When I received an email from Waitrose asking to take part in their Bake It Forward campaign I accepted without hesitation. To take part all you need to do is bake something sweet to share with others during the season of goodwill ,share your share your photos on social media using the #BakeItForward hashtag and nominate them to do the same.
Every day Waitrose will be surprising people taking part with festive treats, including hampers and bottles of champagne. Sharing baking and the possibility of being surprised with festive treats, what's not to like?!
We baked some Chocolate Christmas Tree Biscuits which are perfect for Christmas Fairs, Christmas parties and Christmas hampers. We also iced some bite sized pieces of Christmas Cake which are great for teacher gifts.
Chocolate Christmas Trees
100g softened butter
100g caster sugar
2 Tblsp golden syrup or honey
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
220g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
30g cocoa powder
100g dark/milk and white chocolate for decoration
Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan. Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar together well until pale and fluffy. Add the golden syrup/honey and vanilla bean paste then beat again. Add the flour, bicarb and cocoa then mix until a stiff dough forms.
Knead the dough then roll out to 5mm thick on a floured surface. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters and carefully transfer to your prepared trays. Bake in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes. Check after 10 minutes then every 2 minutes after that. The biscuits should be slightly darker and fill the kitchen with a lovely chocolate aroma when they are cooked.
Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool completely. Sandwich the biscuits together with melted chocolate. I used coffee stirrers from a well known chain as sticks but you can purchase cake pop sticks from a supermarket if you want. Put in the fridge until the chocolate has set.
Melt the white chocolate and drizzle over the biscuits then decorate how you wish.
The recipe makes 20 biscuits, enough for 10 completed trees. These trees are fab individually wrapped and given as gifts, included in hampers of homemade goodies, or sold at a Christmas Fair.
Bite Sized Christmas Cakes
1.5 kg mixed dried fruit
125ml rum, whisky or brandy (use apple/orange juice for non-alcoholic version)
1 Tblsp golden syrup
220g light or dark brown sugar
250g butter, melted and cooled
4 free range eggs
225g plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
Put the fruit in a large bowl, breaking up any large clumps. Add the rum, golden syrup, sugar and eggs. Mix well then add the melted butter, sifted flours and mixed spice. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Pour the mixture into a deep 23cm round or deep 20cm square cake tin lined with three sheets of non-stick baking paper. Make sure the baking paper extends at least 1 inch/ 5cm above the top edge of the cake tin.
Preheat your oven to 160C/140C Fan for about 3 ½ hours or until cooked when tested. To test if the cake is done, insert a knife or skewer into the middle, it should come out clean with no crumbs sticking to it.
Take the cake out of the oven, brush with a little extra run, whisky or brandy then set aside to cool completely. Wrap well and store in an airtight container in a cool dark place until you are ready to eat it.
This cake mixture can also be baked in empty baked bean/pulses tins or tuna tins. A baked bean tin sized cake usually takes 45 - 50 minutes, a tuna tin sized cake usually takes 55 - 60 minutes.
We decorated ours with a layer of marzipan followed by a layer of sugarpaste and decorations. I brushed the cakes with a little golden syrup to adhere the marzipan and sugarpaste layers to the cake bites.
* I was sent a hamper of baking goodies by Waitrose and was compensated for my time creating these recipes *