25 Days of Christmas Baking: Day 15 – Cake

Not quite sure what compelled me to do two big bakes today, but thanks to the silly sugar monster within me rising up here we are! Anyways, todays challenge was CAKE! That’s a bit of a vague prompt since there are so many interpretations of cake. I was thinking of some kind of big layered thing, but then realized that cake is hard to give away, and there is no room AT ALL to stuff that in my freezer! Then I came across SUGAR PLUM FAIRY CUPCAKES from Sally’s Baking Addiction and I had to make them (like I spent days daydreaming about them)!

The name on it’s own invokes whimsical sparkly holiday cheer, and they are just gorgeous little bundles of sweet frosting and spice.

I was almost dancing as I mixed up the cake batter which is so fragrant with cinnamon and nutmeg. They couldn’t bake fast enough to frost with pretty purple buttercream and candies and cookies galore.

This is by far my favourite recipe in a while, and I’m going to make it over and over again.

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25 Days of Christmas Baking: Day 14 – Pie

Pie is another brand new baked good for me! I’ve always wanted to do it, but never knew where to start. Turns out make pie is easier than I thought!

I followed this recipe for Mixed Berry Pie from Just So Tasty. The bright red colours of the strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are tart and bright, and cinnamon really gives it that festive flavour!

Ready to go in for a bake!

The crust is crisp and buttery and while it was easy to make, it did take a big chunk of the day to make because it needs to rest in the fridge for three hours. The biggest challenge for me was the lattice pattern, as you can tell. But overall, I’m very happy with how it turned out!

And here it is fresh out of the oven!

This pie is not overly sweet and the fruit is so refreshing! Best of all, no soggy bottoms here!

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25 Days of Christmas Baking: Day 13 – Sugar Cookies

This December is the most festive I have felt since I was a kid. All of this sugar and spice is really helping to bring out that extra bit of holiday magic!

Continuing with my Christmas Baking Challenge, I spent all of today in my little kitchen baking the ultimate Christmas cookie – the sugar cookie! Although cookie decorating seems so intimidating when you stare at all of the beautiful cookie art on Pinterest, I promise it’s so easy to create your own decorated sugar cookies! Here’s my favourite sugar cookie and royal icing recipe.

This year, Hello Kitty is decked out in Santa hats and festive bows and ready to bring happiness (and a delicious buttery crunch) to all!

What You Need

Cookies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 sticks (200 grams) of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt

Icing

  • 6 egg whites
  • 4 cups (1 pound) icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • food colouring (I use gel based)

yields 24 cookies using a large cookie cutter / 48 cookies using a small cookie cutter

Directions

Baking

  • Cream the sugar and butter together until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla until combined.
  • Add in the flour and salt until fully incorporated, and the cookie dough will come together in a big dough ball.
  • Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and flatten into your hands into a flat disk. Wrap it up in plastic wrap and put in fridge for 20 minutes (this makes it much easier to work with).
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Roll out your dough on a floured surface. Using a floured cookie cutter, cut out your shapes (1/4 inch thick) and carefully transfer them to the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown and then let them completely cool.

Royal Icing

  • To make the icing, add in the icing sugar, and then add in the egg whites and lemon juice and then blend with a hand or stand mixer on high until light and fluffy (5-10 minutes). Cover with a wet cloth or in an air tight container until ready to use (or it will harden!)
  • When ready to decorate, separate your icing into separate bowls and colour as appropriate for your design.
  • You will need to further separate some of your coloured icing to do the flooding – that is the thinner icing used to fill in the areas! To do this just add a teaspoon of water at a time into the mixture.
  • Put your thicker icing into piping bags and your thinner icing into squeeze bottles and go forth to decorate!

Decorating

  • With a thin piping tip, pipe your outlines using the thicker icing.
  • Then with the squeeze bottle, pipe the thinner flood icing. Use a flat knife or toothpick to smooth it out up to those thick icing borders that you made. Add on any sprinkles or decorations at this point.
  • Let the icing completely dry (may take a few hours). Then you can add your final top piping if your design calls for it! If you add royal icing on top of royal icing it will spread slightly.

Just be aware that cookie decorating is labour intensive! From the start with baking the cookies, to the final detail of the cookies it took me OVER eight hours of baking (not counting the cleaning)! So if you’re a beginner like me, this is definitely not a quick evening project! But every single minute was enjoyable.

I’m so full of sugar now that I’m definitely going to dream of sugarplums dancing!!


Other Tips and Tricks

How to Decorate Cookies Guide from Betty Crocker

Christmas Sugar Cookie Ideas

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25 Days of Christmas Baking: Day 11 – Cream Cheese

At long last – CREAM CHEESE! My city is still in the midst of a deep freeze, but I sucked it up and walked to the store to get it!

There are seemingly endless Christmas recipes that have cream cheese: from truffles, to dips, and yes of course cheesecake itself! But today I decided to go with these oh so colourful Christmas Cheesecake Cookies!

They look like they’d be a bit of work to make, but that was far from the case! They’re quick and I had a blast swirling, rolling, and baking them up. And the cookies have a tiny tinge of peppermint which makes them ultra festive!

I’m really excited to give these ones away and see how people react!

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25 Days of Christmas Baking: Day 10 – Candy

Still no cream cheese! It’s somehow even colder today here (-40C!!) and I’m not too keen on turning into a popsicle on the way to the store! This Christmas baking challenge really has turned into a bit of a challenge as it’s mean scrounging up what I’ve got and turning it into tasty treats.

Today I did Christmas candy! You know those desserts that are just pure sugary definitely terrible for you GOOD. Which is definitely what Loaded Christmas Bark is!

It’s sweet and salty with chocolate, white chocolate, M&Ms, pretzels, peanuts, and sprinkles and looks just like Christmas! I’ve been back to the counter 3 times to steal some more because it’s irresistible.

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