Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas baking

All the shopping is done, presents bought, wrapped, and under the tree. All that is left to do is some Christmas baking.  I love baking at this time of the year as I love leafing through all my Christmas books and deciding what to make.  One of my fav books is Nigella's Christmas Kitchen, so I whipped up these Chocolate Christmas Cookies and Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies yesterday from her book.

Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies

150g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
75g rolled oats (not instant)
125g soft butter
75g dark brown sugar
100g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g dried cranberries
50g pecans, roughly chopped
150g white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180oC/ 350°F/gas mark 4.

Measure out the flour, baking powder, salt and rolled oats into a bowl.
Put the butter and sugars into another bowl and beat together until creamy — this is obviously easier with an electric mixer of some kind, but you just need to put some muscle into otherwise — then beat in the egg and vanilla.
Beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and oat mixture and then fold in the cranberries, chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into a ball with your hands, and then place them on a lined or greased baking sheet and squish the dough balls down with a fork. You may need two baking sheets or be prepared to make these in two batches.
Cook for 15 minutes; when ready, the cookies will be tinged a pale gold, but be too soft to lift immediately off the tray, so leave the tray on a cool surface and let them harden for about 5 minutes. Remove with a spatula to cool fully on a wire rack.

Chocolate Christmas Cookies

1 1/8 cups soft butter ( 2 1/4 sticks, 18 tbsp)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
candy sprinkles or sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F Line a cookie sheet with parchment or Silpat.
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Sift 1/3 c cocoa powder into the mixture and beat well. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder, and add to mixture. (Optionally, combine everything in a food processor and mix until combined.).
Form 1 tbsp sized balls. Place on cookie sheet at least 2" apart, pressing down into fat discs. (The dough will be very sticky; gloves may be a good idea.).
Bake 15 minutes. The tops will develop a cracked appearance. Cool 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled. (Placing a sheet of newspaper under the rack will help catch drips in the next step.).
For the topping, combine 2 tbsp cocoa powder with confectioner's sugar, boiling water and vanilla in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat and whisk until smooth. Cool 10 minutes.
Drizzle 1 tbsp of glaze on each cookie, spreading lightly with the back of the spoon, then sprinkle with sprinkles or sanding sugar. Work with 6 cookies at a time so the glaze doesn't dry out before applying the sprinkles.

I also went blueberry picking the other day and with the help of 2 willing  bribed teenagers, we scored ourselves loads of fresh blueberries. I think they ate more than they picked but not to worry. then whipped this Blueberry Cheesecake up for dessert.  


  1. Ooh, it all looks so yummy! Beautiful cookies and that cheesecake!! Makes me hungry just looking at it! Have a very merry Christmas, Deb!

  2. Yum your baking looks delicious especially that blueberry cheese cake! Must take my girls berry picking soon.

  3. I usually love to bake at Christmas too, but this year I just don't have the time and I refuse to stress myself out about it. I think I might feel some New Year baking coming on!

  4. Merry Christmas to you and yours Deb, thanks for the fabrics they have arrived and we are making plans for them.


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