I love baking. I love the smell of cakes and cookies wafting through the air. I love licking the bowl. I love the sense of achievement when someone joyously bites into my creation. And I love sitting down with a cup of tea, enjoying the delicious treat I have made. With Christmas looming closer and everyone getting busier, I figure now is the best time to do some baking. Baking will help you relax, especially if you are organized enough to start planning Christmas food now, and can start making some. Baking also makes fantastic Christmas gifts. The recipes below all make great gifts, or are delicious for you to enjoy all by yourself.
Shortbread cookies These cookies are great lying around for everyone to snack on over christmas. They are very simple to make. You can get creative and buy Christmas cookie cutters such as stars, candy canes and santas. Or you can make a shortbread tower with stars of different sizes, like in the picture. This is a great gift wrapped in cellophane and tied with Christmas ribbon.
Preheat oven to 180 C.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in vanilla; add flour and mix well.
Roll out to 1cm thickness and cut to desired shape. Bake for 10-12 min.
Mini cakes Miniature cakes covered in fondant make adorable presents. Instead of buying smaller cake tins, just make one large cake and cut it into four smaller squares. Dense cakes work best when covering in fondant, such as fruit cake or mud cake. Fondant can be purchased at the supermarket, and simply needs to be rolled out, placed onto the cake, and massaged down until all the edges are even and smooth. Attaching some ribbon onto the bottom of the cake helps them look great, just like a present. Or you can get creative and cut out Christmas shapes with fondant to place on top.
Or, if you wanted a cake for Christmas day, you could make a larger one in the shape of a Santa, a present, or even the Bible, like the cakes displayed here.
Rum balls and Coconut Ice For those who actually hate baking, and can't stand to imagine the mess and the effort, these recipes are for you. They are super easy and are also great presents. They are also great for Christmas when the oven is choker-block full.
50g sweet biscuits (such as Arnott's Nice)
24g (3 tablespoons) cocoa powder
42g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence)
30ml (1 1/2 tablespoons) rum (or can be substituted for Baileys)
130g (2/3 cup, lightly packed) sultanas
About 65g (3/4 cup) desiccated coconut, for coating
Place biscuits and cocoa in a food processor or blender and crush biscuits very finely.
If you used a blender, pour the crushed biscuit and cocoa mixture into a large bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients (except the coconut for coating).
If you used a food processor, you can add the 1/2 cup coconut, condensed milk, vanilla and rum to the biscuit crumbs and process until the mixture is well combined. Then add the sultanas and process on very low speed until just combined.
Place mixture in refrigerator or freezer until it is firm enough to roll into balls (about 30 minutes in the refrigerator). If the mixture is too soft, it will be sticky and difficult to roll properly and the rum balls will not hold their shape.
Sprinkle coconut for coating onto a plate or into a flat-bottomed dish. Roll generously heaped teaspoons of mixture into balls, and then roll in coconut. Store, preferably in a single layer, in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes about 40 rum balls.
2 egg whites
2 cups (315g) icing sugar
1 cup (90g) desiccated coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
250g copha (kremelta)
few drops red food colouring (could use green for Christmas also)
Beat egg whites to combine, then mix in sugar, coconut and vanilla.
Melt copha over low heat and stir into other ingredients.
Line a lamington tin with baking paper and press half of the mixture into it.
Drop a few drops o red food colouring into the other half of the mix to dye it pink, then press on top of mixture already in tin.
Smooth it out and place in fridge for an hour to set. Then cut into small squares.
Thank God I found a good receipe for rum balls, they are the best ever. So small you can eat one after the other without realising how much you have actually had. We had some at my work that my boss made and I had to constantly eat them because they were so delicious. I have to try and make these ones, even though Christmas is over. Thanks for that :)
By Lil Uni Girl - senior reviewer Saturday, 1st of January @ 01:42 am