Mincemeat Recipe

Mincemeat

Mincemeat is something I have been wanting to make for several years. It isn’t that it takes that long to make, but there are a lot of ingredients in it, which makes it a bit of a commitment to make. I really wanted to make a mincemeat with cranberries in, as I loved some cranberry mince pies that they sold at Sainsbury’s a couple of years ago and figured that homemade would be even better!

I found the recipe in Mary Berry’s Christmas collection, a great recipe book that I would highly recommend for awesome looking Christmas recipes. I like that this recipe can be made in advance- it lasts up to 6 months, and makes 4 x 370g jars. I used some big 600g compote jars- although I would have used smaller if I had them!

A jar of this would be a great Christmas present for someone you love.

To make this recipe you need sterilised jam jars to put it in to ensure the contents don’t go off. In order to do this heat the over to 140°C/120°C Fan. Wash jars in hot soapy water and rinse well. Then place them on a baking tray and put them in the oven to dry completely. Spoon the mincemeat in whilst the jars are still hot! Here’s a great guide.

Ingredients

  • 175g currants
  • 175g raisins
  • 175g sultanas
  • 175g dried cranberries
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 125g butter cut into cubes
  • 50g whole blanched almonds, chopped
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 200ml brandy(my choice), rum or sherry

Measure all the ingredients except the alcohol into a large pan. Heat gently, ensuring the butter melts. Then simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, for around 10 minutes.

Allow the mixture to completely cool. Then stir in the alcohol.

Spoon the mincemeat into the sterilised jam jars- see above for how to sterilise. Seal tightly and store in a cool place.

Mincemeat Jar

There’s several recipes I want to try with this mincemeat- but I will be posting up a mince pie recipe soon!

American Light Christmas Cake Recipe

American Light Christmas Cake

It is the season to be baking now that we have reached December! I decided to post about this Christmas Cake now, rather than doing another post that I was planning on due to the fact that this cake needs time to rest for Christmas- leave it much later and it won’t be at its best!

I have been wanting to make a Christmas cake for several years now, but have never got around to it due to them being fairly time and labour intensive. And because I was never prepared enough to make it in advance!

This year however I was determined to make one. I used a recipe I found in Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection. It is a recipe book I got last Christmas and didn’t get around to using, but have been finding it invaluable for ideas this year around!

I decided on the American Light Christmas cake for a few reasons- it is supposed to be lighter than a classic Christmas cake that I often find too much, it contains pineapple and almonds which I love in cakes and it doesn’t contain any alcohol- which I thought would keep it lighter tasting.

Sadly I can’t try this cake yet as it is put away ready for Christmas. Hence the backdrop of tinfoil as I unwrapped it to take pictures! I will update with pictures of it cut, and how I liked it(and post pictures on twitter/ instagram) once I cut it. (It smells delicious.)

I used an 8 ½ inch deep cake tin instead of the 9in recommended as I didn’t have one and it worked fine. Ensure to grease well and line the base and sides with a double layer of greased baking paper.

American Light Christmas Cake

Ingredients

  • 350g glacé cherries (chopped into quarters and rinsed/ drained on kitchen roll.) Plus extra whole for decoration
  • 1x 200g can of pineapple in natural juice (roughly chopped and very well drained on kitchen paper-if left wet the cake may go mouldy.)
  • 350g no-soak dried apricots (Snipped with scissors into raisin sized pieces.)
  • 100g whole blanched almonds, chopped. Plus extra whole for decoration.
  • Finely grated zest of two lemons
  • 350g sultanas
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g butter, softened (the softer it is the easier it will be to make!)
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 5 eggs

Preheat oven to 160°C/140°c Fan. Make sure the deep cake tin is prepared as above. (greased and lined base and sides with greased baking paper)

Place the prepared fruits and nuts into a large mixing bowl with the lemon zest and gently mix. Add the remaining ingredients (Flour, sugar, butter, ground almonds and eggs) and beat well until smooth. Pour into the prepared cake tin. Level the surface and smooth. Decorate the top with whole blanched almonds and halved glacé cherries.

Bake in the preheated oven for around 2 ¼ hours until golden brown. Use a cake tester or skewer to test- if it comes out clean it is ready. After one hour, if the cake is getting too brown cover loosely with foil.

Leave in the tin to cool for 30 mins then turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

If desired you can glaze the cake by mixing 100g icing sugar with enough water to make a thin icing. Drizzle decoratively over the top of the cake (I haven’t decided whether or not to do so yet!)

Finally wrap in tin foil and keep in a cool, dry place. Mary recommends ideally making the cake 1 month ahead, so if you want to make it for Christmas make it soon!

It is a fairly labour intensive cake due to all of the chopping, and it takes quite a while due to the long baking time but I feel like Christmas is the time to have something a little special.

American Light Christmas Cake

I’d love to hear any Christmas baking recommendations people have!

Espresso Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Espresso Cinnamon Rolls

After buying yeast in order to make pizza, I realised that this meant I could once again tackle one of my favourite breakfast items- Cinnamon Rolls. However if I was actually going to make them for breakfast I required a quick recipe, one without the usual long resting periods for the dough to rise. If I am going to wake up and make Cinnamon Rolls I want them done within an hour and a half or less!

For this I turned to joythebaker, and a recipe that I had been eyeing up since January! The recipe is for Quick and Dirty Chocolate Espresso Cinnamon Rolls. I figured that if there was anything that could make cinnamon rolls better, it would be chocolate and coffee! Joythebaker is one of my favourite blogs to check for american baking recipes.

According to the recipe it takes under an hour, and I would say that with practise I could make it that quick. Currently it probably takes me about an hour and a half, including time for measuring etc.

The recipe makes six cinnamon rolls, and they are still fairly delicious the next day (if there are any left.) I used a brownie tin to bake them in which was the absolute perfect size.

My boyfriend found the dark chocolate chips too intense for his liking, so the next time that I make these I will try using milk chocolate instead. I found that I had too much glaze as I don’t like too much glaze on my cinnamon rolls, therefore next time I make them I will halve it or make ¾ of the amount.

Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients- Dough

  • ½ Cup Whole Milk
  • 2 tbsp. Butter
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp dry yeast
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups plain flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg yolk

Ingredients- Filling

  • 6 tbsp butter melted
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp instant espresso powder
  • ¾ tsp cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Ingredients- Glaze

  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • ½ tsp instant espresso powder
  • 3 tbsp double cream (or enough for pourable glaze)

In a saucepan combine milk, butter and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the butter has melted. Remove from heat and leave to cool until just warm.

Place milk mixture in a mixing bowl and sprinkle over the yeast. Stir. Leave for 5 mins to allow yeast to activate.

Add 1 ½ cups flour, salt and the egg yolk to the milk mixture then stir with a wooden spoon until mixed together. Add more flour, a tbsp at a time if the dough feels too wet. Bring the dough into a ball and knead with hands briefly.

Cover bowl with clingfilm and leave for 10 minutes, preferably in a warmish place.

Roll out dough on a floured work surface into a roughly 9 x 12 inch rectangle.

Spread with ¾ of the melted butter (roughly) Stir together the filling ingredients, minus the chocolate chips and butter. Sprinkle it over the melted butter on the rectangle of dough. Sprinle with chocolate chips. Roll starting at the longer edge into a tight coil.

Slice into 6 pieces using a sharp knife or dough cutter.

Use the remaining butter to grease the bottom and sides of the baking pan. Place rolls in leaving a little room between them. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warmish place for 30 mins.

Preheat the over to 180°C. Remove clingfilm and bake for 18-20 mins (or until golden brown.)

Remove from oven and allow to slightly cool. Whisk together glaze ingredients and drizzle over the warm rolls.

Finally enjoy!

Espresso Cinnamon Rolls

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodle front

I am a big fan of cinnamon; particularly as it gets towards the Christmas period- it’s a spice that always reminds me of Christmas! There is one cookie that always makes me think of cinnamon, and that is Snickerdoodles! I have been wanting to make snickerdoodles for a while- in fact it was a couple of months ago that I picked up some cream of tartar just to make them. (I can’t really think of many other uses for cream of tartar of the top of my head!)

I did however wait to make snickerdoodles until it was November- which really feels like the perfect time to make them, they feel quite seasonal and I like having recipes that I only make at certain times of the year. However after trying this recipe I can see a lot more snickerdoodles in my future! I have tried making snickerdoodles before, but found that although I loved the flavour the texture was a little lacking- they often went fairly flat and crunchy. I like my cookies soft and thick!

It therefore seemed like fate to stumble across a recipe for soft and thick snickerdoodles at Sally’s Baking Addiction. They sounded like everything I had been wanting in a snickerdoodle. And luckily they lived up to my hopes! They are soft with a really good texture.  They also taste strongly like cinnamon and are delicious.

What is handy about this recipe is that the cookies last. They last for about 7 days, if stored at room temperature in an airtight container. I think they would be a perfect cookie to give as a gift, I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with a gift of these!

Snickerdoodle trio

Ingredients (makes about 24)

230g Butter at room temperature

267g Granulated sugar (I used caster and it worked fine but granulated may give a little more crunch.)

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1tsp vanilla paste)

375g plain flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 ½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp table salt

For the Topping

50g granulated sugar (I used caster, granulated may give a little more crunch.)

1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 190°C. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper or silicone baking mats.

Make the topping by mixing together the 50g sugar and 1tsp sugar, put to the side.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter until smooth. Add the sugar on a medium speed and continue beating until it is light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla.

In a different bowl, whisk (by hand) together the flour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt. With the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet in three different parts. I did this by adding a few tablespoons of the dry mixture at a time.

Take 1.5- 2 tbsp. of the cookie dough and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball in the cinnamon sugar topping. Repeat for all remaining dough.

Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes; you can lightly press them with a fork whilst they are still hot to help flatten them out if required.

Allow to cool on the baking sheet for ten mins, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.

Finally enjoy!

Snickerdoodle closeup

I’d love to hear any recommendations for great baking recipes with cinnamon!