Showing posts with label Christmas pudding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas pudding. Show all posts

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Christmas Pudding Cookies #CookieWeek #Giveaway

These little rounded cookies have the rich taste of Christmas pudding – dried fruit, dates, orange peel, spices - in bite-sized portions, complete with brandy butter to serve.

It’s Day Four of Cookie Week and I’m finally getting around to my second cookie! It’s been a busy week. But if this year’s Cookie Week is anything like last year’s Cookie Week, I know folks are going to be using our Pinterest board for holiday baking inspiration in weeks to come, so I wanted to share something a little different, with a British twist.

This recipe comes from a Jamie Oliver Christmas magazine a couple of years ago, December 2012, in fact. But, of course, he called them Christmas Pudding Biscuits. I think the only thing I’ve changed, besides the name, is to put just a little bit less flour so that the round cookie I like to bake is less dry. Jamie rolls them out and bakes them flat, like sugar cookies, but my cookie scoop makes the most perfect little Christmas pudding-shaped cookies and when that idea originally popped into my head, I couldn’t resist.

Make sure you scroll on down to see the other cookies we’ve baked for you today and, if you haven’t already, do enter the drawing for all the great baking ingredients, equipment and cookbooks generously donated by our fabulous sponsors: Imperial SugarCirculonPeanut Butter & Co. and Page Street Publishing.

For the cookie dough:
2 2/3 oz or 75g toasted flaked almonds
5 1/3 oz or 150g medool dates, pitted
3 oz or 85g dried mixed fruit
Grated zest 1 orange
1/3 cup + 1 rounded tablespoon or 85g caster sugar
1/3 cup or 85g butter, softened
1 egg
1 1/3 cups or 165g flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

For the brandy butter:
1/4 cup or 50g butter, softened
1 cup or 125g icing or powdered sugar
Pinch salt
1-2 teaspoons brandy

Put the toasted almonds in your food processor and process briefly to chop them up.

Add in the dates, mixed fruit and orange zest and pulse until finely chopped. This could make your food processor jump around quite a bit so make sure to hold it down while pulsing.  Set aside.

There are still going to be some small chunks and medium-sized chunks.

Combine your flour, baking powder, cinnamon and mixed spice in a bowl.

In another larger bowl, cream together your butter and sugar. Add the egg to the butter and sugar and beat well until combined.

Stir in the flour mixture, mixing well.

Now fold in the almond/fruit mixture from the food processor. It looks like it’s going to be dry and bits keep falling out but persevere. Soon it will come together into a nice thick dough.

At this point you can wrap the dough in cling film, chill it for 20 minutes and then roll it out and cut it as you would sugar cookies or  - my idea - you can scoop it into little balls with a cookie scoop.  They look like little Christmas puds!

Either way, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare a baking pan by lining it with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

I scooped mine into little balls and baked for about 14-16 minutes, until they were golden on the outside and a little darker on the bottom.

While they bake, you can make your brandy butter.
Use a wooden spoon to beat the softened butter together with the powdered sugar and a pinch of salt.

Once it’s light and fluffy, add in the brandy one teaspoon at a time, beating well in between.

The brandy transforms the butter and sugar into something even more fluffy and light and wonderful. If you aren't using it right away, it will stiffen back up in the refrigerator and you may need to let it warm up a little before it will spread.

Once the cookies are baked, allow them to cool completely before you top them with a swipe of brandy butter.


I cannot tell you how perfectly these go with a cup of tea!

Many thanks to our Cookie Week hosts Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl In the Little Red Kitchen! We’ve got a great team of 12 bloggers bringing you five fantastic days of cookie recipes to get you in to the holiday spirit. Are you feeling like a cookie monster yet? If not, you should be – because resisting all these delicious cookies is nearly impossible!

Grab a warm cookie from our Cookie Week bloggers!

And here's what you might have missed from Tuesday and Wednesday while I was shaking cocktails and stirring noodles!

How about some hot baking PRIZES?! One winner takes all! 

    How to enter
    Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment telling us what your favorite cookie is to bake during the holidays. Additional ways to enter will be then be revealed in the Rafflecopter widget.

    1 (one) lucky person will win ALL the prizes listed above. The winner will be randomly chosen through Rafflecopter. This giveaway is open from Monday, November 3rd, 2014 to Monday, November 11th 11:59 EST to US residents only. The winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond, at which time a new winner will be drawn. Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Friday, October 31, 2014

    Granda's Dumpling aka Christmas Pudding

    A beautifully rich steamed cake or pudding, filled with raisins and black currants, Christmas Pudding is one of the traditional Christmas desserts in the United Kingdom. At our house, we serve it with homemade brandy butter and/or lashings of thick cream.

    Food Lust People Love: A beautifully rich steamed cake or pudding, filled with raisins and black currants, Christmas Pudding is one of the traditional Christmas desserts in the United Kingdom.

    If you come from a family that makes proper Christmas pudding each year, you probably have a recipe that’s been handed down to you from a generation or two back. Sadly, I do not. So each year I borrow my friend, Jacky’s family recipe, known colloquially as Granda’s Dumpling because it’s her father who is responsible for its production in their family.

    I’d love to be able to explain to you why they call it a dumpling, rather than a pudding, but The Google struggles with that question (so many “authorities” with diverse opinions!) and I am sure to get a ream of comments correcting me if I try.

    Suffice to say that in Scotland, whence our dumpling-making patriarch hails, these things have been, in days gone by, wrapped in a cloth or clootie and boiled, dumpling style, instead of being steamed. Alan chooses to steam his, so I do as well. After all, this is HIS recipe. If you are going to borrow treasured family recipes, the least you can do is respect the method.

    The dumpling man, singing Christmas carols, surrounded by granddaughters, one actual, two adoptees.

    Most Christmas puddings are made a couple of months in advance of Christmas and then are soaked with whiskey or rum or brandy at regular intervals until the big day arrives. But the beauty of this particular recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and soaked but it is just as fabulous when made the night before it’s needed. This is just the ticket if you happen to be traveling to another country to celebrate Christmas.

    It was December 1998 and Jacky and I were living in the small oilfield town of MacaƩ, Brazil with our husbands and children. Rather than go home to Aberdeen and Houston for Christmas, we decided to invite our families to come south and celebrate with us. Her father hauled all the items he needed for his dumpling from Aberdeen and made it up a just few days before Christmas. Actually, if I remember correctly, he mixed up two and they were absolutely perfect. Sometimes I do the same and sometimes I make it early and soak it with rum. Such flexibility!

    Granda Panda, as all the children call him, even my two, gladly shared his recipe, which he recited from memory. I will add it here, exactly as I wrote it down. I’m pretty sure he was talking about a teacup here, rather than a measuring cup. As long as you keep using the same cup for all the ingredients, the proportions will be right and the cup size shouldn’t much matter.

    1 cupful plain flour
    1 cupful breadcrumbs
    1 cupful shredded suet
    1 cupful sugar
    1 cupful raisins
    1 cupful currants
    1 cupful milk
    1 level teaspoon baking soda
    2 level teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 egg (hen’s) Alan added that detail with a twist of his mouth that made us all laugh.

    I weighed these out when I made the dumpling for this post, using a US 1-cup measuring cup (8 oz volume) as my cupful. So one cupful equals:
    125g plain flour
    85g breadcrumbs
    150g shredded suet (I used the light Atora.)
    200g sugar
    160g raisins
    160g currants (I used 320g mixed dried fruit which has both.)
    240ml milk

    Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the beaten egg and milk.

    Mix to soft consistency.

    Pour into greased basin.

    As you can see from the weight 1.5kg - and that is without the bowl - you are going to get a substantial pudding.

    Cover with a greased paper and steam for 1 1/2-2 hours.

    And that’s where Alan’s instructions end so let me extrapolate on that and show you how to cover the basin and steam the dumpling.

    Wet and crumple up a large piece of baking parchment. Put a pleat in it and lay it one top of your basin or bowl.

    Tie string around the outside in a loop.

    Cut another length of string and tie the ends together to form a circle. Twist it through the tied loop on either side of the basin. This is going to be your handle to get the basin out of the steaming pot.

    Put an upside down, heat proof saucer in the bottom of your largest stock pot. I used the lid from one of my smaller pots. Put the covered basin on top and hang your handles out the side.

    This is actually a photo of it after the steaming time, as you can tell by the pudding show through the parchment.

    Cover the pot and steam the pudding for the required time.

    It sinks back down a bit as it cools.

    That’s it, easy peasy. You can soak it with liquor if you’d like. If you’ve made it well in advance of Christmas, the alcohol will keep it moist and help preserve it until serving time. I keep mine in the refrigerator, well covered since it's warm here.

    Food Lust People Love: A beautifully rich steamed cake or pudding, filled with raisins and black currants, Christmas Pudding is one of the traditional Christmas desserts in the United Kingdom.

    Serve with brandy butter or double cream and a tot of whiskey, if desired. Enjoy!

    Food Lust People Love: A beautifully rich steamed cake or pudding, filled with raisins and black currants, Christmas Pudding is one of the traditional Christmas desserts in the United Kingdom.

    Pin this Christmas Pudding! 

    Food Lust People Love: A beautifully rich steamed cake or pudding, filled with raisins and black currants, Christmas Pudding is one of the traditional Christmas desserts in the United Kingdom.

    Wednesday, January 1, 2014

    No-Knead Christmas Pudding Cinnamon Rolls for #TwelveLoaves

    Leftover rum-soaked Christmas pudding makes a fabulously rich filling, along with more cinnamon and brown sugar, for classic cinnamon rolls.  If you don’t have leftover pud, feel free to use just brown sugar and cinnamon.  

    As expats, we’ve moved around a lot.  Most houses had company furniture and the carpets and paintings and personal effects were the only things that made them feel like ours.  We’d tell our girls, “Home is where we are all together.”  This got more challenging when both girls went off to university and their father and I continued to move.  They have bedrooms with some of their stuff in our current house in Dubai, but it would be a far stretch to say it’s home for them since they’ve never really lived there, except for holidays.  This year we are taking that mantra to extremes, celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve in a rented house, found on Airbnb.  We didn’t know if our elder daughter would have any time off from her job and, so, if Christmas was going to be spent as a family, as it must be, we would have to come to her.  We flew in from Dubai, collected younger daughter from her school housing, elder daughter from New York, and then both grandmothers flew up from Texas.  The house is full!  It's now a home.

    This is a big, long prelude to telling you that we find ourselves in the small Rhode Island town of Tiverton where the only grocery store didn’t have any yeast on Christmas Eve.  And younger daughter wanted to make cinnamon rolls to bake on Christmas morning.  In desperation, I went into the small pizza place across from the grocery store and asked if they could sell me some yeast.  The kind owner did better than that!  He handed over a large chunk of fresh yeast with a hearty “Merry Christmas!”  We had traditional cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning and then I made a pan of these non-traditional ones to bring to Classic Pizza as a thank you.  It makes the perfect recipe for my first post for #TwelveLoaves, a group dedicated to bread in all its forms.  This month’s theme is Keep It Simple, and what could be easier than a yeast bread that doesn’t requiring an electric mixer or any kneading?

    Credit for the traditional cinnamon roll recipe goes to Baked Bree.


    For the dough:
    2 tablespoons fresh yeast cake or 1 package (1/4oz or 7g) dried yeast
    1 cup or 240g milk
    1/2 cup or 115g sugar plus 1 teaspoon for proofing the yeast
    1/3 cup or 75g room temperature butter plus extra for greasing pan
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 room temperature eggs
    4 cups or 500g flour plus extra for rolling out the dough

    For the filling:
    About 1 cup chopped up leftover Christmas pudding, preferably one infused with rum
    1/2 cup or 100g dark brown sugar
    2 tablespoons cinnamon
    1/4 cup or 60g room temperature butter
    1 cup or 200g brown sugar
    2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
    1/3 cup or 75g room temperature butter
    1 tablespoon flour

    Warm your milk to about 125°F or 52°C.  If you don’t have a thermometer, just warm it until it’s hot but you can still put your finger in it comfortably for 15 seconds without wanting to pull it back out and shout, “Ouch.”  Pour it into a small bowl and then crumble in the fresh yeast or sprinkle on the dried yeast.  Add one teaspoon of sugar and give the mixture a gentle stir.  Set aside.

    In a large bowl, whisk your eggs, butter, sugar and salt until well combined.

    Check on your milk/yeast mixture.  It should look frothy on top.  If it’s not, your yeast is dead and you need to buy more.  Let’s assume yours is frothy.

    Pour it into the bowl with the egg mixture and whisk well.

    Add in 1/2 cup or 125g of flour and mix well.  You will have a thick batter.

    Now add in the rest of the flour 1 cup or about 250g at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon or stiff spatula.

    You will have very soft dough and it may look like the flour won’t all mix in.  Never mind.  We are keeping it simple!

    Just trust and cover the bowl with cling film and a towel and put it in warm place for one hour.

    Meanwhile, make your filling by combining all of your ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stirring with a fork until thoroughly mixed.

    Grease your baking pan liberally with butter.  Choose one that will comfortably hold about 12 or 13 large cinnamon rolls.  Mine was 11 3/4 x 9 1/4 in or  30 x 24cm.

    When the hour is up, punch down the dough and sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour.

    After the first rise.

    Roll the dough out in a rectangle about 12 x 18 in or 30 x 45cm.

    Sprinkle on your filling of choice and make sure you get some all the way out to the edges.  Roll the dough up from the long side.

    Cut the roll into 1 1/2 in or 3 3/4cm slices and put them cut side up in your prepared baking pan.

    Cover the pan with cling film and a towel and put in a warm place to rise for another hour.

    After the second rise.

    When the hour is almost up, preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

    Bake your rolls in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

    Serve plain or with cream cheese icing.


    Or give the whole pan to someone who saved Christmas breakfast for you and wish them a Happy New Year!

                                              Twelve Loaves

    If you love bread but have found the holidays hectic, this is the #TwelveLoaves month for you!  Check out all of our recipes that Keep It Simple!

    If you’d like to join us for this month’s #TwelveLoaves Keep It Simple challenge, choose a recipe that is not overly complicated, whether in technique or ingredients.

    Then share your January Keep It Simple Bread (yeast or quick bread) on your blog.

    If you’d like to add your bread to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here are the rules!
    1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread recipe on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts.
    2. Post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog by January 31, 2014.
    3. It must be a bread inspired by the Twelve Loaves Keep It Simple theme, baked between January 1, 2014 and January 31, 2014.

    #TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess.  #TwelveLoaves runs so smoothly thanks to the talented and brilliant help of both Paula from Vintage Kitchen Notes and Renee from Magnolia Days.