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Last week was a busy week of baking and here is another delicious Christmassy recipe that we made. I haven’t done a lot of gluten free baking recently as Rich is no longer following a gluten free diet. But these sounded good, especially the pastry made with marzipan in it. Click here to see the recipe.

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We have been super busy baking at home this week! So this is the first of my Christmas baking blogs, hopefully plenty more to come. I tried to pick recipes this year that the girls could help with to keep us busy at home. These were really good fun to make and look very cool too. Click here for the recipe.

The recipe was from November’s Sainsbury’s magazine – mince pie tiffin bites. We all love rocky road in our house, so this festive version will definitely be a favourite. Here is the recipe:

Mince Pie Tiffin Bites

100g skin on almonds

85g glacé cherries, quatered

55g dried cranberries

2 tbsp brandy or orange juice

125g butter

100g golden syrup

20g cocoa

Zest of 1 orange

150g dark chocolate

275g mince pies (roughly 5)

For the topping:

200g milk chocolate

3 tbsp double cream

16 chocolate covered pretzles

8 red glacier cherries

Small amount of white and black fondant for the eyes

  • Preheat the oven to 200C (180 fan). Toast the almonds for 5-10 minutes then leave to cool.
  • Put the cherries, cranberries and brandy in a small bowl and leave to soak.
  • Line a 7” round tin with baking paper
  • Put the butter, syrup, cocoa, orange zest and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in the chopped dark chocolate and remove from the heat, leave to melt fully.
  • Stir in the brandied fruits, toasted almonds and broken up minced pies. Tip into the lined tin, spread out and allow to cool, then chill for an hour in the fridge till set.
  • Place the chocolate and cream for the topping in a heat proof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, leave to melt, then remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Pour over the tiffin and smooth out. Allow to set.
  • Remove the tiffin from the tin and using a hot knife slice into 8 portions.
  • Melt a small amount of milk chocolate and lightly dip the top of the glacier cherry into the chocolate then stick it to the point of the slice of tiffin. Take 2 pretzels and drip the underneath of each in a small amount of chocolate and stick to the outsides of each slice of tiffin for the antlers.
  • roll out the white and black fondant and cut circles for the eyes. Using a paint brush, brush a small amount of chocolate on the back of each eye and secure in place.

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I am sure plenty of people will agree with me that this weeks technical wasn’t really the most appealing, but I wanted to give it at go and I could see that the flavours should be pretty tasty. Luckily I had some suet in the cupboard as I was planning on making my mincemeat for Christmas this weekend. I ran out of time to bake with the girls, so this was my first solo challenge, click here to see how I got on.

I decided that we really didn’t want to make the whole recipe, Rich really wasn’t keen and I also didn’t have the right sized pudding bowls, so I used a small metal one instead and made just under half of the recipe. The full recipe can be found here. The recipe was easy enough to make. But I was not paying enough attention and forgot to line my tin, I had greased it though, so hoped that would be enough.

I didn’t time it very well as the 2 hours was up on the steamer while Rich was on a work phone call and we hadn’t even eaten dinner yet, so I left it another 20 mins before getting it out and having a go and turning it out. Unfortunately it wasn’t very easy to remove from the tin and broke, making a big puddley mess on the plate, just like most of the bakers! I think this is my first proper bake off fail! Amazingly it tasted much better than it looked and the lemon inside was soft and it was a bit like eating a sweet marmalade pudding. Emily and Chloe had a small bit to share and they really enjoyed it. It’s not really something I will be making again though!

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This years build up to Christmas is going so fast we haven’t even blogged about any Christmas baking yet! That doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy doing lots. I’ve done 2 Christmas cakes and tried some new Christmassy recipes this week, so keep an eye out for photos and recipes coming soon. It wouldn’t be Christmas without Mince pies and this year I thought I would try something new, click here for this yummy recipe.

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It’s actually quite a relief that this is the penultimate week of the Great British Bake Off! I have loved doing all the technical challenges and trying things I wouldn’t normally have had a go at, but I’m also looking forward to doing some of my own baking too. I love patisserie but rarely attempt any as it really is very time consuming. We are away this weekend, so I volunteered to bring dessert – perfect excuse to give this a go! Click here to see how I got on.

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This week has been super busy as it was Emily’s 4th Birthday on Sunday, so all my baking energy went into creating a crazy rainbow coloured unicorn cake for her! This was a bit of a last minute decision to make it for dinner on Monday night as Em was coming to stay for the night, so a great opportunity to make it together and then eat it for dinner. Click here to see how we got on.

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I can’t believe we are nearly at week 8 on the GBBO already! We had a very dark and rainy Friday afternoon here, so Emily and I decided it was perfect timing to make this weeks technical challenge. And luckily Chloe decided she was exhausted and had a 2.5 hour nap giving us plenty of time to get these done and in the fridge ready to deep fry for pudding as a Friday treat. Click here to see how me and my little helper got on.

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We were all away together on a family holiday last week and managed to watch the GBBO together for the first time in a long time! I don’t think any of us were particularly keen to make these having seen the curd cheese being made, but when we looked at the recipe it actually sounded pretty good. So on Sunday afternoon Emily and I had a go at making them. Click here to see how we got on.

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Like all of the bakers, I hadn’t heard of Puits d’Amour either so I was intrigued to try them out this weekend. I also have to admit that I’m not sure I have ever made a creme pat and I think the last time I made choux pastry was when I was at school! So this week was definitely a new challenge! Click  here to see how I got on.

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We haven’t managed as much Christmas baking this year, but I did make a few Christmas goodies this week for Emily’s nursery. I had a lot of homemade mincemeat to use and decided to make a mince pie alternative. Click  here to try this recipe.

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