapes, then gather up the trimmings into a ball and re-roll and repeat. Arrange the shapes well apart on lined baking sheets and chill for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Bake for about 12 minutes until a pale gold colour. If necessary rotate the baking sheets halfway through baking so the biscuits colour evenly. Leave the biscuits to cool on the baking sheet, then carefully peel from the lining paper.

For the filling:

  • 200g of raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

To make the filling, put the raspberries, cornflour and caster sugar into a medium-sized pan. Set over medium heat and stir gently onto the juices start to run and the fruit softens. Bring to the boil and simmer for two minutes, stirring, until thick. Pour into a heat proof bowl and leave to cool.

To assemble, spread the cold raspberry filling over the uncut biscuits, then top each with a cut out shape. Dust with icing sugar. Once filled, eat the biscuits the same day. The unfilled biscuits can be stored in a air-tight tin for up to 4 days, and the filling can be kept covered in the fridge for 4 days.

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Vanilla Biscuits

We bought some cute biscuit cutters and decided to test them out on my favourite biscuit recipe. The recipe is from The Great British Bake Off Book.

Vanilla Biscuits

Vanilla Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • One large free range egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 450g plain flour
  • Good pinch of salt

To Bake:

Beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar.

In a small bowl beat the egg and vanilla together with a fork until frothy, then gradually beat into the butter mixture. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl and work them into the butter mixture with your hands to make a shortbread–like dough. Bring the dough together into a ball, then flatten to a thick disk. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes until firm enough to roll out.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured worked up to 4mm thickness.Using floured biscuit cutters, cut out shapes and then gather up the trimmings into a ball and re-roll and cut more shapes. Arrange the shapes well apart on lined baking sheets and chill for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Bake for about 12 minutes until a pale gold colour. If necessary rotate the baking sheets halfway through baking so the biscuits colour evenly. Leave the biscuits to cool on the baking sheet, then carefully peel from the lining paper.

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Apple Crumble Cake

Oh I am very fussy about my apple crumble, any type of apple cake really. The thought of biting into an apple pie and feeling a crunch *shudder*

So if you like smooth apple, a spongy base with a sweet crumble on top, this is the recipe for you.

I have adapted it from a recipe for a Ballymaloe mincemeat crumble cake in Rachel Allen’s Cake book.

Yummy Apple Crumble

Yummy Apple Crumble

Ingredients:

100g butter softened, plus extra for greasing
100g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons of milk
175g self-raising flour
3 cooking apples
Icing sugar for sprinkling

For the crumble topping:
100g self-raising flour sifted
75g caster sugar
75g butter chilled and cut into 1 cm cubes

You will also need a 22cm diameter, loose bottomed cake tin with 6cm sides.

Now to Bake:

Preheat the oven to 180°C and butter the side and base of the cake tin make sure that the base of the tin is upside down so there’s no lip and the cake can easily slide off when cooked.

To make the crumble topping:

Place the flour and the caster sugar in a bowl, then add the butter and use your fingertips to rub in until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Kids love to help with this,  lots of fun and messy hands!

To make the sponge:

Cream the butter until soft in an electric food mixer and add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl with the vanilla bean paste and milk until just mixed then gradually add them to the creamed butter mixture beating all the time. Place the mixture into a large bowl and sift in the flour and fold in gently to combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin then using a table spoon evenly spread it over the base of the tin.

Wash and peel the apples. I like my apples to be soft with a smooth texture in my cakes so I like to grate the apples before putting it in the cake. I use an electric kitchen machine for this but if you don’t have one you could just cut the apple into thin slices. When your apples are prepared, place them evenly on top of the sponge mixture. Finally sprinkle the crumble topping on top, be sure to completely cover the apple and sponge mixture below.

Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes, if you insert a skewer into the centre of the cake it should come out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for at least 20 minutes then loosen around the edges using the dull side of a knife and removed the sides of the tin, transfer your cake onto a plate and dust with sifted icing sugar.

Serve:

I can only eat this cake warm but there are many members of my family that don’t care about the temperature. It is also lovely with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Apple Crumble Cake

Apple Crumble Cake