Edible Christmas labels

Today I am sharing an excerpt from a post from last year. Light and buttery, melt in the mouth chocolate labels to make the Christmas tree extra special or jazz up a gift!

3 days to go! Still not got all the Christmas shopping done? Feeling stuck for gift ideas? Feel the panic rising as you wish you’d thought about all of this at the beginning of December instead of 3 days  before Xmas??!!

I swear, that yesterday was December 1st but when I woke up this morning and started packing my suitcase for Christmas away I had to admit that it was definitely the 22rd of December and in a blink of an eye a whole month had whizzed by. If you have woken up to the 22rd Dec in a breathless panic fear not and read on!

I am calming myself down by writing, baking and getting back on track. Here we go!

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I like nothing better than giving gifts but I feel like I have exhausted all present ideas this year. I want to give the people I love in my life something that is original, thoughtful and most of all wanted! There is nothing worse that receiving a gift that there is either no room for in the house, that is whacked on ebay the minute the gift giver has walked out the front door or that hangs around the house for the next couple of years hidden in a corner only to see the light of day when said gift giver pops round. So I am baking gifts this Christmas knowing that each one is personal to the friend or family member I am giving it to. Plus it can be shared with others too. The love goes a long way!

Instead of slugging it down Oxford street, battling it out with the cold and all the other desperate shoppers stay at home, put the heating on, drink tea and listen to the radio while you tailor make a treat for someone you love. For an even more thoughtful and cost effective gift you can box and wrap them in things you make or design using bits and bobs from around the house. Some of these can even be hung on the tree and you can get the kids to help you too.

To wrap and box my presents I am using cellophane bags (these can be bought from any of the cake craft companies on line and egg boxes which I have painted in vintage white with tons of ribbon.

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 These are great fun to make and a number of them accidentally got broken which meant I had to keep eating them as I went (it’s so hard doing my job!!) Light, crumbly and buttery, dipped in Orange dark chocolate for the adults and milk chocolate and dusted with glitter for the kids. I will be having a glittery one this year as at Christmas I revert back to about 10 years old. It’s a funny thing. It usually starts when I am sent to sit with my cousins on an old picnic table that has been brought in from the shed and is masquerading as the other half of the dining table. We sit on stools or old boxes of books pretending to be chairs and pretending (not very well) at being comfortable! It’s the kids table but the problem is we are now all between 21 and 32.

I will be hanging these on the tree the night before Christmas so that first thing in the morning we can pluck them off and eat them before breakfast! So you will need some ribbon for this! If you have a piping bag you can write names on the biscuits and actually use them as gift tags on your wrapped gifts to makes them extra special.

These are from a lovely little recipe I saw in Jamie Oliver’s Magazine last Christmas. Make these on Christmas Eve with any young cousin’s, nephews or daughters that need amusing. Or in my case the boyfriend!!

Ingredients – (makes about 20 ish)

300g Plain four

150g caster sugar

250g butter (room temp)

1 egg yolk

1tbsp milk

(1tsp) vanilla extract

200g Dark Chocolate Orange and 100g Milk Chocolate.

Ribbon

Edible Glitter or anything else you would like to decorate with.
Method –

1 – Preheat the oven to gas 180°C

2 – In a large mixing bowl whip together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy .

3 – Beat the egg yolk, milk and vanilla in a jug/bowl and add to our butter/sugar mixture.

4- Add flour and mix until we bring a dough together.

5 – between 2 sheets of baking paper roll out the dough to just under 1cm thick. Cut shapes out with your label cutter. Now to make the holes to thread your ribbon through. After looking through the cupboard with my friend while considering many different baking tools she suggested the end of a birthday candle to make the holes. They are perfect! Otherwise if you own a skewer that would do (but a bit trickier).

6 – With a pallet knife lift biscuits on to a lined baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes golden in colour (make sure to whip them out before the edges start to deepen in colour) we want a nice even colour. Place on a cooling rack.

7 – Melt the each chocolate in the microwave for 2 mins, checking twice and stirring.  Dip half of each biscuit in the chocolate. Let the excess drip off then place on a sheet of baking paper. Leave to set. With my glitter  and milk chocolate labels I dripped chocolate with a tsp back and forth over half of the biscuit.

8 – When all set grab your self some Christmassy ribbon thread through each biscuit label and hang on the tree!

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Have a wonderful Christmas and a really positive and feel good beginning

to 20016.

Treat yourself well.

Yours truly,

The Cake Diaries xoxo

Edible Christmas gift ideas.

1 day to go! Still not got all the Christmas shopping done? Feeling stuck for gift ideas? Feel the panic rising as you wish you’d thought about all of this at the beginning of December instead of a day and a half before Xmas??!! I swear, that yesterday was December 1st but when I woke up this morning and started packing my suitcase for Christmas away I had to admit that it was definitely the 23rd of December and in a blink of an eye a whole month had whizzed by. If you have woken up to the 23rd Dec in a breathless panic fear not and read on!

I am calming myself down by writing, baking and getting back on track. Here we go!

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I like nothing better than giving gifts but I feel like I have exhausted all present ideas this year. I want to give the people I love in my life something that is original, thoughtful and most of all wanted! There is nothing worse that receiving a gift that there is either no room for in the house, that is whacked on ebay the minute the gift giver has walked out the front door or that hangs around the house for the next couple of years hidden in a corner only to see the light of day when said gift giver pops round. So I am baking gifts this Christmas knowing that each one is personal to the friend or family member I am giving it to. Plus it can be shared with others too. The love goes a long way!

Instead of slugging it down Oxford street, battling it out with the cold and all the other desperate shoppers stay at home, put the heating on, drink tea and listen to the radio while you tailor make a treat for someone you love. For an even more thoughtful and cost effective gift you can box and wrap them in things you make or design using bits and bobs from around the house. Some of these can even be hung on the tree and you can get the kids to help you too.

To wrap and box my presents I am using cellophane bags (these can be bought from any of the cake craft companies on line and egg boxes which I have painted in vintage white with tons of ribbon.
Baked blueberry Doughnuts dusted in cinnamon sugar.

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What an absolute delight these little fancies are. Baked not fried and if you ask me and any of my friends that have eaten these they are better than the traditional. They are doughy, fluffy goodness, with a lovely golden colour. The deep purple blue of the blueberry jam is such a nice surprise in the middle and covered delightfully by cascades of cinnamon sugar dusted all over.

I want to thank Alida Ryder on Simply Delicious for this gorgeous recipe,especially for blueberry conserve. That is why this recipe caught my eye in the first place. I just love Jam! I think these could be lovely with Damson jam too.

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Ingredients –

(makes about 16)

200g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

100ml plain yoghurt

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g butter, melted

150g caster Sugar

blueberry Jam

Cinnamon and caster sugar to dust.

Method –

Pre- heat the oven to 180°c

1-Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl. Melt the butter in a sauce pan.

2- In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, yoghurt and vanilla together and butter to our dry ingredients and mix genially.

2 -In a greased muffin or fairy cake tin place 1 tbsp of the mixture into each hole then add a tsp of the jam and another tbsp. of mixture on top making sure you can not see any of the lovely jam.

3 – Place the tray in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden.#

4 – Put onto a cooling rack and cool for 4 – 5 mins.

5 – Get a big bowl and dust in caster sugar and cinnamon and mix then add each doughnut and coat each lovingly with your fingers I dusted it as I went too. As much sugar and cinnamon as you please.

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Fiery Ginger and chili chocolate love bites!

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I call these my love bites. They are basically cake pops that have been toppled off their stick towers. The great thing about these is that you can get really creative with the recipe and if you haven’t had that much experience in experimenting with baked food recipes before these are perfect to mess around with as the steps are the same every time and you can pick and choose which cake you like best and what wet ingredients you want to use too.

I am doing 3 different recipes this year for gifts where the method is the same each time.

STEPS –

Step 1 – Prepare and make your favourite ginger day recipe. I have 2 I love. Check out Marry Berries Ginger cake or Leith’s Treacle ginger cake (this has a really intense flavour and is sticky perfection).

Step 2 – Once baked and cooled it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. This is the best bit. Break the cake down and rub between your fingers we are aiming for a bread crumb consistency.

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Step 3 – In a separate bowl add 3 tablespoons of full fat cream cheese and 3 table spoons of icing sugar (confectioners) and mix together,

Step 4 – Add the wet mixture to the cake crumbs and mix in. The cake is turning into a dough. Now it’s time to shape into balls. With a table spoon scoop out a heaped table spoon of dough (we want able 1 tbsp and a half of mixtures for each ball. Roll between your palms to make them as round as possible.

Step 5 – Stick each ball with a tooth pick (this is going to help you to coat the balls in melted chocolate later). Put all balls into an air tight container and freeze for around 3 hours.

Step 6 – Melt 100g of Green & Blacks Chilli Chocolate and 100g of 75% dark chocolate. I do this by putting a bowl in the microwave and melting for 2 mins checking and stirring around 2 times. Add a pinch of chilli powder from the Cupboard to the chocolate for added zing!

Step 7 – Now we are going to dip each love bite in chocolate making sure they are covered all over. What to do next? Well I am lucky enough to have found myself some Styrofoam which can hold my love bite laden tooth picks but here are 2 other options if you don’t happen to have any foam (don’t ask me where I got it, no idea!).

Option 1 – Grab 2 tins of tomatoes , baked beans etc.. and balance a cooling rack on top. The tins should be either end of the wrack. Thread the tooth pick through the wrack with the love bite resting on top of the rack. Option 2 – put the love bite on some baking paper with the tooth pick sticking up.

Step 8 – Allow to cool for an hour. Pull the tooth picks out gently. If there are some rather obvious holes left add a little melted chocolate to tidy up.

Hay presto you are done!
Lemon, white chocolate and Pistachio Love bites in egg boxes.

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Ingredients –

Favourite Lemon sponge.

Good quality white chocolate for the dipping

Grated lemon rind

3 Table spoons Cream Cheese ( or unsalted butter)

1 Handful of Pistachio (crushed).

1 lemon

3 tablespoons Icing sugar
Method –

1 – Just as before go through the same method as with the ginger cake to get to cake crumb stage.

2 – Grate one Lemon rind into the cake crumbs

3 – Add the cream cheese and icing sugar and form the dough

4 – Melt the chocolate and get dipping

5 – Sprinkle on the crushed Pistachio and allow to set.

 

Peanut butter and milk Chocolate bombs

 

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Ingredients –

Favourite vanilla Sponge

3 table spoons Peanut butter

2 table spoons Cream cheese

3 tablespoons Icing sugar

Best quality Milk Chocolate.

1 – Just as before go through the same method as with the ginger cake and lemon cake to get to cake crumb stage.

2 – Add the peanut butter, cream cheese and icing sugar and form the dough

3 – Melt the chocolate and get dipping

4 –Allow to cool and you’re off.
Christmas Label Sugar cookies dipped in dark orange chocolate (Perfect to hang on the tree)

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These are great fun to make and a number of them accidentally got broken which meant I had to keep eating them as I went (it’s so hard doing my job!!) Light, crumbly and buttery dipped in Orange dark chocolate for the adults and milk chocolate and dusted with glitter for the kids. I will be having a glittery one this year as at Christmas I revert back to about 10 years old. It’s a funny thing. It usually starts when I am sent to sit with my cousins on an old picknic table that has been brought in from the shed and is masquerading as the other half of the dining table. We sit on stools or old boxes of books pretending to be chairs and pretending (not very well) at being comfortable! It’s the kids table but the problem is we are now all between 21 and 32.

There will be 18 of us this year on Christmas day and everyone has a label each. I will be hanging these on the tree the night before Christmas so that first thing in the morning we can pluck them off and eat them before breakfast! So you will need some ribbon for this!

These are from a lovely little recipe I saw in Jamie Oliver’s Magazine last Christmas. Make these on Christmas Eve with any young cousin’s, nephews or daughters that need amusing. Or in my case the boyfriend!!

Ingredients – (makes about 20 ish)

300g Plain four

150g caster sugar

250g butter (room temp)

1 egg yolk

1tbsp milk

(1tsp) vanilla extract

200g Dark Chocolate Orange and 100g Milk Chocolate.

Ribbon

Edible Glitter or anything else you would like to decorate with.
Method –

1 – Preheat the oven to gas 180°C

2 – In a large mixing bowl whip together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy .

3 – Beat the egg yolk, milk and vanilla in a jug/bowl and add to our butter/sugar mixture.

4- Add flour and mix until we bring a dough together.

5 – between 2 sheets of baking paper roll out the dough to just under 1cm thick Cut shapes out with your label cutter. Now to make the holes to thread your ribbon through. After looking through the cupboard with my friend for sometime considering many different baking tools she suggested then end of a birthday candle to make the holes. Which were perfect! Otherwise if you own a skewer that would do (but a bit trickier).

6 – With a pallet knife lift biscuits on to a lined baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes golden in colour( make sure to whip them out before the edges start to deepen in colour) we want a nice even colour. Place on a cooling rack.

7 – Melt the each chocolate in the microwave for 2 mins, checking twice and stirring.  Dip half of each biscuit in the chocolate. Let the excess drip off then place on a sheet of baking paper. Leave to set. With my glitter  and milk chocolate labels I dripped chocolate with a tsp back and forth over half of the biscuit.

8 – When all set grab your self some Christmassy ribbon thread through each biscuit label and hang on the tree!

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Spiced Carrot cake squares with white chocolate.

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You can make a gift out of most cakes. My friend loves carrot cake but instead of making her the whole cake I have made this as I tray bake, cut up into bite size squares and lovingly smothered in white chocolate. Adorable little gift. This can now be eaten and possible shared if she lets anyone get their grubby little mittson these on their car journey over to France. I have gone for an alpine, chalet, ‘we’re off skiing’ vibe with my decoration to get her in the mood. This can be done with any favourite cake. But the reason this works so well is that carrot cake is sturdy and moist.

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I am fully loaded with gorgeous edible gifts and I hope this has helped with a little Christmas gift inspiration.

Much happiness and rest over the Christmas holidays and all the luck and success for the New year.

Happy Christmas everyone,

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Yours truly,

The Cake Diaries xoxo

Pistachio and Rose water Shortbread hearts.

Cookie Credentials Continued….

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My Internets down and has been for the last 10 days!! My little fingers have been itching to blog about all that’s crumbly, fluffy, crispy, buttery, freshly baked, iced, diced, bouncy, moist, springy and oozing something delicious!! But alas it could not be and I have been bursting to get these Iranian inspired fancies on a page. Rose Water & Pistachio short bread Hearts.

Without the internet I have become agitated, forlorn, throwing myself on the bed and preying to the ceiling, why don’t you work? What have I done? Why can’t we sort this out? But we were so good together!!! I am constantly checking the connection like a teenager waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for the new love of my life to call and end this misery. But the internet does not love me. In fact I doubt it even remembers my name. Fine! because I have started a love affair with the internet in the café across the road. It has been good to me, dependable and has the added benefit of baked goods, coffee on tap and continuous Christmas hits that remind me remember to “rock around a Christmas tree, feed the world, that baby it’s cold outside, to stay another day, to look to the future, simply have a wonderful Christmas time, and to wish it was Christmas everydaaaayy!!”

To express my love I think it’s only apt that I share a recipe for something else I love dearly, Shortbread! So following on from my cookie credentials blog featuring my Avocado and dark chocolate all American cookie I about turn to a delicately flavoured middle eastern inspired biscuit.

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I love middle eastern sweets and they use all of my favourite nuts and spices – cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, almonds and pistachios. I wanted to do something that captures some of these flavours and pep up an old fashioned short bread recipe (which are always very popular with the family at Christmas). The short bread recipe I have chosen is a really simple one that anyone can do. Why simple? Well, I am really excited about baking and passionate about getting those who are afraid of the bake into the kitchen. Though baking can be more of an exact science than cooking shall we say,it can be simple and it can be fun! So to those I know who think of themselves as a disastrous baker be scared no more!

These make great gifts as they are very pretty and look gorgeous wrapped in Cellophane and tied with a bow. Think Christmas gift ideas. Apropos of my next blog ‘Homemade Christmas gifts’. Or a perfect ‘Thank you gift’ or just a ‘ I love you and am thinking of you gift’ which is the gift I gave my other half last week and that he took in his packed lunch to work ribbons and all. Short bread is my favourite type of biscuit and growing up with a lot of Scottish family many different types have been consumed.
There are many similar recipes out there and this is the one I use. But before we get started I’ve highlighted some BIG TIPS!

TIP 1 – I am using icing sugar as I want a more delicate biscuit which is perfect for the subtle flavours of Rose and Pistachio. Scottish short bread uses caster sugar and is more robust and crumbly.

TIP 2 – The short bread must be put in the fridge for 1 and a half hours which helps to develop flavour and helps it hold its shape.

TIP 3 – Bake in the middle of the oven exactly!! We need an even top and bottom heat for this. Bake for around 13 minutes but keep an eye on these, we want a nice even golden colour. Take them out just before the sides start to change from golden to light brown. Depending on your oven you may need to whip them out a little earlier or anything up to 15 mins.
Rose Water and Pistachio Short Bread –

For the biscuit – Makes around 12 Medium hearts.

190g Plain flour

170g unsalted Butter

90g Icing Sugar

1 large egg yolk

Pinch Salt

Pistachio’s

For the Ice –

2 tsp Rose Water (from any Middle eastern Super Market or from the foods of the world isle in Tesco).

Icing Sugar

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Method –

1 – Measure out your dry ingredients first in a large mixing bowl.

2 – Chop up your butter (room temp) and rub into dry ingredients to make bread crumbs

3 – Add the egg and form the dough. Pick it up and mould into a large ball.

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4 – Wrap the ball in cling film and set aside in the fridge for 1 and a half hours (now go and do something else for that time to stop yourself from cheating and taking it out early)

5 – Heat the oven 20 mins before you are ready to put the shortbread in at 170.C

6 – Grab yourself 2 large pieces of baking parchment. Put the dough ball between the sheets and roll out the dough on top of the top layer of the parchment to around half a centre meter thick. Cut out with a heart shape cutter (mine was around 6 cm big).IMG_3841

7 – Line a baking tray with baking Parchment add the short bread.

8 – Bake in the middle of the oven exactly!! We need an even top and bottom heat for this. Bake for around 13 minutes but keep an eye on these, we want a nice even golden colour. Take them out just before the sides start to change from golden to light brown. Depending on your oven you may need to whip them out a little earlier or anything up to 15 mins.

9 – Take out and put on a cooling rack. While cooling add 2 tsp of Rose Water in a bowl and sieve icing sugar slowly. Remember that the Rose Water is to be a subtle flavour and not like drinking a bottle of your great Aunts floral Perfume (which yes I have done by the way but I was only 5 and it just smelt so nice I thought I would just radiate it always if I consumed the bottle). So you may want to add a little tap water too. You want the icing to be runny and not watery. The constancy needs to be perfect to drizzle with so we can artistically drape our biscuits with our luxurious, pink, rose water ice. With a vintage pink food colouring or red add to the mixture to achieve the desired colour pink you want. I use Sugarflair colour paste. I think that the pastes are better than the liquid food colours you get in the supermarket. Colour paste lasts for ages and you just need a little for a big effect. If you are using paste for the first time I find it best to add the colour to the icing with a tooth pick dipped in the colour and then swirled into the icing. It always surprises me how little you need.

10 – With a teaspoon I drizzle the ice back and forth over the biscuit.

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Love the green colour of the pistachio’s in contrast to the pink ice. I think these biscuits are very elegant. They are delicate, buttery and crumbly. Drink with Earl grey yea for utter bliss and a taste of the high life.

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Grab yourself some Cellophane bags and some ribbon and make a lovely gift. I find using cake pop bags are fantastic and you can order them at any online cake craft store. A homemade gift is one of the best gifts as it is one of the most thoughtful and it’s from the heart and is actually…a heart…mine!

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Enjoy this cake adventure and add it to your cake diary. More homemade gifts to come next time in the run up to the big day.

The Cake Diaries xoxo