I kicked off Christmas eve this year with a few odd jobs before getting into the kitchen for some baking. The kids came in & out the whole day for bowl & spoon licking, taste tests & to 'help'. We made a bunch of nice things to share with our families on Christmas day.
Somehow having a Christmas on a Tuesday this year felt like I scored an extra free spare Monday. We wanted everything finished & organised on the weekend so Monday definitely felt like a bonus. It was nice to be just be able to enjoy the time spent in the kitchen rather than be rushing the baking/cooking around everything else. I spent quite a bit of time looking over some Christmas magazines for ideas too, not that I follow recipes very much but the visual stimulation helps me choose clearly edible & scrumptious looking things to make.
First up I got a batch of meringues prepared for a dessert I was immediately attracted to on the cover of Delicious Dec 12. A smashed meringue & berry icecream dessert. It said to use store bought meringue but I never follow rules so I made my own. I find the store bought ones a bit crunchy & stale. Plus, there's nothing like making a fresh batch of meringue & having some of the uncooked mixture. MMMMmmmm but yes, straight to the thighs! Oops!
Next up I made some bark with rainbow coloured candy canes. Last year this was a pain to make because I crushed the candy with a hammer or some other bashing implement, can't recall. But it was awful, with shards of candy flying about the kitchen. AAagh the stickiness! So this year I googled for a better idea & quite obviously [in hindsight] using a food processor is the best way to go. I thought it would be a sticky mess & jam up the mechanism but it stayed dry & powder like. Too easy.
So this bark was made in mere minutes with the help of microwaved melted chocolate.
I made a simple cookie dough for vanilla snap cookies, recipe found from Donna Hay Christmas 2012 and again, I changed things a little by making them into stain glass window cookies. I used crushed Lifesaver lollies for these and then did a few with candy canes just to see how they would look. Those ones looked brown, not rainbow. Note to self to not use a variety of opaque lollies next time! Lifesavers were perfect!
The berry & smashed meringue cake that I made was honestly one of the easiest [and possibly one of the tastiest] desserts I've made. You grease a pan, line with glad wrap & spinkle a few berries down the bottom [which will become the top]. You break up the meringue. Whip 600mls of thickened cream, fold in extra berries & smashed meringue & pour into the pan. Freeze for 3 hours.
When you are ready to serve, pull out of pan with the help of the glad wrap, drizzle honey over it & serve with more berries. OMG, delicious. Here it is below served on Christmas Day along with the cookies, bark & brownies. Did I mention brownies? I whipped up a batch also.
I don't know whether or not I'll be as organised or as inclined to bake as much next year but I certainly enjoyed it this year. And really if there is any day you want to make a fuss & bake nice things for family, surely one of those special days is Christmas right?