It's not too early to start Christmas baking is it? No? You're sure? Good. Tis the season to be
I reckon as soon as the Christmas adverts have become water-cooler discussions, work Christmas do dates have been set and school assemblies are full of Nativity auditions then my festive biscuit cutters can be dusted down.
Talking of Christmas adverts, one of my favourite (well, it is baking themed) is the Waitrose ad, which follows the story of Ellie, a school girl baking gingerbread for her school fete. As part of the campaign, Waitrose are calling on budding bakers across the UK to bake something sweet to share with others during this season of goodwill. To take part bake something special for a friend, share your photos using the #BakeItForward hashtag and nominate them to do the same. There is lots of great baking inspiration and festive recipes on the Waitrose website. Every day Waitrose will surprising people involved with festive treats, including hampers and bottles of champagne.
As part of #bakeitforward Waitrose invited me to bake something special. As if I need an excuse to bake some Christmassy treats! I baked these warmly spiced Christmas Pudding biscuits, studded with boozy dried fruit and covered in indulgent dark chocolate for my sister, who loves Christmas just as much as I do!
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Biscuits
2 tsps brandy
50g dried cranberries
50g mixed peel
125g melted butter
125g light brown soft sugar
1 large egg
225g plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
50g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
150g dark chocolate, melted
100g ready to roll white icing
50g ready to roll green icing
25g ready to roll red icing
1. Put the sultanas, cranberries and mixed peel in a bowl with the brandy. Stir, cover with cling film and put in the fridge to steep overnight*. When ready to use, strain off any remaining liquid. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F. Grease and line two baking trays with baking paper
2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until combined
3. Fold in the flour, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda until a dough forms, stir in the dried fruit, zests and almonds
4. Using a tablespoon drop rounded balls of dough onto the baking sheets, ensuring each cookie is well spaced as apart. There is no need to flatten the dough
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden
6. Once cooled, dip into the melted chocolate and place aside to set.
7. Use a daisy biscuit cutter to cut out the 'Christmas Pudding brandy cream' decoration from the white icing. Using a small holly cutter, cut two holly leaves for each biscuit. Form two small berries out of the red icing for each biscuit. Continue, until all are decorated.
- * This is step is optional but hey, it is Christmas...
- You can use a combination of various dried fruits and nuts, simply raid your storecupboard or use any ingredients left over from Stir Up Sunday
- With thanks to Waitrose, who sent me a bundle of baking goodies and vouchers to partake in and promote #bakeitforward