Christmas baking is full on at the moment. My newest idea was making the mince pies  I make with the addition of chocolate. I did not want to go down the chocolate pastry route. Instead I added chocolate chips into the mincemeat. Whilst baking in the oven the chocolate chips started to melt. The tartness of the sweet mincemeat combined with the sweet dark chocolate chips is astounding and well worth trying. If eating the pies when still warm the chocolate is still molten and with the heat from the mincemeat and pastry is a very worthwhile combination.

I have made novelty cookies this week with the children. When we made gingerbread at the week end I managed to salvage some dough and have a go at making the tiny gingerbread houses which sit on the side of your mug when your having a cuppa.

Checking the temperature Shortbread Cookies
Checking the temperature Shortbread Cookies

Dipping cookies I call them. I already make my shortbread and gingerbread cookies into men shapes which will hang on to a cup but I thought I would try something different. I made the shape of the house freehand and when baked I joined them together with royal icing. I remembered to cut the dip in the cookie so that it would hang on the cup. They worked quite well but because I only made a few the children claimed them before I could take a photo of them.

I am finding with these recipes which I use regularly that the sugar content can be easily reduced and not affect the overall taste, texture and quality of the final bake. As I don’t eat a lot of sugar I feel that although I make sweet cookies, brownies etc, for my children they are healthier than shop bought and now that I have reduced the sugar content they are even better for the children to eat.

This weekend I am making teachers presents with the children. I have decided on fudge of some description. I am letting the children pick the flavours and one child informed me this morning that she liked alcohol as presents. A bit of a cheek really but I will still let my children decide what flavour they want to make.

Tomorrow I will show the results of my latest baking and share with you any ideas for alternatives or how to improve the recipes.