Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Holiday Cookies and a Boozy Christmas Cake

Eggless Holiday Cookies with Royal Icing
Christmas Cake
This festive season I am feeling really excited as it's going to be first Christmas at home post marriage :) we have been fully immersed in the festive spirit setting up the Christmas tree, putting up decorations around the house, lots of shopping (of-course), painting Christmas greetings and mailing them so they reach in time and cooking up Christmas treats just to reward all our hardwork :)

Christmas Tree @ Home
Christmas Greetings
It all started with the Carrot cake from last post and I did endeavor to bake the chocolate beetroot cake as well (will post the recipe soon). For Christmas, made butter cookies with royal icing and a traditional christmas cake with goodness of brandy and spices :)

Wish all of you a happy holidays and a New Year filled with prosperity and success!

Holiday Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing (Eggless)
adapted from

3/4 cup Maida (All purpose flour)
1/2 cup Wheat flour
1/2 cup Icing Sugar
100 grams Butter
1 -2 tablespoons Milk
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt 

For Royal Icing: 
1/2 cup Icing Sugar
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Glycerin
1/2 tablespoon Milk
Food Colors - few drops of each color
  • Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celcius
  • Combine butter and sugar in a bowl, and mix until it gets lighter and fluffier.
  • Add vanilla and milk to butter/sugar mixture
  • Combine salt, flour and baking powder in a separate bowl
  • Combine the dry and wet ingredients, using either a spatula or your hands, to form a smooth dough
  • Place the dough between 2 sheets of butter paper and roll it out using a rolling pin to 0.5cm thickness and cut out desired shapes using cookie cutter. Or you can also pipe out the dough using the star nozzle. ( I made the cookies both ways)

  • Place the cookies on a baking tray lined with butter paper and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the sides turn golden brown 
  • Allow the cookies to cool on baking tray for ten minutes before transferring them to wire rack
Decorating with Royal Icing
  • In a bowl sift the icing sugar to remove any lumps and then add milk, lemon juice and glycerin to form a thick but smooth paste
  • Divide the paste into as many equal portions as the desired number of colors and put them into piping cones.  Cut the tip slightly of the piping cones, open your heart and give way to all your creative juices and start decorating these fun to make holiday cookies

Christmas Cake
adapted from

For the soaked peels
1 cup glace/candied red cherries
1 cup glace/candied green cherries
Rind of 5 Oranges 
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup cashews, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
10-12 dates
250 grams dried apricots, chopped
1 cup brandy or rum 
Orange juice
1 cinnamon Stick
1 tsp nutmeg powder

For the Cake
2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup grounded sugar
1 cup brown sugar / demera sugar, grounded 
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, grounded
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, grounded
1/2 teaspoon dry ginger powder
1/2 tsp mace grounded
1 tablespoon marmalade ( for that extra Orange punch)

Preparation - 2 weeks in advance of baking
  • In a large glass jar, combine the candied cherries, orange peel, raisins, nuts, apricot and dates. Add the brandy or rum and cover with plastic wrap and let sit for at least at least 2 weeks (stirring periodically). This will allow all the nuts and peels to soak the liquor. 
Baking the cake
  • Before you start baking, grease 2 loaf pans or one 9 inches round springform pan with butter and line with parchment paper so that the cakes are easy to remove once baked
  • Reposition the oven rack to the middle and preheat the oven to 135 degrees Celsius
  • Toss the fruits and nuts with 1/2 cup of the flour and keep aside. This will prevent the nuts from settling down at the bottom of the cake
  • In a bowl, cream the butter with the grounded sugar on low-med speed until light and fluffy - this should take about 2 minutes. Add the demera sugar and mix until combined.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time followed by vanilla extract
  • Sieve together remaining flour, baking soda and spices and add it to the egg and butter batter and mix thoroughly on low speed
  • Add in the fruit-tossed in flour to the batter and give a nice gentle mix using a spatula
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Do a toothpick test, if it comes out clean, the cake is done
  • Let the cakes cool for 30 minutes in the pan, and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling

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