Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Baking over Christmas

 
I did a lot of Baking in the run up to Christmas and Nathan and I were tasked with providing the puddings on Christmas day. I also made some holiday treats for people at work. My favourite was the cookie punch that Nathan bought me in New York. You can write any message you want.... I went for cleaner messages than Nathan suggested! I loved the way they looked although this recipe wasn't the best gingerbread I have tasted!
  
 Happy Holidays!
 

  
The best recipe I made all Christmas was Nigella Lawsons Christmas Rocky Road. I had watched her preparing it on her show just before Christmas. It went down a storm at work and Nathan LOVED it! See recipe below. I sadly didn't take any photos but it looked great!

This recipe appears in Nigella's book Feast, published by Chatto & Windus.

Christmas Rocky Road Ingredients

250g/9oz dark chocolate, chopped
150g/5oz milk chocolate, chopped
175g/6oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
4 tbsp golden syrup
200g/7oz amaretti biscuits
150g/5oz shelled Brazil nuts
150g/5oz red glacé cherries
125g/4oz mini marshmallows
1 tbsp icing sugar
edible glitter, to decorate (optional)

Method

1. Place the dark and milk chocolate pieces into a heavy-based pan. Add the butter and golden syrup and cook over a low heat to melt and combine.
2. Place the amaretti biscuits into a freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin to make crumbs of various sizes.
3. Place the Brazil nuts into another freezer bag and bash in the same way.
4. Take the pan of melted chocolate mixture off the heat and add the crushed biscuits and nuts.
5. Add the glacé cherries and mini marshmallows. Fold the mixture carefully to coat all of the solid ingredients with the syrupy chocolate mixture.
6. Pour the mixture into a 25cm/10in x 30cm/12in greased and lined baking tray and smooth the surface as much as possible (although it will look bumpy).
7. Refrigerate for two hours, or until firm enough to cut. Dust with icing sugar, then sprinkle with edible glitter if you wish.
8. Remove the block of rocky road from the tray and cut into 24 rectangles.

  
Another success was Nigella Lawson's Christmas Chocolate Biscuits/Cookies. Very crumbly but great with a glass of milk- or a Bailey's.Online I can only find the American recipe- although my recipe I used was much simplier. 

Christmas Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/4 sticks (18 tablespoons) soft butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • For the Festive Topping:
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup boiling water, from a kettle
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Christmas sprinkles 
Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl and when you have a light, soft whipped mixture, beat in the 1/3 cup cocoa powder (sifting if it is lumpy), and when that's mixed in, beat in the flour with the baking soda and baking powder. Or just put everything in the processor and blitz, if you prefer.

This mixture is very soft and sticky and I find it easiest to form the coolers wearing my disposable vinyl gloves, so pinch off pieces about 1 tablespoon in size, roll them into balls, then slightly flatten into fat discs as you place them well spaced on your cookie sheet; you should get about 12 on at a time.

Back each batch for 15 minutes; even though the cookies won't feel as if they've had enough time , the will continue to cook as they cool. They will look slightly cracked on top and it's this cozy, homespun look I love.

Remove the cookie sheet to a cold surface and let it sit for 15 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack, with a sheet of newspaper under it to catch drips while topping them.

To make the topping, put the cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar, water and vanilla extract into a small saucepan and whisk over a low heat until everything is smoothly combined. Take off the heat for 10 minutes.

When the cookies are cool, drizzle each one with the tablespoonful of chocolate glaze, to glue the sprinkles on in a minute, using the back of the spoon to help spread the mixture, though an uneven dribbly look is part of their charm.

After you've iced six cookies, scatter with some of the Christmas sprinkles and continue this until all the cookies are topped. "If you ice them all before sprinkling, you will find the cocoa "glue" has dried and the sprinkles won't stick on.

 
And last but not least I made our Christmas Pudding with the same recipe as last year- although sadly not leaving it enough time to mature. I should have really done it before we went to the States... but you live and learn! 
 
 I love all the citrus that goes into it and the whole almons and whole glace cherries- yum!
  
 The end result on Christmas day! It looked great.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i shall be making the choc cookies - the ones you gave me at christmas were amazing. i am however horrified by the butter content! no wonder they were so delicious!! xx