Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Real life baking

Everyone that celebrates Christmas has Christmas traditions, and one of mine is baking. Throughout the year I make the odd quiche or flapjack, but at this time of year I go a little wild on the baking front. The main candidates are mince pies, gingerbread, fairy cakes and whatever else I fancy, which can be florentines or macaroons or who knows what. I spend a day just before Christmas baking up a storm to be given out to the various family members we visit during the holidays.

Here's what this year's baking session extraordinaire yielded.

Mince Pies. It's not really Christmas in England until you have some mince pies. Mine are small and a bit ugly, but they taste gorgeous! For anyone unfamiliar with mince pies, they're little pastry pies full of mincemeat, which doesn't actually have any meat in it. It's a concoction of dried fruits, sugar and spices that just tastes of Christmas.


Gingerbread biscuits. Another flavour of Christmas that I love, plus I have found an (almost) idiot-proof recipe so even I rarely mess it up. I'll post the recipe at the bottom of this post.

Fairy Cakes. These aren't particularly Christmassy, but my husband likes them so they get baked. The ones with the cherries on top are for me!

Banana Oaties are something that I make all year round as a breakfast item. They are extremely simple and rather good for you. The only ingredients are mashed bananas and oats! But at Christmas I make a slightly unhealthier version by adding some leftover mincemeat from the mince pies for a Christmassy flavour. Yum. The original recipe can be found here. It's still better for you than nearly anything else we consume at Christmas.

Gingerbread biscuit recipe
I can't remember where I found this recipe, it's certainly not my own! But it's easy to follow and makes lovely gingerbread biscuits.
You will need:
350g plain flour
1-2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g butter or margarine
175g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
4 tablespoons golden syrup
Makes about 20 biscuits.
Put the flour, ginger and soda into a bowl and rub in the butter.
Add the sugar and stir in the syrup and egg to make a firm dough.
Roll out to about 5mm thick and cut out your biscuits. I just make round ones as I only have a round cutter, but clearly I need to invest in some gingerbread men cutters!
Bake at 190 C/Gas 5 on a greased or lined baking tray for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Space them out as they will spread! Leave to firm up for a couple of minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool.
Once cooled, decorate (the fun part!).
The raw dough is super tasty but it contains raw egg so you shouldn't eat it (not that I heed my own advice). You have been warned!


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