As usual December ends up being totally chaotic in SmartCookieSam land. This year I wanted things to be different as we had had a difficult time last year. Getting over the aftermath of a family bereavement, then Covid came to our house. But once again this year, life has been turbulent and stressful so during the run up to the end of term, I hadn’t enough time to devote to everything I wanted to do. I wanted to make some Christmas baking videos but that never happened.
Being as I haven’t time to write separate blog posts for all the treats I’ve baked so far in December, I’ve decided to share them all with you here in one post.
Christmas Pudding Truffles
These Christmas Pudding Truffles are part of the SmartCookieSam baking traditions every Christmas and were first made when my daughter was a year old. I’d bought an Annabel Karmel Recipe Book which had loads of different party recipes in it, including several Christmas recipes. I tried making the mini Christmas Puddings as they were basically chocolate fridge cake balls decorated with icing custard and holly leaves. I took a batch of them along to a Christmas party for the Mums to enjoy with their coffee while the kids had their treats. They seemed to go down well so ever since then I’ve made loads for stalls, foodie presents for Christmas hampers and taken them along for friends and family to enjoy. My late Dad used to love these as he loved tiffin and he would always ask if I was bringing any over when I went visiting near Christmas.
Until I discovered the Easy Fudge recipe on Sugar and Crumbs’ website, I hated making fudge. It would never come out at the right texture. It would either come out burnt or so crumbly! So this time I chose to make some Rum and Raisin Fudge using a packet of Sugar and Crumbs’ Rum and Raisin Flavour Icing Sugar. I was very pleased with the fudge as it came out exactly as I wanted it to taste.
I love Biscotti, although I don’t make it that often. It’s something I tend to make to go in foodie hampers as it’s such a delicious treat to dunk in a hot coffee or in some liqueur! Most biscottis I’ve tried have nuts in but I chose to simply put dried cranberries and white chocolate chips in mine.
Lebkuchen biscuits are something else! I adore them! Peppery and spicy with the contrast of the sweet icing but something I know I definitely couldn’t stop at one if I was given a bag of them. A couple of weeks ago, my daughter was in Lidl and found a bag of lebkuchen stars, hearts and moons in white, chocolate and pink icing. They were exactly the ones my Mum used to buy when we were young. I so wanted to make some of these but didn’t have time to colour chocolate and pink, so just stuck to Christmas trees for mine. The Lebkuchen icing is made like royal icing and has egg whites added to the icing sugar.
Festive Jam Tarts
Not everyone loves mince pies but I had a few mince pies to make. I had some shortcrust pastry left so I decided to make some jam tarts with the leftovers. Jam Tarts are so easy to make and to make them festive I used some Jingly Bells Jam which I had bought in Lewis and Cooper, a fantastic food shop in Northallerton where I buy a lot of my baking supplies. I also added some pastry stars to the top of the tarts to make them a bit more special. They only took about 20 minutes to make from start to finish.
I’ve not shared a recipe for the Festive Jam Tarts as I don’t have one. I used Mary Berry’s sweet shortcrust pastry recipe (Google it if you don’t know it) and simply added a tsp of the jam to the filling. I had half a batch of the pastry left from making the mince pies and that was more than enough to make a dozen jam tarts. You may be thinking these look messy and rustic but I don’t care. Think what you like- they tasted delicious and that’s what matters!
For links to the recipes I’ve used, see below:
Love Sam xx