Candied fruit muffins

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Candied fruits cookies

Candied fruits are so Christmassy. I had plans to make them at home but laziness took over and ended up with store-brought. But if you want to make them yourself, check out the recipe here.
These cookies are crunchy on the outside, Soft and chewy on the inside. Double up the recipe if you want to make big batch as they disappear really fast. Perfect for Christmas gifts too. 

You need –

  • Unsalted butter – 75 grams, softened
  • Light brown muscovado sugar – 40 grams
  • Caster sugar – 40 grams
  • Vanilla extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Egg – 1.5 tablespoon of 1 beaten egg
  • Plain flour – 110 grams 
  • Baking  soda – 1/4 teaspoon
  • salt – 1/4 pinch
  • Mixed candied fruits – 100 grams
 How to –
Preheat the oven to 170 C. Line the baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Set aside.
In the mixing bowl, beat  the butter and sugars into a bowl and beat lite and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and egg. Add the sifted flour mixture. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix well. Add the candied fruits and mix till everything is well combined. 
Drop 1 tablespoon of the dough into the prepared baking tray. Slightly press with the back of the spoon  and spacing at least  2 inches  between each cookie.
Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until light brown on the edges and still slightly soft in the center. 
Allow the cookies to firm up on the tray for about 10 minutes and  then transfer to a cooling rack.

Dundee cake – A traditional Scottish fruit cake

So for this season it’s the Scottish  fruit cake that is moist, fruity and very chirstmassy. And it is ludicrously straightforward.
There is someone I want to thank and that’s Jehanne of “The cooking doctor”. I have been discussing for over 2 weeks about the cake with her. Thank you for the recipe, tips and ideas.  They went well in making this cake a hit.
A few notes I would like to share; the cake takes around 2 hours to bake and will turn golden much before but do the skewer test and then remove the cake from the oven. It does look a bit oily when you remove from the oven due to the ground almonds but don’t worry they will be absorbed as the cake cools.

You need –

  • Unsalted butter – 175 grams, at room temperature
  • Caster sugar – 1/4 cup
  • Egg – 4, at room temperature and lightly beaten
  • Ground almonds – 1 & 1/3 cups
  • All purpose flour – 1 cup
  • Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Baking powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sultanas/ golden raisins – 1 & 1/4 cup
  • black raisins – 1 & 1/4 cup
  • Glazed cherries – chopped, 1/4 cup
  • Mixed candied peel – 2 tablespoons
  • Ground mixed spices – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Orange juice – 1/4 cup
  • Blanched almonds – to decorate, around 20

How to –

In a bowl, put the sultanas, black raisins, glazed cherries, mixed candied peel and orange juice. Cover and let it soak overnight.

Preheat the over to 150 C. Line a 8 inch cake tin with parchment paper and set aside. Sift together the flour, mixed spices, salt and almond flour. set aside.
In mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter till pale and fluffy. Gradually add the egg and wait till in forms a smooth batter before each addition. With a wooden spoon fold the ground almonds – flour mixture and mix till smooth. Stir the soaked dried fruits and stir till evenly distributed.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and level the top with a palette knife. Decorate the top of the cake with blanched almonds.  Bake the cake for 2 hours or when skewer is inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Brush the hot cake with 1 tablespoon orange juice. Cover tightly with a foil and cool in the pan.

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Gingerbread Men Cookies

At the risk of repeating myself… Baking with my little one is always great fun and a rejuvenating experience. We do have our fights and arguments, but those endless banter keeps the kitchen so full of life. Glad that she finds comfort in spending time with me in the kitchen.
One more recipe that goes in as ‘memories for tomorrow’… Yay!
Now to the recipe – a  quintessential Christmas treat, these Gingerbread men are uncomplicated to make, and great fun recipe to involve kids. This is adapted from I’ve halved the recipe and went egg-less with this one.

You need –

  • All-purpose flour – 1.5 cups
  • Brown sugar – 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons
  • Ground cinnamon – 1.5 teaspoon
  • Ground ginger – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt –1/4 teaspoon 
  • Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Unsalted butter, 85 grams, cut into small cubes
  • Maple syrup – 1/4 cup
  • Milk – 1 tablespoon

How to –

In food processor  process the flour, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, salt and baking soda till well combined. Add the butter cubes and continue to pulse till the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
To the food processor add the maple syrup and milk gradually and combine till the mixture clumps together. Remove the dough to slightly floured work surface and knead till smooth. Cover the dough with a cling rap and refrigerate for an hours.
Pre-heat the over to 180 C.
Roll the dough into a 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface. Using a cookie cutter, cut into gingerbread men shapes. Place them on the baking tray leaving a little gap between each.
Bake them for 12-15 minutes or till lightly golden.Remove and cool them for 10 minutes then on a wire rack..
When cooled completely decorate with royal icing.

Cranberry, raisin and walnut loaf

Hope you had a wonderful Diwali with lots of fun and great food. Yes! We did too. 
Ah! Now it’s time for thanksgiving and Christmas. My little one is so excited and has already made her Christmas shopping list. This Christmas I have promised her that we will do lots of baking together. The two of us are so looking forward to it.  
I have started off with my baking for the season. And if it’s Christmas it must be cranberries. This soft loaf with the crunchy walnuts, tangy bits of cranberries, the sweetness of raisins is scrumptious and so ideal to get baking for the season.

Recipe source – Simply recipes

You need  –

  • All purpose flour -2 cups
  • Caster sugar – 3/4 cup 
  • baking powder – 1.5 teaspoons 
  • baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon 
  • salt 1/2 teaspoon 
  • walnuts – 3/4 cup, coarsely chopped 
  • dried cranberries – 3/4 cup, roughly chopped
  • Raisins – 1/4 cup
  • orange juice – 3/4 cup 
  • butter – 1/4 cup, melted
  • Egg – 1, beaten

How to –

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
In a bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the walnuts, cranberries, raisins to flour mixture and mix well to coat. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, Add the melted butter, egg and orange juice. Beat will till well combined. Now slowly add the flour-cranberry mixtures to the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon till everything is just blend.
Spoon the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or till the toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the loaf.
Cool the loaf for 10 minutes in pan and then on a wire rack. 

Storing – Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator once cooled completely.