To me it wouldn’t be Christmas without a few treats being whipped up in the kitchen and I’m so pleased the girls have adopted this way of thinking too. In truth they are just happy with any form of baking if they get to eat the chocolate chunks and spoonfuls of sprinkles. So you can imagine how happy they were helping me with this selection of festive bakes and makes.

As kids my sister and I would always put together a variety of sweets to gift to our grandparents and they always went down a storm. I still do this to this day although my creations are a touch more sophisticated than the marzipan windows we used to make. That said, chocolate dipped dates are still a firm favourite with my mum.

Anyway, this year we have been coming up with some simple recipes that the girls can help with. They are perfect for when festive visitors stop by but equally great packaged up as little gifts. Also make sure you check out my gingerbread recipe in the Rock My Style archives. Yum.

Peppermint Cream Polar Bears

We would always make peppermint creams at Christmas and I’ve put a little spin on the classic by turning them in to polar bears. They are honestly so simple and quick to make.*

What You Need

150g icing sugar (sifted)
1 egg white
A few drops of peppermint essence
Blue smarties (or jelly sweet)

What You Do

1. Put the icing sugar and peppermint essence in a bowl and gradually add the egg white stiring until it becomes a firm dough, a bit like playdoh.
2. Take half the mixture and roll in to cherry tomato sized balls, place on a piece of greaseproof paper and then flatten with your hand.
3. Using half of the remaining mixture roll blueberry sized balls and squish on to the face to form the snout.
4. With the remaining mixture add little balls and flatten to make the ears.
5. Add a blue smartie for the nose (or you can colour a bit of the mixture blue if you prefer)
6. Mark the eyes with a cocktail stick or an edible black pen.
7. Leave to dry for at least 4 hours. They will keep for up to a month.

Mince Pie Brownie Christmas Pops

These are so moorish. I love a chocolate brownie and the addition of sprinkles and icing make them even better. If you need a gluten and dairy free brownie you can find my recipe here.

What You Need

200g dark chocolate
175g Butter
325g Caster Sugar
125g Plain Flour
3 Eggs
4 Tablespoons Mincemeat (of the festive variety)
Green Icing
Selection of sprinkles and smarties

What You Do

1. Preheat oven to 170c and line a 30cm rectangular baking tray with baking parchment.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water.
3. Stir in the sugar followed by the flour.
4. Fold in the eggs.
5. Finally stir in the mincemeat
6. Bake in the over for 40-45 minutes until the top just starts to crack.
7. Once cooled cut in to triangles and insert a pop stick or straw.
8. Drizzle over green icing and cover with sprinkles or smarties.

White Chocolate and Apricot Cookies

The team devoured these when I took them to a recent meeting. They also laughed, a lot, when I said I normally have a batch of this cookie dough in the freezer ready for when friends stop by. But honestly I do. It’s so easy to make and you can keep it in the freezer ready to go.

What You Need

250g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
200g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
400g plain flour
1/2 tspn salt
1/4 tspn baking powder
100g chopped white chocolate
100g chopped apricots

What You Do

1. Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding mixer (or use a hand whisk) and cream until light and fluffy.
2. Add the eggs one at a time.
3. Turn the speed down and add the vanilla extract.
4. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and mix until a smooth dough forms.
5. Stir in the white chocolate and apricots.
6. Divide the dough in half and form rolls about 15cm long and 3cm wide. Wrap in clingfilm and freeze for a few hours.
7. When you want to cook preheat the oven to 170c.
8. Remove the clingfilm and cut the dough in to discs 2-3cm thick.
9. Arrange the cookies on a tray lined with baking paper.
10. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges are just turning brown.
11. Leave to cool slightly on the trays before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Shapes

These are super simple to make and the littles love them. They are basically just chocolate and sprinkles so what’s not to love?! You can use any silicone trays to make different shapes. I had some Christmas trees and some little shaped ice cube trays.

What You Need

Chocolate of your choice
Flavourings (Orange, Peppermint)
Variety of sprinkles

What You Do

1. Melt the chocolate.
2. Add any flavourings you like or leave as is.
3. Pour in to the silicone trays.
4. Add the sprinkles and leave to set.
5. Very carefully push out the moulds.

Oreo Christmas Puddings

Ok so this is a bit of a cheats option but given my girls penchant for Oreos it seemed silly not to share this fun festive version with you.

What You Need

White Chocolate
Red and Green Fondant Icing

What You Do

1. Cut little leaves from the green icing and tiny berries from the red.
2. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave.
3. Drizzle over the top of the Oreo.
4. Add the leaves and berries.

Christmas Pudding Truffles

These were a firm favourite to make when we were kids and I still use the same recipe now. It’s just so simple. For a more decadent truffle you can find my rich chocolate truffle recipe on Rock My Style.

What You Need

2oz soft butter
Small tin of condensed milk
5 tblspn Desiccated Coconut
2 tblspn Drinking Chocolate
12 Digestive Biscuits

What You Do

1. Slowly heat the butter and condensed milk.
2. Crush and add the biscuits.
3. Stir well and add the coconut.
4. Roll in to balls and refrigerate until firm.
5. You can add little icing decorations if you like or enjoy as is.

Reindeer Cupcakes

I made these for the girls Christmas fair and they were so much fun I had to share. Super simple but effective and lots of fun for the littles to make.

What You Need

1 batch of your favourite cupcakes
1 quantity of chocolate buttercream
Red Smarties
Pretzels or chocolate covered pretzels
White fondant icing
Edible black pen

What You Do

1. Spread the chocolate buttercream on top of your cupcakes. It doesn’t need to be smooth as it adds to the effect.
2. Place two pretzels on the top as antlers
3. Add a Smartie red nose
4. Roll the fondant icing in to small balls and flatten to make eyes. Use the edible pen (of black fondant) to add the pupils and place on the cakes.

Ready Made Kits

If you can’t be doing with all the faffing of recipes from scratch then I highly advocate a shop bought kit. Yes, I know that goes against all my baking knowledge but I have been known to pick up a box of Frozen cupcakes as we peruse the supermarket aisle. The girls find something infinitely enjoyable about tipping in the little packets and adding the pre made decorations. I am a big fan of the BKD kits, and not just for their aesthetically pleasing packaging. The elves left the girls the gingerbread kit last year and they absolutely LOVED it. Everything you need for some wonderful creations including the prettiest sparkles and decor.This year we have the snowflake kit ready to go on a cold December afternoon and I know Molly will adore it.
Is anyone else planning some festive baking?
*Recipe via BBC Good Food.