Crumbly mince pies, iced cakes and traditional festive breads like stollen and panettone – find all your favourite Christmas cakes and bakes here.
- 300g plain flour
- 100g caster sugar
- 50g light brown soft sugar
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 80g vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- milk or dark chocolate, melted, to decorate (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Put the flour, sugars, baking powder and a large pinch of salt in a large bowl and mix together.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, vanilla and 3 tbsp of hot water.
- Gradually mix the wet ingredients into the dry until the mixture comes together into a dough. Gently knead the dough until smooth – it will be quite dry, so add another 1 tbsp water if it’s too difficult to knead after a few minutes. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, shaping each into a 25 x 8cm log. Place the logs on the prepared baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray for around 15 minutes.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the slightly cooled logs into 1-2cm-thick slices across. Return the biscotti to the lined baking tray and bake for another 15-20 mins (the oven should still be at 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4), turning the tray around halfway through.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly on the tray; then transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. If you like, dip one end of each biscotti into some melted chocolate and leave to set on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. It will keep in an airtight container for up to five days.
2. Gingerbread Man
- 140g unsalted butter
- 100g dark muscovado sugar
- 3 tbsp golden syrup
- 350g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 balls stem ginger from a jar, chopped
- 50g icing sugar
- a few glacé cherries (we used undyed)
- 2 balls stem ginger
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment. Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a pan. Mix flour, soda, spices and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir in the butter mix and chopped ginger to make a stiff-ish dough.
- Wait until cool enough to handle, then roll out dough to about 5mm thick. Stamp out gingerbread men, re-rolling and pressing the trimmings back together and rolling again.
- Lift onto baking sheets. Bake for 12 mins until golden. Cool 10 mins on the sheets, then lift onto cooling racks.
- To decorate, mix icing sugar with a few drops of water until thick and smooth. Halve and then slice cherries thinly to make smiles, and cut ginger into small squares. Spoon icing into a food bag, snip off the tiniest bit from one corner, then squeeze eyes, buttons, and a tiny smile onto one man at a time. Stick on a cherry smile and the ginger buttons. Repeat on all cookies and leave to set. They will keep up to a week in an airtight tin.
3. Christmas Brownies
- 200g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped
- 100g milk chocolate, chopped
- 3 large eggs
- 300g golden caster sugar
- 100g plain flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- ½ tsp mixed spice
- 9 rosemary sprigs
- 9 glacé cherries
- 1 egg white
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 4 amaretti biscuits, crushed
- 9 chocolate truffles (we used Lindt Lindor)
- edible gold lustre spray
- 1-2 tsp icing sugar for dusting
- a few chocolate buttons
- edible silver balls
- Grease and line a 20cm x 20cm brownie tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Put the butter and both types of chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and either melt in the microwave (in 30 second bursts, stirring after each) or set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring every now and then until the chocolate has melted.
- Leave the chocolate and butter mixture to cool a little. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and caster sugar in a large bowl using electric beaters. Once the mixture is pale, fluffy and looks like it has roughly doubled in volume, whisk in the melted chocolate.
- Fold in the flour, cocoa powder and mixed spice until no pockets of flour remain, and then pour into your prepared tin. Level the top with a spatula and bake for 20-25 minutes. The top should look set and shiny but it should be a little wobbly if you gently jostle the tin.
- Leave the brownie to cool completely in the tin then chill in the fridge until set. While the brownie cools, brush the rosemary sprigs and glacé cherries with egg white, dab off the excess with kitchen paper, then dredge in caster sugar until well coated. Leave to dry on a wire rack. Put the chocolate truffles onto a sheet of baking paper or foil and then spray with the edible gold lustre.
- Dust the chilled brownie with icing sugar to create a snowy surface and top with amaretti biscuit pieces. Then, poke the crystallized rosemary sprigs into the surface at random intervals (cut the brownie into pieces and dust on icing sugar first, if you like). Nestle a glacé cherry or gold truffle alongside the rosemary sprig, then add the buttons and silver balls.
4. Vegan Christmas Pudding
- 125g dairy-free margarine, plus extra for greasing the bowl and paper
- 375g dried figs
- 75ml rum
- 350g mixed sultanas and raisins
- 1 large apple, peeled, cored and grated
- 85g light brown soft sugar
- 85g dark brown soft sugar
- 100g breadcrumbs
- 100g self-raising flour
- ½ tbsp allspice
- Grease a 2-litre pudding bowl with dairy-free margarine, then line the base with a circle of baking parchment. Grease a large sheet of baking parchment, then lay it on top of a large sheet of foil, margarine side up. Fold a pleat in the middle of each sheet.
- Roughly chop 125g of the figs and set aside. Put the remaining figs, the dairy-free margarine and the rum into a large food processor and whizz until semi smooth, then scrape into a large mixing bowl. Tip in the chopped figs, sultanas, raisins, grated apple, sugars, breadcrumbs, flour and allspice. Stir everything together, then spoon into your pudding basin.
- Cover with the buttered paper-foil sheet, tie with a string and trim. Lower into a large saucepan, with upturned saucers or scrunched-up bits of foil in the bottom (so the pudding doesn’t touch the bottom), then fill the pan with enough boiling water from the kettle to come halfway up the sides of the bowl. Cover with a lid and simmer for 3 hrs, topping up the water as needed. Remove and leave to cool. It will keep in a cool, dry cupboard for up to a year.
5. Christmas Truffles
- 150g dark chocolate, chopped
- 150g milk chocolate, chopped
- 150ml double cream
- 50g unsalted butter
- cocoa powder, sprinkles, lustre powder, icing sugar and chopped nuts, for coating
- flavourless oil (such as sunflower), for shaping
- Put the dark and milk chocolate in a bowl, then put the cream and butter in a pan and bring to a simmer. Pour the hot cream and butter mixture over the chocolate and stir until it melts. Leave to cool, then chill in the fridge for 7 hours.
- Put the coatings into separate bowls. To shape the truffles, lightly rub your hands with flavourless oil and roll teaspoons of the truffle mix between your palms – this can get messy!
- Gently roll the truffles in the bowl until evenly coated, then put in a box and chill. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for three days, or freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge overnight.
6. Star Cookies
- 175g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 100g golden icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
For the filling:
- 50g unsalted butter, softened
- 160g icing sugar
- 120g seedless raspberry or strawberry jam
You will also need:
- 2 star cookie cutters, around 6cm and 3cm
- Blitz the butter, flour and a pinch of salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and blitz again. Add the vanilla and egg yolk and blend until balls of dough have formed. Tip the dough onto a work surface and knead briefly to make a smooth ball. Cut into two equal pieces, pat them into discs, then wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Remove the dough from the fridge 15 minutes before you roll it out. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Unwrap one piece of dough and roll it out to the thickness of a 50p coin. Use a 6cm star cutter to stamp out stars (you should get about 15) and transfer to a baking sheet.
- Unwrap and roll out the other piece of dough. Stamp out 15 more stars and transfer to the second baking sheet. Stamp holes into the middle of 15 of the biscuits using the smaller cutter. Cover and chill for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes (the stars with a hole need less time), cool for 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Whisk the butter, sugar and 50g of the jam with an electric mixer. Transfer to a piping bag with a small round nozzle, or snip off the end to make a ½cm opening. Put the remaining jam in another piping bag and snip off the end to make a slightly smaller hole.
- Pipe blobs of the filling around the edge of each whole biscuit, leaving a space in the centre. Fill the space with jam, then sandwich a biscuit with a hole cut out on top of each one. These will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.
7. Vegan Lemon Cake
- 100ml vegetable oil, plus extra for the tin
- 275g self-raising flour
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 lemon, zested, 1/2 juiced
- For the icing
- 150g icing sugar
- ½ lemon, juiced
- Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Oil a pound loaf tin and line it with baking parchment.
- Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and lemon zest in a bowl. Add the oil, lemon juice and 170ml cold water, then mix until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the tin. Bake for 30 minutes or until a wood skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove and transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool fully.
- For the icing, sieve the icing sugar into a bowl. Mix in just enough lemon juice to make an icing thick enough to pour over the loaf (if you make the icing too thin, it will just run down the sides of the cake).