Category: Festival baking

Christmas tree cookies- The quick and easy way

Christmas Tree cookiesThe cookie gift of giving

This weekend the girls are going to a Christmas party for the whole of Year One. I offered to make some cookies for the big event- this is our first Chrimbo party of the season so my first baking session (there are lots more planned!) I decided that as I need to make 40 cookies I needed to have a plan that would be really easy. In all they took in about 2 hours to make. Not bad for so many!

To make the Christmas tree cookies

You will need

1 x Vanilla cookie dough (see here for recipe to make around 30 cookies)

Rolling pin

Spacing sticks

icing sugar to dust

sugarpaste in green

cookie cutter

new damp sponge / damp kitchen roll will do

Spatula / cookie lift

To make the cookies
Cut out the Christmas tree cookie

Roll out the dough between two spacing sticks to ensure that each cookie is exactly the same. Cut out as many trees as you can. Avoid over kneading the dough as it makes the texture tough.

The more cool the dough is, the less the cookie will spread when being baked. Load up the baking trays and pop them in the fridge for a while if the dough has become too soft.

Vanilla cookies straight out of the oven

Then bake the cookies until the edges start to brown and your whole kitchen smells like vanilla. Around 12-15 minutes. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

To ice the cookies, roll out a thin layer of green sugarpaste(about 3-5mm thick) Use the same tree cookie cutter to cut out each piece of sugarpaste. If the dough was cold going into the oven the cookies shouldn’t have spread too much and the green tree shaped icing will fit on top perfectly. To make sure that the icing stays put place it on a new damp sponge or dampen a piece of kitchen paper. Don’t let the sugarpaste get soggy.

Lay the sugarpaste on a Christmas tree cookie

Position the sugarpaste over the cookie. It may need a bit of tweaking to make it fit but it’s malleable at this stage and can be made to fit quite easily. Smooth down any icing that goes over the edge of the cookie as once it has dried it will be brittle and will break off.

 Smooth the icing with the palm of your hand

Once in position smooth the sugarpaste with the palm of your hand then set aside to harden up a little. I leave them overnight.

Decorating the Christmas tree cookies

There are so many options when it comes to what you can then do to decorate these Christmas tree cookies. I did a load of different ideas but the world is your oyster.

What you'll need

I made up a small amount of royal icing to make the balls and sprinkles stick. I used my new toy, the Leuke Decomax icing kit (more to come on that later) silver and pearl balls, red edible glitter and multicoloured sprinkles.

ice lines for the decorations

I iced lines of royal icing across the tree.

silver or multi colour decs!

Diagonal lines worked much better than straight ones!

Add the Sprinkles to the Christmas tree cookies

Then I added the sprinkles. These ones were from the supermarket and looked so much better than I expected.

The glitter worked well too but made a lot of mess! Once dry I had to dust off in between the lines of glitter with a paint brush.

Add the balls

Individual dots of icing were great for holding the silver balls in place. On some I made the dots of royal icing bigger, added a ball and then added sprinkles on top. These were my favorite ones!

I had to do these when my daughters weren’t around or I wouldn’t have got a look in! It is so much fun to do.

Once you have finished decorating the cookies leave them overnight to dry, then bag them up in cellophane bags with festive ribbons. They make the perfect personal Christmas gift.

I can’t wait to take these to the party on Saturday!

What are you baking for gifts this Christmas? I’d love to know.

Christmas tree cookies

The lightest Honey cake recipe ever!

Making the perfect honey cake for Rosh Hashannah

I used to think that Honey cake was so hard to make! You would think that after years and years of making it I would have it mastered  but no. Last year I decided to go all out and make a huge batch for the whole family, tennis mums and work colleagues alike. It was no mean feat seeing as I only had one evening to do it in and an oven with a thermostatic mind of its own.

I set off with my tins and disposable metal containers and started to make 5 times the recipe. It took an age to prepare and I didn’t listen to my own advice – three times any mixture is the most you should do in one go! Apart from anything the trusty Kitchen aid can’t handle any more than that, but it also messes with the ‘science of baking’.  Anyway, It took me so long to get it all whisked, folded and in the tins that my old oven got way too hot. Within 10 minutes of putting the mixture in the oven they were burnt on top and still all liquid mixture underneath. It was a mess. That’s when I started again and came up with this recipe, oh and got a new oven!

The lesson learned from last year is take your time with the mixture and don’t let your oven get too hot!!!!

The winning Honey cake formula

I’ve tweaked this cake so that it’s extra light and fluffy but still a bit firm and sticky -definitely not too heavy. It’s totally moorish and I make it mainly for Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year, but it makes a great tea cake too.

Light and fluffy Honey Cake Ingredients

90g plain flour

100g Self Raising flour

1¼ tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp ground cinnamon

4 eggs (separated)

100g caster sugar

110ml honey

110ml sunflour oil

110ml tea (the stronger the better)

To make the cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 150 C / gas mark 2.  Line a round 25cm tin or two loaf tins with baking paper.
  2. Sieve the plain flour, self raising flour,baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ground cinnamon together in a bowl.

    Beau ready for action
  3. In a separate bowl mix the egg yolks and sugar.
  4.  Add the oil and honey in a steady stream to the eggs and sugar mix, beating the whole time.
  5. Whisk up the egg whites till they form soft peaks.
  6. Add the flour and dry ingredients and tea to the mixture.
  7. Gently fold in the egg whites. Be careful not to over mix. Fold until the whites are no longer visible. The more you mix the less air there will be in the cake and the heavier it will be.
  8. Pour the mixture into the tin. Don’t overfill the tins as this cake rises quite a lot during baking.
  9. Bake the loaf tins for 25 minutes and the 25cm round tin for 40 minutes.
  10. A skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean. You can also press lightly on the centre of the cake. If it springs back it’s ready.
  11. When it comes out of the oven the cake will be well risen. As it cools down it will sink. Don’t worry. This is normal.

    Honey cakes all puffed up and out of the oven
Honey cakes cooled and slightly sunk.

This is the lightest Honey cake recipe I’ve ever used. My mum uses syrup in her cakes which makes a much more sticky cake (which is also delish) and lots of people add a handful of walnuts or raisins, which are also good additions,but I like it plain and simple.

I hope you enjoy this cake and I wish you a

“Chag Sameach”

(Or Happy Jewish New Year to you all)

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