Saturday, 24 December 2011


Last year I made some cinnamon biscotti to give as Christmas gifts and wanted some biscuit type thing to make to give this year. I made a batch of biscotti but after a bit too much googling I decided to adapt last years recipe and omit the butter given that traditional biscotti is butter free. Any how I thought it all looked rather nice but when my mum tried it later she declared it not fit to give as it was likely to break everyones teeth!
Now as much as I love my mum she is no baking / biscotti expert and after trying it myself softened when drunk with a hot drink I thought it tasted lovely.
However, my confidence in giving the biscotti was somewhat dented so when I came across this recipe on the Pink Whisk for Lebkuchen I thought it would be worth a try as it seemed like it would last a few days after baking (which was pretty crucial when giving food as gifts) and in general I love anything with a cinnamon spicy taste.
When I made this I'd already spent the morning on my Christmas cakes, then made biscotti so I wasn't totally paying attention and forgot to add a few ingredients - ie the almonds and substituted the honey in the original receipt for golden syrup. That being said these turned out pretty well - and I was delighted when a few people commented they were the perfect texture for Lebkuchen ( which I must admit I had no real idea what it should be like, although apparently a little soft is just right!).
I put them in presentation bags to give as gifts, tied with some ribbon and a homemade/ designed gift tag ( more on this later) and in the end I was pretty pleased with my efforts.
My recipe adapted from The Pink Whisk

85ml golden syrup
115g dark brown sugar
30g butter
225g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, beaten
To ice:
25g icing sugar sifted
2 tsp water
Makes 24 biscuits.

Place the syrup, sugar and butter in a pan. Heat until butter and sugar have melted then remove. Sift together flour, spice and bicarbonate of soda. Beat the egg in a small cup, then add 1/2 of the flour mix and 1/2 of the eff and mix well. Then add the remaining flour and egg. Pur the dough into a bag and chill in the fridge for a few hours.
Remove from fridge and roll to about 5mm thick - I used quite a bit of flour on my work surface.
Preheat oven to 160c Fan/180c/Gas Mark 4. Cut out your biscuits with cutters or flattened into rounds.
Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes till golden brown. Leave to cool on tray to firm up.
Make up water icing then brush over biscuits. Apply a second layer of icing if desired. I think these would also be nice with a litte chocolate on one layer.

Monday, 19 December 2011

No Croutons Required Festive Photo - The Princes Tree

I was out for dinner in Glasgow on Saturday night and took this image of the hanging tree in the Princes Square. I love Christmas lights and they created a lovely atmosphere in the centre. I'm quite pleased with how this picture turned out, and it makes me keen to keep taking photos and to keep learning about photography. I'm entering this for No Croutons Required Festive Photo as hosted by Jacqueline at the fab blog Tinned Tomatoes.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Mini Christmas Fruit cakes

As usual I wanted to make some festive gifts for work colleagues and friends. Over the last few weeks I've become majorily addicted to pinterest and have made various festive things like bows, tags, and my usual homemade christmas cards.
After the success of my christmas birthday fruit cake earlier this year I wanted to make mini ones to give as gifts.
I used a combination of mini baked bean cans and mini loaf cases with my normal recipe adjusting the timings to cook to about 1 hour 1/2 rather than the normal 2 1/2 hours.
These turned out really well although I've only sampled a small piece so far.
The marzipan and icing was okay to do, but I couldn't work out how to decorate on a small scale. Initial attempts at making stars and shapes and colouring left over marzipan and fondant icing looked a bit clumsy,  so I bought some small decorations and pearls which I think looked okay in the end.