The lights are twinkling, the tree is up and all the presents are wrapped and underneath! (I was super organised this year.) This is the first christmas in many years that I have not been working which means that i’ve been very relaxed and able to thoroughly enjoy the lead up to the festive season. Decorating the tree was something I could spend time doing without being zombified from lack of sleep or worried sick that I was meant to be spending that time doing something else. I particularly enjoyed putting up my favourite ornament…
she says ‘life is short eat dessert first’
some wise words, don’t you think?
Another great thing about being on Christmas holidays is that I have time to do some Christmas cooking. I try to do this every year but this year I can enjoy it properly. Yay! Ive been doing a big of cooking for gifts which I will post about in the next few days, but first I want to show you some quick and easy and delicious Christmas Cupcakes. I got this recipe from Nigella Lawsons How to Be a Domestic Goddess (recipe can be found here) to make for my friend’s annual christmas party. The recipe is very straightforward but makes the most deliciously light and christmassy cupcakes with chocolate and spices. The chocolate is not overpowered by the spices and it was good to find something christmassy without ginger (as the mothership has a great aversion to ginger). These were definitely a winner!
I know that holly leaves are a much darker green but hey, you can only work with what you have! If you have a darker green food colouring feel free to use it
So they are pretty straightforward to decorate but here are some tips if you have not used fondant before. I baked my cupcakes in red and green paper patty pans and iced them with white royal icing. You want your icing spreadable but not too runny or it will slide off the cupcake, or too thick as it will not stick properly. Remember that royal icing starts to set as soon as you finish mixing so you will want to work quickly.
To make the holly berries and leaves you will need:
1. 1 quantity of fondant (I use Orchard White Icing from any supermarket but you can use any fondant you like. Im just too lazy to make my own or go to a specialty store to get some)
2. Red gel food colouring (use gel as liquid food colouring will make your fondant too slippery and sticky. You don’t want it to be too wet!)
3. Green gel food colouring
4. a rolling pin (I find a small plastic rolling pin is best for rolling out small quantities of fondant
5. A small holly leaf cookie cutter
6. an implement to make leaf vein indentations on your holly leaves (I use the scalloped end of a fondant shaping tool. Pictured below)
7. Some icing sugar to dust your work surface and stop your fondant from sticking (the fondant will be quite soft in the summer heat so its good to have some icing sugar on hand in case it becomes too soft or sticky)
Now that you have your ingredients, you can begin!
Knead your fondant until the colour is evenly distributed. Wash and dry your hands, and repeat with a new piece of fondant and the red food colouring for your holly berries.
Roll your green fondant out to a thickness of about 5mm. I bought this little Wilton rolling pin in Melbourne and its fantastic because of the little rubber rings on the end. They allow me to consistently roll the fondant out to an even depth. Cool hey!
It is easier to attach them to the cupcakes as you go so that the royal icing doesn’t set. Therefore it is important that you make the leaves before hand as they can be a little time consuming. You can make the berries as you attach them to the cupcakes.
So, my lovelies, what do you enjoy baking for christmas? And were my instructions ok? Any tips?