Give Your everyday baking a Christmas makeover
Every year I have great intentions of baking some of the intricate-looking Christmas recipes I see in magazines. The problem is I never get around to it or, if I do, they fail dismally. This year, I've decided to shelve the guilt and just focus on the fun part… decorating!
You can easily dress up your favourite brownie recipe with these clever ideas.
- Christmas trees: Cut the cooked brownie into triangles, insert a candy cane into the base of each one and decorate with icing, tinted coconut or M&Ms. To make the tinted coconut, pour 1/2 cup of dessicated coconut in a small bowl, sprinkle four drops of green food colouring over the coconut and stir until evenly coloured.
- Christmas puddings: Use a cookie cutter to stamp out a circle shape, spread chocolate icing over the circle and then top with melted white chocolate and lollies to look like a pudding.
- Cake pops: Crumble the cooked brownie mix in a bowl and combine it with enough melted dark chocolate to make it sticky. Shape handfuls of the mixture into balls, push a candy cane into the centre and then dip in more melted chocolate. Refrigerate before serving.
For these cupcakes I cut some major corners and used a store-bought butter cake mix... and they turned out perfectly. By adding a few basic toppings and a spot of creativity you too can easily whip up some cheery Christmas cupcakes.
- Wreath: Top with buttercream icing and then arrange green M&Ms around the outside. Push two red M&Ms into the icing on their sides to make the bow at the bottom.
- Santa hat: Decorate with buttercream icing and an upturned strawberry. It doesn't get much easier than that!
- Candy cane: Crush a couple of candy canes with a mortar and pestle. Draw a candy cane shape on some baking paper and cut it out. Place the baking paper with a shape-sized hole over the iced cupcake. Sprinkle the crushed candy cane over the hole and press down slightly to make sure it stays in place. Carefully remove the paper. You should be left with a red and white textured candy cane shape. Beware that these are best decorated just before presenting/eating because the candy canes tend to melt.
A fun way to get you in the Christmas spirit and a great idea for breakfast on Christmas morning.
- Christmas tree tower: Cook pancakes in circle shapes in a variety of sizes. Cut up some fruit such as strawberries, kiwi fruit, blueberries and bananas. Arrange the pancakes in a stack with the largest one on the bottom and smallest one on the top. Sprinkle the fruit over the pancake tower to look like decorations and then dust with icing sugar.
- Reindeer: Only your pouring and flipping skills limit the intricacies of the reindeer pancake you can make. For a basic model you will need one large, one medium and two small round pancakes for the face, two long thin pancakes for the antlers plus fruit to decorate for each person. Arrange on the plate as per the picture.
- Snowman: You will need one medium and one small round pancake plus one long thin pancake. Place the small pancake on top of the medium one and use the long thin one as a scarf in between the two. Decorate with sultanas, sliced banana and syrup.
So there you have it, the pressure is off! Stick to your favourite recipes and win people over with a Christmas treat you know they will love the taste and look of.