Simple Christmas Baking and Treat Recipes

“Christmas is a tonic for our souls. It moves us to think of others rather than of ourselves. It directs our thoughts to giving.” B.C. Forbes

 

It’s less than a month until Christmas, but there is still plenty of time to whip up a tasty treat or two to share with friends, to gift, or to make your own Christmas a little more yummy.

One of the things I love about food as a gift at Christmas is that it is something almost everyone appreciates, and it is a consumable so it won’t add to the growing mountain of plastic waste, pointless gag gifts and credit card debt.

When you share your gifts think about using wrapping and packaging that won’t cost the earth. Go find an old tin or some pretty old china at the Thrift Store, or wash and reuse glass jars with a circle of bright fabric or paper tied over the lid to make it festive. Cardboard, paper, ribbon, string, fabirc, waxed cotton and flowers from the garden all make great packaging and decoration too.

Here are some of my favorourite Christmas cooking ideas. All of them are easy, quick and well-tested by at least one of my Christmas Elves (Ben, Rufous, Cafe Dog, the neighbours or the staff of the Bangalow Post Office!) and me. Just click on the link to go to the recipe.

Macadamia Shortbread Recipe

 

Easy Fruit Cake Rum Balls

 

Festive Fudge Recipe

 

Heavenly Chocolate Brownies

 

Gluten-Free No Bake Yummy Slice

 

Last-Minute Christmas Cake Recipe

Five Minute Fudge

 

Easy Peach and Vanilla Jam Recipe

 

Prize-Winning Coconut Ice

 

Green Goji Bliss Balls (Healthy but AMAZINGLY GOOD!)

Much love, Nicole  xx

 

 

How To Soak Dried Fruit For Your Christmas Cake!

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” 
Calvin Coolidge

Do you make your own Christmas fruitcake each year? If you do it’s time to soak your fruit, in preparation for a flavoursome and moist cake. If you don’t why not join us and make your own. I promise it’s easier than you think, and the taste of a homemade Christmas cake will always surpass a store-bought one. My grandmother Marga taught me the importance of fruit soaking for a great-tasting cake, and I think of her every year when I prepare my fruit.

Here are my two favourite Christmas Cake Recipes. Both use 1.2kg of mixed fruit. Good combinations include raisins, currants, sultanas, mixed peel, glace cherries, cranberries, prunes and dates – but use what you prefer. I often buy a kilogram bag of mixed dried fruit and then add a 200g bag of glace cherries. To soak this much fruit I use a cup of liquid – either alcohol or black tea. Don’t use a fruit juice to soak over time as it can ferment or go moldy!

This first recipe is for a traditional ‘Make and Mature’ cake. This involves creaming together eggs and butter, sifting in the flours and spices and fruit and then slow baking. The texture and aroma of this cake are so incredibly good. (It’s the cake that is featured in the picture at the top of this post.)

Traditional Christmas Fruit Cake

The second is my ‘Last-Minute’ Christmas fruitcake. You literally melt and mix this cake in a big saucepan on the stove. It has no eggs and is a condensed milk fruit cake. So good! I know, it’s a recipe that can be made in a hurry if you didn’t have time to soak your fruit and ‘feed’ your cake, but it will taste even better if you’re organised enough to soak your fruit in advance.

Last-Minute Christmas Cake

No matter what recipe you choose, or even if you already have a recipe of your own to follow, the first step is to soak the fruit to make it plump and flavoursome.

What To Soak With And For How Long
You can use alcohol or black tea. With alcohol use dark rum, brandy, sherry or whiskey. My choice is usually a dark rum or brandy. Soak with alcohol for up to one month.

With black tea you can use a standard cup of very strong plain tea, but it also tastes amazing to use a flavoured black tea. I have used a vanilla-scented black tea, and also a chai tea and both of these added depth of flavour. If using tea soak for up to two weeks.

Note: If you live in an especially hot place fruit can ferment. Make sure to keep it in a cool dark place (away from pets, small children and thieving partners) while it is soaking.

Cut Up Your Fruit First

Prepare the fruit by cutting any larger fruits into bite-sized pieces. Remove any pits or small stalks that you find. I usually leave cherries whole if small or cut them in half if they are super-big because I love the visuals of them studded through my cake, but feel free to leave whole or to cut as small as you desire.

Then make one of two choices.

1. Place your chopped and sorted fruit into a large ceramic bowl. Pour the alcohol or tea over. Stir well. Cover the dish with some kind of lid. Don’t let any metal touch the fruit.

2. Try my jar method. Take a large glass jar, big enough to fit your fruit. Layer the fruit or mix together and then spoon into jar. Add alcohol or tea. Place lid on tightly and then turn jar upside down a few times to distribute liquid.

Stir or upend the jar occasionally until the fruit is plump and moist and ready for your cake.

If the liquid is completely absorbed you can add a little more, a tablespoon at each time, every few days. This is known as ‘feeding your fruit’.

When you are ready to bake your cake take the fruit out of the bowl or jar and reserve any syrup that is left behind. This can be used to brush over the cooked cake (which is known as ‘feeding your cake’ but it is also good on ice-cream!

Sending kitchen happiness your way, Nicole ❤ xx