I hope everyone had a wonderful time this Christmas. Last year I made a list with everything I prepared and it was helpful when I made the menu for this year, so this is what we had this year.
Get ready for a lot of pictures. I cooked a lot, but we still have food left for the next couple of days.
Devilled eggs, something made traditionally in Romania. My husband loves them, so I made a batch. Preparing this made me realize I need some food tweezers for decorating with small herbs.
Olives and Polish squash pickles. It was the first time I had pickled squash and I love it. It has a mild flavour and it’s so versatile. I will buy it again. I’m not sure if it’s something specific to the Polish cuisine, the jar I had was in Polish.
I wanted to make a batch of peanut butter biscuits for some time and I think they look really festive. As I also got the Christmas cookie cutters from Ikea and I wanted to try them.
Animal-shapped biscuits, especially the moose and the baby bear, are so appropriate for Christmas. I loved the flavour and as half of fat is substituted with a healthy one, they are a better option, at least I hope so.
You can use only 1 type of sugar, I used both because I ran out of sugar when I was baking. The biscuits can’t be made with only peanut butter, it has a different texture than butter and it will not bind the dough in a similar way.
Ingredients for 25-30 biscuits:
– 350g plain white flour
– 25g demerara sugar
– 150g sugar
– 65g butter, soften, at room temperature
– 60g peanut butter
– 1 free-range egg
– 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
– 4 tbsp golden syrup (or honey)
– 3 tsp cinnamon
– 2-3 spoons of milk
Mix the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into the bowl of the food processor. Add the butter cut in cubes and the peanut butter, blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Add both types of sugar and mix again.
Beat the egg lightly with the golden syrup and pour it into the bowl. Pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out and knead briefly until the ingredients are incorporated. Add milk a spoon at a time and knead until the dough is smooth. Wrap in clingfim and leave in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes if you think it’s necessary.
Preheat the oven to 180C or 160C fan. Line three baking trays with baking parchment. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and, using the biscuits cutter, cut out the shapes. Remove the excess dough and transfer the shapes on the baking tray. Knead the remaining dough for 30 seconds and roll it out again, cut animal shapes again and transfer them on the tray.
Bake the biscuits for 12-15 minutes. Take the baking tray out of the oven and leave them on the tray for 2-3 minutes. Then move them onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
The shapes look so funny. I might decorate them with fondant next time I’m using them. Although I still have an unused set of cutters that I plan to use for Christmas.
I made these mince pies as a treat when my husband and I were decorating the tree. I should say the dog did help, by sniffing the branches and, after that, sniffing his gifts underneath the tree every single day. I can’t say I blame him, I can’t wait to unwrap my gifts too.
Ingredients for 8 mince pies:
– 175g plain flour
– 75g butter at room temperature
– 1 egg
– 150g grapes
– 100g dates
– 50ml grape juice
– 60g sugar
– 25g ground almonds
– 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– 1/8 tsp nutmeg
– a pinch of black pepper
– 1-2 tsp of icing sugar to decorate
For St. Nicholas Day I prepared two Dutch desserts, these Pepernoot and Krestkrans. Pepernoot are spiced biscuits and their name comes from, as you can imagine, pepper-nuts. I liked them a lot, although they might be a little hard.
It’s the first time I use black pepper in a dessert and I loved it so much that I put pepper in the mince pies I baked yesterday. I will share that recipe too. most likely next week.
UPDATE: After reading a comment on my blog, thank you Nicolet, I saw that these are called Kruidnoten. There is a confusion regarding the name and it happens to get these mistaken with Pepernoot. These biscuits are made for St. Nicholas Day too.
Ingredients for 22 small biscuits:
– 125g self-raising flour
– 75g butter at room temperature
– 70g demerara sugar
– 1 tsp spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and black pepper)
– 2 tbsp milk
Kerstkrans is a Dutch cake made for celebrating St. Nicholas Day. There are some traditional biscuits too, I made them and I’m going to share the recipe for those in a couple of days.
You can read about St. Nicholas Day and traditions regarding this day on my lifestyle blog: ancaslifestyle. Krestkrans is made with puff pastry and filled with almond paste. I made my own take with almonds and hazelnut brittle. It is a delicious dessert, I’m delighted I’ve baked it.
– 1 pack of light ready-rolled puff pastry
– 110g hazelnuts
– 240g almonds
– 150g sugar + 1 spoon for sprinkling on top
– 2 eggs
– 5-6 drops of Orange flavouring
I am thinking of Christmas bakes for a while now and I got a lot of fondant decoration tools to help me. While I was baking along the Bake Off I had the opportunity to use fondant and it was the push I needed. Now I’m more than happy to try to make interesting decorations out of sugar.
These Festive Wreath Doughnuts are easy to make and they are baked, so they are as healthy as a doughnut can be.
Ingredients for 6 doughnuts:
– 75g plain wholemeal flour
– 50g demerara sugar
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1 egg
– 60ml milk
– 2 spoons of oil
– 1/8 tsp nutmeg
– 1/8 tsp ginger
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 3-4 drops of hazelnut flavouring
– white, green and red fondant icing
– edible glue
– 2-3 spoons of icing sugar
I bought some Chestnuts because I really wanted to cook with them. I thought of a pie, but when I didn’t have loads of time I’ve ended up with a Chestnut and Brussels sprouts side dish for some vegan sausages. This recipe is vegan too and also delicious. I used only 3 spoons of oil, so that makes it perfect if you are on a diet.
Ingredients for 4 servings:
– 500g frozen Brussels sprouts
– 200g cooked Chesnuts
– 3 spoons of oil
– 1 small onion
– 2tsp dried parsley
– black pepper