Cakes & Bakes

Rachel Taylor

Edible festive gifts

Festive mini mince pies.

Festive mini mince pies.

It is almost Christmas Eve!  It’s crazy to wonder where the year has gone and what a great year it has been.

This week is mine and the wee hubby’s five month anniversary – and our wedding day still feels like yesterday! Just on that note – we have got our wedding album and video back already which is such a quick turnaround and so lovely to have them both for Christmas (warning to visitors – prepare to be forced to watch and look at photos when you arrive).

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Thanks to the lovely local lady that is Sarah Bryden who did our photography and Malcolm Monteith who was our videographer.  I really could not recommend either of these people enough.

Anyway enough of wedding chat – back to food. I am sure most of you will either be visiting or expecting visitors over the Christmas holiday period so you will want to be prepared with a few little treats to serve up or bring as gifts.

Today I am putting in a couple of recipes that can be boxed up, decorated with a little ribbon – instant edible gift.

I don’t know too many people who would refuse one of these presents!

Mini mince pies

First up: Mini mince pies. This recipe will make 24 tiny treats.
1. Rub 150g butter into 250g plain flour. Add 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and one egg.
2. Bring it together into a dough, wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge to chill.
3. Take one jar of ready made sweet mincemeat and add one very finely chopped eating apple and some orange zest. You can chop the orange segments and add them too if you fancy.
4. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan). Use a mini muffin tin for this job – roll the pastry and use a fairly small round cutter (see tip) to make 24 rounds.
5. Then use a star shaped cutter to make 24 tops. Mould the round into the tin, and add a teaspoon of mixture to each pastry case.
6. Top with the stars and bake for about 15 minutes.
7. Eat hot or cold – dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Christmas Cupcakes

Christmas Cupcakes

Christmas cupcakes

Second: Christmas cupcakes. Most people love a plain sponge bun. These dudes are so easy to make and you can make the decoration as simple or as complicated as you like.

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Ingredients
• 100g self raising flour
• 100g margarine
• 100g caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 eggs

Buttercream
• 250g icing sugar
• 125g butter
• Splash of milk

Method
1. Preheat oven to 170C (fan). Line a muffin pan with 12 cases. Use the all in one method to combine the flour, margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
2. Spoon the mixture into the 12 cases and bake for around 15 minutes until pale golden brown. Leave them to cool completely.
3. Make the buttercream by mixing the icing sugar into the
slightly softened butter and add a little milk to make it more
pliable.
4. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes and decorate. I used some Christmas coloured sprinkles and decorations from Asda. I also used coloured icing to make some simple holly and Santa hats. If you want more design ideas drop me a little email.

Tip of the week

When cutting the rounds for the mini mince pies, choose one that is slightly larger than the cup in the tin – that way it will fit in fully, not stop halfway up the sides! Any more questions just email me at rachel.crumbs@gmail.com