As a child, Christmas Eve was excruciating. The longest day, filled with mundane tasks like wrapping sausages in bacon, laying the table, and tidying my room. When bedtime finally arrived, I would dutifully lay out a plate with a mince pie, a carrot and a glass of sherry, arrange my stocking carefully in a place within easy reach for Santa, and- quite happily- head off to bed, where I’d lie awake all night waiting until morning. I can remember stock piling books and old toys beside my bed in case I got bored in the night or I woke up too early and needed something to do!
Now, Christmas Eve is slightly different. It’s still the longest day, but that’s more to do with getting stuck on long shifts at work and counting down the hours until I can go home. Then, the evening is spent cramming in all the mundane tasks that are now the most fun part of Christmas Eve, and we finish it off with a Chinese take-away and a family trip to the pub, replete with full-on Christmas attire (classy).
So today I’ll be at work all day, which means I don’t get to do half the Christmas Eve prep I’d like to do- preparing veg, making cakes and icing biscuits. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself with a few spare hours and fancy some last minute baking to accompany your Christmas breakfast, I’ve got the perfect solution for you.
The Christmas tree biscuits are so simple, and they’re made with store cupboard ingredients, so there’s no need to battle your way around the supermarket for the missing ingredient. The icing is really easy but its effective and you can decorate it with anything you can find in the baking cupboard. You can find the recipe here, under the ‘basics’ tab, and the icing is simply royal icing sugar mixed with water and green food colouring. Mix it to a thick consistency, then spoon a couple of spoonfuls into a piping bag and pipe a thin line around the edge of the Christmas tree. Thin the remaining icing and use this to fill in the outline. Press on any decorations.
The cupcakes are vanilla cupcakes and the recipe can be found here. These are simple but with all that sickly icing I think it works best! Use buttercream icing to pipe star shapes on the top, and you could even dye some with red food colouring and pipe alternating colours to create a fun, festive effect. For the best buttercream icing (and one that should only feature at Christmas!) use unsalted block butter. I usually use Stork, which is only slightly better for you, but at Christmas you have to get the best stuff out!
The recipe for the Christmas snowballs is here, and with a bit of tweaking (omitting the gold glitter, forgoing the icing wings!) they’re perfect for Christmas. And if you’re into mince pies, it’s not too late to grab a jar of mincemeat from the shops and make some pastry- recipe for a good sweet shortcrust pastry can be found here.
The best thing about all the Christmas bakes, is that you can stick them into a cellophane bag and gift them to friends and family at Christmas for a homemade treat- Holly, these ones are for you!
On the blog next week it’s likely to be quite quiet, due to me being in a turkey induced coma. They’ll hopefully be a monthly summary on December next Thursday and I’m toying with the idea to upload something I’ve written (but is completely not food related at all) on Friday. After that we’ll recover from the festivities and get back into a blogging schedule, which will probably feature recipes on how to use leftover turkey right up into June. I can hardly wait…