Mary Berry hit the nail on the head last night on the Great British Bake Off Christmas version. There is nothing like baking at Christmas. If there is one time of year when you bake, choose Christmas. The warm smell of all things festive, the extra warmth in the kitchen, icing sugar as snow and there to me is nothing like enjoying warm festive scented goodies from the oven with friends and family.
But the pleasure does not end there, before the lovely ritual of choosing what to make, weighing and preparing is all part of the enjoyment. My two still love doing a bit of baking and next week we will be getting into the festive baking spirit even more.
For children to help with you can not beat spiced biscuits, I really should have a recipe to share but I drift from one book or blog of course for a recipe.I think one of my favourites is in a Usborne book. They are great for kids recipes, my favourite of all our children’s cooking books.
Again the making of the dough the children can so easily help with, to the chooses of the festive shapes. I think a simple sprinkle of icing sugar snow is best but some years we have decorated half the batch and left the rest blank for decorating later or the snowy effect.
This time next week it will be Christmas eve, a day (or part) of baking here. The wonderful smell will fill the house, the ritual and cosyness of the baking and of course the well-earned trying of it once you are finished.
So with just a week to go till Christmas eve if you are going to get baking then get choosing your recipes now. Get your ingredients, despite I bake at least once a week how many times have I had to pop out for one or more ingredients that I found I had not got!
Yep the making of my Spiced Cranberry & apple Christmas pies and some Wensleydale savoury muffins to take to a party last week, took twice as long as a walk into town to get the things I did not have took up time. If you have all your ingredients checked in, then if on Sunday a festive baking moment come’s upon you then you are ready to bake!
Never under estimate the pleasure that kids get from doing some baking with you what ever their age. When many of us still are rushing around, or is that just me. Your children and certainly mine enjoy that time in the kitchen with you. It time to chat and it is nice to be working on the same thing. Especially when your children get older, mine are both teens now. What a nice way to spend some time preparing festive goodies to share.
Though some people want to go all out to impress, I like to keep it simple. Festive spiced biscuits will be on my list. Though this year the extra challenge of making them gluten-free, I think I will have a practise run. Bex is now gluten-free too, while in earlier years I have been more than happy to enjoy the pleasures of baking them but miss out on the eating this year I better make them gluten-free.
I shall be making my chocolate and spice muffins which were so easy and so simple to make look simply festive. Again no so much fun for the kids without rolling and cutting out of shapes but the decorating is fun and the muffin mix is so easy that children would be so proud of their efforts.
My candy canes cupcakes last year were so easy and very much-loved by my two and look sweet too! Of course for me I love savoury baking too, though depending on time I may just season and roast some mixed nuts which is of course is not baking as such but hey I am using the oven. I think savoury muffins will also come out the oven too as they always go down well here.
So my top tips for your festive baking is firstly make it enjoyable. If they don’t come out perfect it really does not matter. Choose what you are going to make and make sure you have all the ingredients you need in and don’t over complicate it. Christmas flavours, the spices, oranges and things like cranberries are wonderful flavour in themselves so they are the star of the show. Of course though if unlike me and you have the patience to create something far more beautiful and enjoy doing it then do. Then make sure you have containers to keep them fresher for longer too.
.At the end of the day baking at Christmas is also about create Christmas memories too, I can remember making mince meat with my Mum, then the making of pastry and the cutting out of the pies with stars on top of course. Simple things, warm memories and that is the aim or at least I think so!
Happy Christmas baking!
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