This year we’re going all in when it comes to Christmas. Here’s what to bake for every festive scenario….
The Christmas tunes are at full throttle, the decorations are going up and we’re already planning all the delicious things we’re going to be eating in microscopic detail (how many mince pies is it socially acceptable to eat in one sitting?)
One of the best things about December is rolling up your sleeves and baking up a festive storm in the kitchen to prepare treats for everything the month has in store.
And this year more than ever, we’re using Christmas to celebrate with all the people we couldn’t be with last year.
So hit pause on Love Actually, crank up the Bublé and check out our round-up of mouthwatering bakes for every situation you’ll find yourself in this Christmas…
1. For the vegan and gluten-free visitors
While in the past, baking for a plant-based friend or family member could strike panic into the best of us, vegan baking has come on leaps and bounds.
Gone are the days when you’d have to explore all four corners of the supermarket world to find suitable ingredients, and this indulgent Christmas cheesecake ticks all the boxes.
Better still, this recipe is also gluten-free, making it the perfect free-from treat that’s still packed with flavour.
If you’re feeling extra virtuous, you can whip up the vegan Irish cream yourself by combining espresso powder, cocoa powder, Irish whiskey, caster sugar, Madagascan vanilla bean paste and almond milk. Alternatively, grab a bottle of vegan Bailey’s and free up some time for that extra Christmas movie.
Additionally, if you want to make yourself the star baker amongst your guests, try piping your own chocolate stars by drawing templates onto greaseproof paper and keeping the decorations in the fridge until they’re ready to use.
2. Christmas Eve snacks
Whether you’re waiting for Santa or for your next mulled wine refill, Christmas Eve always holds the same mystical excitement.
And while tradition dictates leaving a classic mince pie for Father Christmas and a carrot for Rudolph, why not give things your own twist this year?
Make the most of the recent chocolate orange trend and try your hand at a batch of zesty Chocolate Orange Mince Pies by adding a dash of orange extract and cocoa powder to your usual mix.
To keep your mince pies looking uniform and to avoid the dreaded bubbling over of mincemeat, make sure you’re chilling your pastry cases in the fridge to prevent them from shrinking and be careful not to overfill them. Just enough time to enjoy a sherry and wrap a couple of presents.
If you’re after more of a sweet and creamy chocolate hit, swap out dark chocolate chips for milk. This is all about getting that warm nostalgic Christmas Eve hit but with an irresistible culinary twist bound to make you the most popular person in your house.
3. Pre-Christmas party bites
If you’ve been bestowed with the honour of hosting for either the nibbles before your Christmas party, or throwing the party itself, you want something that’s fuss-free, easy to rustle up and satisfyingly impressive to look at.
Allow us to introduce you to this Chocolate and Hazelnut Cheesecake.
Make it the night before your party and leave it in the fridge, ready to be sliced and served at a moment’s notice so you can get on with working out who has who for Secret Santa.
In order to get the dream smooth cheesecake consistency that will earn you top cheesecake chef status, have your ingredients at room temperature so that they’re at the perfect mixing texture.
What was it Shakespeare said about cheesecake being the food of love?
4. To round off Christmas dinner
When it comes to munching delicious Christmas food, it’s all leading up to the pièce de résistance – Christmas dinner.
These days, not everyone’s a fan of classics like Christmas pudding and Christmas cake and all quibbles should be strictly reserved for who’s bankrupting who in Monopoly after dinner as opposed to the dinner itself.
So why not try this Chocolate and Salted Caramel Leaf Cake – just the kind of showstopper that will look great in the middle of the table and get people talking.
Christmas pudding haters will rejoice while the subtle cinnamon and ginger spicing in the cake’s sponge will satisfy traditionalists.
When it comes to making the caramel for your buttercream, be careful not to stir it too vigorously as this can cause the sugar to crystallise. Instead, give your pan a few swirls to ensure everything is melting evenly.
Meanwhile, to get the perfect drip down the side of your cake, try it out down the side of a glass or bowl first to check it is the right consistency. After all, you want the satisfaction of watching it trickle down the side of your cake with ease.
Don’t panic if it’s too firm as you can always heat it in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it through and make it easier to pipe.
5. For Boxing Day walk energy
Is it really Christmas if you don’t have a panettone or five to use up?
This Panettone French Toast is the ideal dish to minimise waste, use up ingredients and give you that much-needed energy for a Boxing Day walk. Best of all, you can whip it up using just one bowl, which means minimal washing-up.
All you need is a few thick slices of panettone, eggs, cream, milk, vanilla extract, oil and your choice of toppings to serve it with.
For the ultimate Boxing Day brunch, whisk all of your wet ingredients together and then simply dip your panettone in one slice at a time, leaving it to soak for 30 seconds on each side.
When you’re ready, fry each slice for one minute on each side and then add it to a lined baking tray in the oven on a low heat to keep it warm.
Finally, plate up and add your toppings – we suggest double cream, pomegranate seeds, orange zest, flaked almonds and maple syrup.
Sounds like a new Boxing Day tradition to us.
This year we’re all about reuniting with our closest friends and family to make it a Christmas to remember. Whatever your plans this Christmas, make sure you’re bringing the joy with delicious bakes from Dr. Oetker.