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Christmas Pudding Cookies

Christmas Pudding Cookies

christmas pudding cookieschristmas pudding cookies

I’ve been feeling christmassy since the leaves started falling, but now its less than a month till the big day I think I can get away with vocalising my excitement. Christmas pudding isn’t a favourite dessert for me, but it’s a such a festive tradition that these christmas pudding cookies are the perfect alternative. All of the cute and none of the heavy fruit!

Christmas for me is all about making and baking presents. I’ve always got some jam on the go, fudge to make and gingerbread to wrap up. The festive season is such a great reason to spend time with family and friends and show my love for them. For me, that’s usually through baked goods. There’s something about receiving something handmade that is so much more special.

These christmas pudding cookies could totally be used as gifts as they last so well. You can also make the cookie dough up to three days before baking, giving you precious time for festivities! The cookies are really thick and chewy, quite American in style I’d say, which is my favourite kind.

christmas pudding cookieschristmas pudding cookies

I used dark chocolate in the dough to balance out the sweet white chocolate decoration. It works really well, which means you get to eat at least two at once without feeling too bad! Always a win in my eyes. The dough is so easy to make, just one bowl, although be careful not to eat it all before baking – its easy done believe me!

Obviously to make these cookies into christmas pudding cookies, they need the cute decoration. For this, I really simply just melted some white chocolate and piped it on. I made sure to leave the melted chocolate to cool for at least 10 minutes so its easier to pipe, then piped the outline first before filling in. I used the end of a cake tester to make sure the shapes were completely filled, though you could use a cocktail stick instead.

If you’re going to splurge on one thing for this bake, make it the white chocolate. Cheap white chocolate can taste very synthetic and as its the main decoration I think it deserves to be the star. I used Green & Blacks cooking chocolate which has flecks of vanilla seeds throughout making it all the more luxurious. The little holly and berry decorations were from Waitrose, though I’m sure you could find them in most supermarkets. I think they look so cute. It’s funny how quickly they can go from just plain old cookies, to cute festive christmas puddings!

Let me know if you bake up a batch as presents, or just for yourself!

Christmas Pudding Cookies

Yield: 16 cookies

Christmas Pudding Cookies

Ingredients

  • 115g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 125g plain flour
  • 53g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/8tsp salt
  • 2tbsp milk
  • 200g dark chocolate chips
  • 150g white chocolate, for decoration
  • holly and berry decorations

Instructions

  • In a large bowl beat the butter for a minute until it's smooth and creamy. Then add both the sugars and using a hand-held mixer, mix on a medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat on a high speed until thoroughly combined.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Then on a low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick at this point. Switch to a high speed, and add in the milk and dark chocolate chips. The cookie dough will be very sticky and look hard to handle at this point, so it must be chilled before using.
  • Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours, and up to three days. I chilled mine overnight.
  • Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and leave to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, or 30 minutes if you chilled for longer than 3 hours. Preheat oven to 175C and line two large baking trays with baking paper. Scoop and roll balls of cookie dough and place onto the baking trays, I allowed for about 2tbsp of dough per cookie.
  • Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. They will feel very soft when you remove them from the oven, so leave to cool on the baking tray for 10 minutes. Then place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • For the decoration, melt the white chocolate over a bain marie being careful not to burn the chocolate. Leave to cool for at least 10-15 minutes, then place into a piping bag. Snip off the end, to make a very small hole and pipe the outline of the christmas pudding decoration to make a dam. Then fill the outlines with the remaining chocolate, using a toothpick to smooth out and push the chocolate into the edges. Add the holly and berry decorations and leave to set at room temperature.
  • Notes

    Cookies can be kept for up to one week, sealed at room temperature.

    Cookie recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

    http://bakingwithaimee.com/2016/11/27/christmas-pudding-cookies/

    Spooky Spiderweb Smores Cupcakes

    Spooky Spiderweb Smores Cupcakes

    spooky-spiderweb-smores-cupcakes-1spooky spiderweb smores cupcakes

    Spooky spiderweb smores cupcakes. I’m pretty sure this is the most halloween-ish (can we make that a word?) bake I’ve ever created. I’m not really one for Halloween if I’m honest. I hate scary films, fancy dress stresses me out and I’ve only ever trick or treated once, maybe twice in my life. I guess it’s just not very British! That and my childhood home was egged and a stink bomb was chucked through our letterbox when I was little, so that definitely put me off.

    But, when it comes to baking I’m always interested in baking something new, and in the interest of sticking to the seasonal theme I thought I’d have a go. Cobwebs always seem to play a big part in halloween decoration, that and pumpkins. Buttttt I’m not a huge fan of the flavour of pumpkin, unless its in a soup. Then I guess it just reminds me of butternut squash. Baked pumpkin flavour though, is just not for me. I’ll admit I don’t even like a pumpkin spice latte! Am I even a blogger?!

    So with pumpkins out the window I knew I wanted to incorporate cobwebs into the bake instead. I’d seen a video on Facebook a few weeks ago where a baker covered an entire cake in stringy marshmallow and I knew straight away thats what I wanted to do. And there was born my spooky spiderweb smores cupcakes.

    spooky spiderweb smores cupcakes

    spooky spiderweb smores cupcakes

    Creating the webbing was SO MESSY. Honestly, I was getting stuck to everything!! So make sure all the cupcakes are laid out in front of you, so you don’t have any issues like me. It was quite satisfying though, a bit like the feeling of that PVA glue you’d use in school. The kind which everyone would purposefully get on their hands just so they could pull it off again. It begins to harden pretty quickly, so you do need to work relatively fast. The best technique I found was to rub a little between your hands and then stretch out a few times to get the optimum stringiness before placing over the cupcake. The messier the better really though, as they’re not meant to look too neat.

    So if you’ve read my title correctly you’re probably wondering where a certain aspect comes in to the spooky spiderweb smores cupcakes! The cupcake sponge itself has four digestives in to give that classic graham cracker taste. This is then secretly filled with chocolate ganache, homemade marshmallow is piped on top and then dunked in melted chocolate. Smores is such a classic American treat, but the topping tasted exactly like a tunnocks teacake to me. Or the very best homemade teacake actually!

    I almost didn’t want to cover them in the marshmallow webbing, as the chocolate looked like cute little hats on the piped marshmallow. But, I had to give them their Halloween treatment!

    spooky spiderweb smores cupcakesspooky spiderweb smores cupcakes

    The soft sponge, surprise ganache centre, oozing marshmallow and crack as you bite into the chocolate hat gives the most wonderful combination of textures. And they do taste quite aptly autumnal, as if you can imagine sitting around a camp fire with them. Perhaps even telling ghost stories!

    If you do give them a go, bear in mind they taste best on the day of baking. If you store them in an air-tight container the marshmallow webbing will go slightly sticky due to the condensation. They are still perfectly fine to eat, but won’t look quite as good.

    Spooky Spiderweb Smores Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 Cupcakes

    Spooky Spiderweb Smores Cupcakes

    Ingredients

      Sponge
    • 80g unsalted butter, softened
    • 280g caster sugar
    • 240g plain flour
    • 60g digestive biscuits, finely ground (about 4)
    • 1tbsp baking powder
    • 1/4tsp salt
    • 240ml whole milk
    • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 large eggs, room temperature
      Ganache Filling
    • 100g dark chocolate, about 70% cocoa solids
    • 1tsp unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 50ml double cream
      Marshmallow Topping
    • 125g caster sugar
    • 75g golden syrup
    • 2 large egg whites
    • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
      Decoration
    • 150g dark chocolate, about 70% cocoa solids
    • 150g mini marshmallows

    Instructions

  • Firstly, preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas Mark 5 and place 12 cupcakes cases into a cupcake tin.
  • In a large bowl slowly beat together the butter, sugar, flour, digestives, baking powder and salt until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. In a jug mix together the milk, vanilla extract and eggs. Pour three-quarters of the mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well until fully incorporated. Add the rest of the liquid mixture, and beat until smooth.
  • Spoon the batter evenly into the cupcake cases, up to two-thirds full. Then bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and they are springy to touch. Place cupcakes on a cooling rack to cool completely until filling and decoration.
  • For the ganache filling, break up the chocolate into small pieces and place in a pyrex bowl. Heat the butter and cream in a small saucepan, until hot but not boiling. Then pour over the chocolate, leave for a minute and then stir to form a smooth ganache. Place in the fridge to chill for around 30 minutes, until the ganache is firm and scoop-able.
  • For the marshmallow topping put the sugar, golden syrup and two tablespoons of water into a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over a medium heat and without stirring heat until you reach the soft-ball stage (118C). If you don't have a candy thermometer, the bubbles will begin to stick together and the syrup will run in a stream off a spatula. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • In a pyrex bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric hand whisk until soft peaks form. Then with the whisk on low, carefully pour in the hot syrup. Once all incorporated, whisk on a high speed until the mixture becomes thick and glossy and the sides of the bowl return to room temperature. Add the vanilla extract and whisk to incorporate one more time. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with the tip cut off, whilst still slightly warm as its easier to pipe.
  • To assemble the cupcakes, using a sharp knife cut a shallow cone shape out of each cupcake and fill the holes with ganache. Replace the cone shapes onto each cupcake like a hat. Then pipe a round of marshmallow onto each, ending in a point. It should look like a meringue kiss. Then put the cupcakes into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up, whilst you melt the chocolate for decoration.
  • Using a bain-marie (place a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the water doesn't touch the base of the bowl), melt the chocolate. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then dip the cupcakes upside down into the melted chocolate, so only the marshmallow is submerged. It will look like you've added a 'hat' to the marshmallow. Leave to set at room temperature.
  • Finally, using a bain-marie again melt the mini-marshmallows with 2 tablespoons of water stirring constantly. Once melted take off the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes, until it is cool enough to touch but not too firm. Stretch the melted marshmallows between your fingers to achieve the stringy effect, and drape over each cupcake as desired.
  • Notes

    Smore's cupcake recipe adapted from Martha Collinson's Twist.

    http://bakingwithaimee.com/2016/10/27/spooky-spiderweb-smores-cupcakes/

    Raspberry and Almond Layer Cake

    Raspberry and Almond Layer Cake

    raspberry and almond Layer Cake

    Cake, Cake, Cake, Cake. Is there anything better? I mean even Rihanna released a song about it….! But Birthday Cake probably tips the scale! I made this raspberry and almond layer cake for my mum’s birthday last weekend. Fresh raspberries gave the tang, ground almonds made it super moist and the buttercream and sprinkles made it extra birthdayish! Who says sprinkles are only for kids?!

    raspberry and almond Layer Cake

    Almond and raspberry is SUCH a classic combination and one of mums favourite flavours so I knew I wanted to incorporate that in the cake. I ended up baking fresh raspberries in the sponge, which gave such a good tart hit. I added ground almonds too which made the sponge extra moist, AND I added two teaspoons of almond extract to give it that extra punch. I can never have enough almond, but feel free to reduce it to one teaspoon if you’re not as obsessive as I am!

    I’m still so obsessed with swiss meringue buttercream and the silky effect it creates. I love how the swirls on top almost look like a 99 ice cream you’d get when you were little! I went for vanilla to complement the raspberry and almond but not overpower it. Though you’d be forgiven for thinking the buttercream was mint or pistachio flavoured with the mint green hue. That was just a mistake! I was trying to make my buttercream whiter, so I added in (what I thought was) a tiny drop of blue food colouring. As you can tell, that plan didn’t quite work out. But, I’m actually pretty happy with the colour in the end! It encapsulates the childhood birthday cake style I was looking for!

    raspberry and almond Layer Cakeraspberry and almond Layer Cake

    Filling wise, I decided to go classic birthday cake and use jam and buttercream. I used the buttercream as a dam around the edge of the cake, and then filled the centre with raspberry jam – Bonne Maman to be exact, only the best! I’m so glad I did to, as the tartness of the jam worked so well in cutting through the rich buttercream.

    raspberry and almond Layer Cake

    The sprinkles were much harder to add on than I imagined, so learn from my mistake and if you have a tilting turntable use it to its full advantage to stick them on! I on the other hand ended up essentially chucking the sprinkles at the cake and finding them all over my kitchen instead….!

    All in all, taste wise this is one of the best cakes I’ve made (if I do say so myself)! So if you’re a fan of raspberry and almond definitely give it a try! Also, give my timelapse video below a watch where you can see me assemble the cake 🙂

    Raspberry and Almond Layer Cake

    Yield: 1 three-tier 8" cake

    12 slices

    Raspberry and Almond Layer Cake

    Ingredients

      Sponge
    • 305g cake flour (if you can't find cake flour use plain flour, and substitute 4tbsp of the plain flour for 4tbsp cornflour)
    • 100g ground almonds
    • 2tsp baking powder
    • 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 1/2tsp salt
    • 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 400g caster sugar
    • 2tsp almond extract
    • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
    • 300ml buttermilk
    • 220g raspberries
      Buttercream
    • 150ml large egg whites
    • 250g caster sugar
    • 450g unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2tsp blue gel food colouring (if using)
      Filling
    • 200g raspberry jam
      Decoration
    • multi-coloured sprinkles

    Instructions

  • Firstly, preheat the oven to 175C/ Gas Mark 4 and grease and line three 8" baking tins.
  • In a small bowl sift together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarb and salt. Toss the raspberries in one tablespoon of the flour mix, and set both aside.
  • In a pyrex bowl beat the butter with a hand mixer until smooth and lightened in colour. Then add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, this will take a few minutes. Add the almond extract and then add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating between each addition. Then with the mixer on low, add the flour mix in three batches alternating with the buttermilk. Ensure you begin and end with the flour mixture. Do not over mix at this stage, stop mixing as soon as the last streaks of flour are incorporated. Gently fold in the majority of the raspberries, then evenly divide the batter between the prepared tins. Sprinkle the remaining raspberries on top of the batter, pushing them down slightly.
  • Bake for 27-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, before removing them from their tins to cool completely.
  • For the buttercream, whisk together the sugar and egg whites in heat-safe bowl until combined. Then using a bain-marie, heat the mixture, stirring occasionally until it reaches 155-160F on a candy thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer the mixture will be very hot to the touch and the sugar will have dissolved.
  • Once the mixture has reached the right temperature, take the bowl off the heat and using an electric mixer whisk on high speed for about 10 minutes until you reach medium-stiff peaks and the mixture has returned to room temperature.
  • With the mixer on low, add in the butter a tablespoon at a time ensuring each piece is fully incorporated before adding the next. The butter must be at room temperature for it to be properly incorporated.
  • Once the butter has been mixed in, add the vanilla extract and mix again for a few minutes until the buttercream is silky smooth and light. Then add the food colouring if using, and mix for a few minutes until fully incorporated. Add 1/4 of the buttercream into a piping bag and snip off the end to have a plain round nozzle. Add another 1/4 of the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip (I used the Wilton 2D).
  • To assemble, place one sponge onto a cake board and using the buttercream in the plain piping bag, pipe a circle 'dam' round the edge of the cake. Then fill the gap with half of the jam. Place the second sponge on top and repeat with the buttercream and remaining jam.
  • Next, crumb coat the entire cake with buttercream and place in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then cover the cake with a thick layer of buttercream and using a bench scraper, scrape off the excess to leave a smooth exterior. Using the piping bag fitted with the star tip, pipe swirls around the edge of the top of the cake. Then finally, add sprinkles to the swirls and the bottom half of the cake.
  • http://bakingwithaimee.com/2016/10/17/raspberry-and-almond-layer-cake/

    Chocolate Butterfly Cakes

    Chocolate Butterfly Cakes

    I originally planned to create an Autumnal inspired cinnamony bake this week, but when you’re hurting you need comfort food. And to me, comfort bakes are bakes that remind me of childhood. Humble chocolate butterfly cakes are a simple yet delicious classic that I’m sure everyone remembers making as a little-un.

    Before writing this I had a little research into the history of butterfly and fairy cakes and it frustrated me. The history of the large, overly frosted cupcake seems to have overtaken all internet records of the humble fairy cake. Obviously I love cupcakes (I have a plethora of recipes dedicated to them here!) but their daintier cousin deserves a little context don’t you think?

    chocolate butterfly cakeschocolate butterfly cakes

    Butterfly cakes are so-named for their little sponge wings, that turn a pretty ordinary sponge into a cute little treat. The ratio of sponge to buttercream is also spot on with these cakes, and their cute size means you can definitely get away with eating two at once…right?

    As I child I remember making vanilla cakes all the time, but these chocolate butterfly cakes are a real treat. My plan going in was to make everything super simple, but when you’re used to making more adventurous recipes I couldn’t resist a few extras. White chocolate chips for an added chocolate kick, and two tablespoon’s of freshly brewed coffee to really bring out that chocolate flavour.

    chocolate butterfly cakeschocolate butterfly cakes

    The buttercream I did keep really simple though, with the biggest effort being putting the buttercream into a piping bag. That was my own fault though, as I put it all in the bag before I’d attached a piping tip. Fail! I wanted to have a pretty swirl, so I had to decant and refill into another bag actually fitted with a tip. I used the Wilton 2D if you’re wondering.

    So, chocolate butterfly cakes. A simple yet sweet treat that can be baked, frosted and eaten in less than an hour!

    Chocolate Butterfly Cakes

    Yield: 12 butterfly cakes

    Chocolate Butterfly Cakes

    Ingredients

      Cakes
    • 110g unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 100g caster sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 75g self-raising flour
    • 25g cocoa powder
    • 2tbsp freshly brewed coffee
    • 75g white chocolate chips
      Chocolate Buttercream
    • 75g unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 200g icing sugar
    • 45g cocoa powder
    • 2tbsp milk/water
    • icing sugar to decorate

    Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and place 12 cupcake cases in a cupcake tin.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Once the mixture is fluffy, add in the eggs one at a time. You may need to add a little of the flour with the second egg to ensure the mixture doesn't curdle. Finally, add in the flour and cocoa powder and mix until just combined. Then add the freshly brewed coffee and the chocolate chips.
  • Evenly spoon the mixture into each cupcake case, and bake for 15 minutes or until the mixture is firm but still springs back to the touch. Place the cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • For the buttercream, in a large bowl beat together the butter and icing sugar. Then add the cocoa powder until fully incorporated. Your mixture will be very stiff at this point. Finally, add in 2tbsp milk or water and continue to beat until your buttercream if fluffy and pipeable. Add more milk/water if necessary.
  • To assemble, using a sharp knife cute a shallow cone out the top of the cake and then cut in half. Using a piping bag and star tip, pipe the buttercream into the hole and then place the two sponge halves onto the buttercream like wings.
  • Dust all cakes with icing sugar to decorate.
  • http://bakingwithaimee.com/2016/09/25/chocolate-butterfly-cakes/