Got the urge to let a little Christmas in, but not quite ready to go full Elf and Baileys? Ease into December with these festive baking recipes
Gingerbread and caramel chocolate brownies (pictured top)
Chocolatier Claire Burnet of Chococo in Exeter knows a thing or two about working with chocolate, so when she comes up with a recipe for gingerbread and caramel chocolate brownies, it’s worth taking note.
In this recipe you make the gooey caramel sauce first, so a good tip is to increase the quantity so you can a) use it as a homemade gift or b) make a jar for pouring over ice cream during the festive period.
The final result is a spiced chocolate brownie with molten caramel running through it and a sticky, unctuous texture. Best accompanied by freshly ground filter coffee with caramel notes to cut through the richness of the brownie (find excellent coffee beans here).
Sybil Kapoor’s recipe for gloriously sticky ginger traybake has all the warming spice notes and treacly dark muscovado flavours which are so traditional in festive baking. She describes it as ‘a fusion of gingerbread, parkin and flapjack’ and it’s just the ticket for elevenses on December mornings (who’s volunteering to make this for the office?).
Nadia Pendleton’s biscotti recipe is a slice of Italian-style Christmas thanks to its cranberry, orange and almond ingredients.
If you’ve never made biscotti you’ll be delighted to discover how easy it is. It just needs double baking to create the tooth-breakingly hard texture which reveals itself in all its glory when dipped into a glass of vin santo (though never coffee – one of those unbreakable Italian food rules, apparently).
This festive fruit cake recipe from The Greenbank Hotel in Cornwall is a classic – and super straightforward to make.
If you just can’t stay out of the warm embrace of the kitchen at this time of year, why not make a batch of Christmas cakes to give as gifts? Just remember, if you use the recipe to make two smaller gift cakes, reduce the cooking time and check more regularly to make sure you don’t overcook them – they’ll be golden on top and a skewer will come out cleanly and feel hot to the touch when the cake is ready.
Read more here on getting creative with your Christmas cake.