Merry Making Merry Baking

Merry Making Merry Baking

Top 10 Holiday Bakes

Christmas is about gratitude, giving, making merry and of course baking! There is no other time in the year that the oven is used as much as during the winter break and we have you covered for everything that needs to be up on that beautiful treat table on Christmas eve as well as the gifts that you send across to your friends. The intention of gifting is to spread cheer and make sure your loved one’s have something special from you to hold on to – we at Alchemy think that when this sweet gesture is quite literally a sweet treat the joy doubles. Every heart melts at the first bite of a moist plum cake or a mouthful of gooey crunchy caramel popcorn! So go right ahead and raid this article of the fun recipes and tricks to make your Christmas a very merry special one.

| Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Directions

– Wash the strawberries well and pull the leaves back.

– Melt a cup of choco-chips or cooking chocolate (dark chocolate, white chocolate or milk chocolate, whatever you prefer) either over a double boiler or in the microwave.

– Dip the strawberries in the melted chocolate

– Before the chocolate sets sprinkle fun red and white sprinkles to add the extra holiday cheer!

– After the chocolate sets you can use other melted chocolate that is not the same as the flavor you dipped it in and drip it over the strawberries.

Tips

If you wash the strawberries and put them in the fridge for a while before you dip them in the melted chocolate you can ensure the chocolate sets faster on the cold surface of the strawberry. Using skewers is also a simple way to avoid making a mess!

Pack these in a cookie tin or cupcake liners. Putting them in a mason jar or A Christmassy bag – the sky is the limit using your creativity!

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Cookies and Cream Snowman Pops

Directions

– Melt white chocolate in a quantity that is enough to be able to dunk an entire Oreo In it. So melt a quantity based on number of pops you decide.

– Stick a skewer through the creamed center of the Oreo and dip it well in the melted white chocolate.

– Lay the dipped Oreo biscuits on a parchment paper and use white chocolate dyed black or simply dark chocolate to make eyes.

– Dye white chocolate in orange for the carrot rose!

Tips

Pack in cute little packets with a ribbon tied at the neck of the skewer.

Snowman Pops

Hot Chocolate Popcorn

Directions

– Use home-made regular un-flavored popcorn made from air popped corn in the quantity you want.

– Melt Milk Chocolate or Dark chocolate in the quantity of how chocolat-ey you want your popcorn to be. We prefer Milk chocolate at Alchemy however feel free to experiment and maybe use both!

– Lay out the popped popcorn on a baking tray on a parchment paper.

– Drizzle the melted chocolate using a piping Bag on the popcorn. Be generous don’t hold back.

– What is hot chocolate without marshmallows? Add mini marshmallows right after drizzling the popcorn so it sets in with the choco-drizzle.

Tips

Pack the popcorn in piping bags you may usually use for piping icing. Add in candies and more marshmallows and tie everything up with a ribbon and it voila you’ve a perfect little cone to gift.

Hot Chocolate Popcorn

Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn

Directions

– Use home-made regular un-flavored popcorn and melted butter in a quantity that is taken in accordance with the popcorn you have. (Around 50-100 gm for a serving of 3) Use either salted or unsalted butter, we prefer the salted as it provides a good balance to all the sugar

– Mix one teaspoon of cinnamon with half to one cup of light brown sugar and keep this mix ready.

– Lay out the popcorn in a large vessel and drizzle the melted butter and add the cinnamon sugar mix and then toss the contents of the vessel thoroughly so each corn kernel is well coated with butter and the sweet cinnamon mix.

Tips

Again it can be served in piping bags or but let’s be honest big bowls of this holiday treat disappear on Christmas eve so it makes sense if you make huge quantities and serve them right through the bowls.

Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn

Classic Plum Cake

If anything’s evergreen year after year at every Christmas party it is this cake and the fool proof easy to make recipe we have here for you. Tried and tested multiple times at Alchemy Kitchens this is our gift to you this Christmas.

Ingredients

200 gm light brown sugar
1 cup of water
60 gm Butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground dried orange peel
50 gm raisins
50 gm blackcurrant
50 gm cranberries
100 gm tutti frooti bits
50 gm cherries
50 gm chopped walnuts
50 gm sliced cashews
3 eggs
200 gm all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

– In a saucepan, take the raisins, blackcurrants, cranberries, tutti frooti bits and cherries. To this, add the light brown sugar, butter, ground cinnamon, ground dried orange peel, salt and water. bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Let this mixture cool until just lukewarm.

– In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla essence. To this add the boiled dry fruit mixture and stir.

– Add in the flour, baking soda and baking powder until well combined.

– In a small bowl take the chopped walnuts and cashews and lightly coat them with flour before mixing with the batter

– pour the batter in a buttered floured tin and bake in a 180° preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Classic Plum Cake

Brownie Xmas Pops

Another easy holiday treat is brownie tower or brownie Christmas tree done up in green icing to bring in the holiday cheer. Be warned though these disappear before you finish saying ho ho ho!

Ingredients

250 gm all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs
400 gm chocolate
250 gm powdered sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
250 gm unsalted butter
Splash of milk

Directions

– Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or over a double boiler.

– In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and mix.

– Add the chocolate and butter mixture and mix. Then add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

– Add a splash of milk if the batter is too stiff.

– Pour batter in a sheet pan or brownie tin and sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top. Bake at 180 degrees until a toothpick comes out clean.

– Cut the brownies in triangle shape and pipe green butter cream as shown in the picture below or get creative and use sprinkles and icing to make your own Christmas tree masterpiece!

– Use a straw or lollipop stick skewered through the middle.

Xmas Brownie Pops

Peppermint Chocolate Bark

If anything this peppermint chocolate barks are synonymous with Christmas cheer and the eager hands of children and adults alike who cannot have just one . The easiest way to make these I your kitchen is listed below

Ingredients

340gms good-quality semisweet chocolate chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
450gms good-quality white chocolate chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 candy canes or 12 round hard peppermint candies crushed

Directions

– Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, shiny-side up; smooth out any wrinkles. Heat 1 inch of water in a saucepan over low heat until steaming. Put all but 3/4 cup of the semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan of steaming water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and stir until one-third of the chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan; keep the steaming water over low heat. Gradually stir the reserved 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate into the bowl, a few pieces at a time until all the chocolate is melted

– Return the bowl to the saucepan, 5 to 10 seconds at a time, to help melt the chocolate, if needed. Do not rush this step: It may take up to 10 minutes to melt the chocolate. Wipe off any moisture from the bottom of the bowl. Stir 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract into the chocolate, then quickly pour into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Firmly tap the dish against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Set aside at room temperature until almost set, about 10 minutes.

– Put all but 1 cup of the white chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and repeat the melting process over the steaming water; dry off the bottom of the bowl. Stir in the remaining 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract; pour over the semisweet chocolate and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle immediately with the crushed candy canes, gently pressing them into the white chocolate. Set aside at room temperature until firm, about 1 hour. Lift the bark out of the pan using the foil and break it into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Peppermint Chocolate Bark

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

You can never have a Christmas celebration or gift a Christmas hamper without a ton of bags and jars of sugar cookies. These are easy to make and the royal icing is a recipe that can be made in a jiffy and used in the most versatile ways to deck these simple treats up in festive ways.

Ingredients

3 Egg whites
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions

– In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy.

– Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny.

– Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

– Add food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Sugar Palmier Cookies

A fancier cousin of the regular sugar cookies – Palmier cookies are easy on the eyes and the tongue both These French delicacies go really well with hot chocolate and eggnog being served at your xmas party as they are perfectly crunchy accompaniments to the hot beverages.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 package puff pastry sheets

Directions

– Thaw the puff pastry, if frozen: If your puff has been in the freezer, place it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Alternatively, place it on the counter to thaw, but keep an eye on it. Once the pastry is pliable, but still cool, it’s ready — about 30 minutes.

– Roll out the puff pastry: If using store-bought dough, lightly roll the dough just enough to even out the seams. If using homemade dough, roll the dough out to a rectangle that is 1/8 to 1/4 inches thick.

– Sprinkle with sugar: Sprinkle most of the sugar in an even layer over the surface of the dough. Roll over it lightly with a rolling pin to press the sugar into the dough.

– Fold the sides inward: Fold the left and the right sides of the dough inward so they meet in the middle.

– Sprinkle with more sugar: Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the dough. Again, roll over the dough lightly to press in the sugar.

– Fold the dough in half like a book: Fold the left side over the right side, like closing a book. This should make a very long, flat length of dough with the first two folds sandwiched in the middle.

– Refrigerate 30 minutes: Transfer the log to a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to give the dough time to firm up. This will make them easier to cut and also help them puff better in the oven.

– Heat the oven to 425°F. Place a rack in the middle position.

– Slice into cookies: After chilling, transfer the log back to the work surface. Use a sharp knife to slice the log across into cookies roughly 1-inch wide.

– Transfer to baking sheet: Transfer the cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet, laying them cut-side up. Sprinkle the cookies with more sugar, if desired. Make sure to space the palmiers a few inches apart — they will puff quite a lot in the oven! Bake in batches if necessary; place the un-baked cookies in the fridge to chill between batches.

– Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until dark golden. If it seems like the sugar on the bottom of the cookies is starting to burn before baking is finished, transfer the baking sheet to a higher oven rack and reduce the heat to 375°F.

– Cool and eat! Let the palmiers cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. They will become crispier as they cool. Palmiers are best the day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container for several days. They will gradually lose their crispiness over time.

Sugar Palmier Cookies

10 Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

The fudge is the king at any new year and Christmas do and it takes very little work to create the magic that this treat does.

Ingredients

1 cup condensed milk
3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Red peppermint candies crushed for topping

Directions

– Line an 8-by-8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray.

– In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk and stir until melted and smooth. Pour into the prepared baking pan and spread to even out the surface. Sprinkle on the crushed candies. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

– Lift the foil out of the pan and peel off the fudge. Cut into small squares.

– Add food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

With that we come to an end of fun and easy to make holiday treats that you can rely on. The intention behind the baking and gifting matters and we know whatever you do, just like us at Alchemy, our readers pour their heart into everything. May the light and joy of the Christmas cheer light the way to the new year, we wish you all a bright and merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!. Here’s to more baking adventures, fun hacks and easy to make tips. Oh also, remember that the Christmas calories don’t count – so indulge, ‘tis the season!

Alisha Akheel
alchemy180@gmail.com
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