Your guide to Christmas baking from gingerbread to pavlova

Christmas gingerbread. Picture: Supplied
Christmas gingerbread. Picture: Supplied

The perfect recipe to get in the festive mood is to put on some carols, grab your apron and bake up a storm.

Whether it's tradition or just the social expectation that December is a time to eat what you want, there's just something about this time of year that is only enhanced by baked goods.

To help you get in the kitchen this Christmas, here is a selection of festive foods to impress friends and family with.

Christmas gingerbread

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup treacle
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp bi-carb soda

Icing

  • 1 egg white
  • 2 cups pure icing sugar
  • Assorted food colours

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Beat butter, dark brown sugar and treacle until light and creamy. Add egg, beat well.
  3. Combine flour, spices and bi-carb soda and stir into creamed mixture, mix until just combined.
  4. Turn onto floured surface, knead 1 minute, adding a little extra flour if dough is sticky. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.
  5. Take dough out of fridge and roll out onto lightly floured surface to 4mm thickness. Using Christmas cutters, cut shapes from dough. Place shapes on baking trays, allowing room for the biscuits to spread, and bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool before icing.
  6. To make the icing, beat egg white until frothy. Gradually add pure icing sugar, beating well after each addition. Continue until the icing is firm and holds its shape.
  7. Divide mixture into portions and tint with colour as desired; mix well. Pipe/spread icing onto biscuits decoratively.

Serves: 20

  • Recipe from CSR Sugar and White Wings.

Salted caramel gingerbread pavlova

Salted caramel gingerbread pavlova. Picture: Supplied

Salted caramel gingerbread pavlova. Picture: Supplied

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 90 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom

Salted caramel

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 120ml water
  • 3/4 cup thickened cream
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Whipped cream cheese

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 250ml thickened cream
  • 1/4 cup soft icing mixture
  • Crushed gingerbread biscuits (or pfeffernusse)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C fan-forced. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat egg-whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add caster and brown sugar, beating well until the mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved. Add cornflour, vinegar and spices and beat until well combined.
  3. Spoon mixture into 3 x 18-20cm circles. Using a palette knife, shape into a circle. Place in the oven, reduce the heat to 120C. Cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  4. Turn oven off and allow meringues to completely cool in the oven.
  5. For the salted caramel, dissolve sugar and water in a heavy-bottom saucepan over a medium heat. After about five to 10 mins, mixture should turn caramel colour. Don't stir the caramel mixture.
  6. Once the caramel is golden, take it off the heat and add the salt and cream. Whisk until combined.
  7. For the whipped cream cheese, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  8. In another bowl combine cream cheese and icing sugar. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped cream and gently combine.
  9. To assemble, gently transfer first layer of pavlova to a cake stand. Spread 1/3 of the whipped cream cheese over the top, followed by a scattering of crumbled gingerbread, and a generous drizzle of the salted caramel.

Serves 8.

  • Recipe from CSR Sugar and White Wings.

Vegan gingerbread and candy cane doughnuts

Vegan gingerbread and candy cane doughnuts. Picture: Supplied

Vegan gingerbread and candy cane doughnuts. Picture: Supplied

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground all spice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut or brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed meal with 3 tbsp warmed almond milk)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp neutral cooking oil (eg canola, olive or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Crushed candy canes (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease donut pan with oil of choice. Set aside.
  2. For the flax egg, combine flaxseed meal and warm almond milk in a small bowl. Set aside to thicken.
  3. In a medium bowl, add all dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Add wet ingredients. Stir to combine until you reach a smooth batter.
  4. Add doughnut batter to a piping bag or ziplock bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe around each cavity of the donut pan. Fill 3/4 high.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Allow the doughnuts to cool in the pan before placing onto a wire rack.
  6. Meanwhile, for the glaze, combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until completely combined. Add a splash more almond milk if needed. When ready to serve, dip or drizzle the doughnuts into the glaze. Sprinkle crushed Christmas candy canes (optional).

Makes 6-7 large donuts.

  • Recipe from the Nourished Chef (Clarissa Kocovski) and Califia Farms.

Macadamia shortbread trees

Macadamia shortbread trees. Picture: Supplied

Macadamia shortbread trees. Picture: Supplied

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 250g butter, diced and softened
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (45g) macadamia halves, finely chopped
  • 200g white chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fine desiccated coconut

Method

  1. Place butter into the bowl of an electric mixer, beat until smooth, slowly add the icing sugar, mixing in well.
  2. Add the flours and baking powder gradually, until all incorporated. Fold in macadamias. Remove to a lightly floured surface and bring together with your hands. Roll out to 12 cm thickness and use various sized star shaped cutters, cut shapes and place onto lined oven trays. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Place trays of shortbread into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until just golden underneath. Allow to cool for five minutes on trays before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Place chocolate into a heat proof bowl and microwave at 50 per cent for 30 seconds, stir and continue in 15 second bursts until all melted and smooth. Dip cooled shortbread star tips into chocolate, sprinkle with coconut and allow to set on a wire rack.
  5. To assemble trees, you may need to reheat chocolate gently. Using larger stars as the base layer, place a dollop of chocolate in the centre and place another star on top, continue with another six to seven stars gradually finishing with the smallest sized star at the top. Repeat with remaining stars.

Tips: When dipping star tips in chocolate, place on an upturned glass so you can achieve the chocolate snow drip effect. Shortbread will keep in a sealed container for up to two weeks.

Makes 2-3 trees.

  • Recipe fromMcKenzie's Foods.

White Christmas lamingtons

White Christmas lamingtons. Picture: Supplied

White Christmas lamingtons. Picture: Supplied

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 20g butter, diced
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Icing

  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 3 cups fine desiccated coconut
  • 1/3 cup raspberry jam
  • 1 cup cream, whipped

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line the base and sides of a 22 x 22cm cake pan with baking paper. Place eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat for about six minutes until pale and thickened.
  2. Meanwhile, place milk and butter in a microwave proof jug and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds or until butter is melted. Repeat for a further 10 seconds if required.
  3. Fold the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture using a large spoon until well incorporated without overmixing. Gradually pour milk mixture down the sides of the mixing bowl whilst gently folding into the mixture until smooth.
  4. Pour the sponge mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until it springs back when gently pressed. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate covered until required.
  5. For the icing, whisk together the icing sugar and milk, allow to cool slightly.
  6. Cut cake into rounds using a 5cm cutter. Dip each piece into icing, coating evenly. Toss in coconut and allow to set. For serving, cut in half and dollop with jam and cream.

Tips: Make sponge in advance and either refrigerate or freeze until required. You can also cut the cake into squares for square lamingtons. Store lamingtons once filled in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to five days.

Makes 16.

  • Recipe fromMcKenzie's Foods.

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This story Baking spirits bright: Last minute Christmas sweets first appeared on The Canberra Times.