Before we get baking, there are a few basics you will need to pick up. Luckily, we have scouted the best baking supply stores in Joburg to help you on your way to master baking with the little ones. Check out SA Baking Supplies in Meadowdale for all your basic ingredients – flour, eggs, cocoa, baking chocolate and butter. For all the extra bits like chewy candies, marshmallows and chocolate, visit Sunrise Sweet Market. Once you have stocked up on all the essentials, get the kids ready to bake these awesome Christmas treats:
Pinwheel Mince Pies
Kick off your festive Christmas baking with mince pie pinwheels. These Christmas must-haves come with a twist on the usual mince-filled pastry cups by making star-shaped pinwheel tartlets instead. They can be a little finicky to make, so perhaps enlist the help of older kids.
500g pre-bought puff pastry pack (all-butter puff pastry if possible)
9 tbsp mincemeat (fruit mince)
2 tbsp syrup (warmed)
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper. Roll the puff pastry onto a large square on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar or flour. Cut into 10cm squares, using a sharp knife (or pizza cutter). Cut about 3cm into each corner. Meanwhile, mix the Christmas mincemeat with two drops of vanilla extract and a pinch of orange zest. Drop a tablespoon of the mixture into the centre of each puff pastry square.
Brush the pastry with beaten egg or milk, then fold one corner into the centre, allowing for a slight overlap. Repeat with the other corners to make a windmill shape. Add a cut-out pastry star on the top of each pinwheel (use some of the egg to stick the star into place). Dust liberally with icing sugar and bake until the pies are golden and firm (about 12 – 15 minutes) and they have puffed up on the sides.
Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Brush with syrup and sprinkle with icing sugar.
Source: Good Food Shared blog, Lorraine Pascale’s Last-Minute Christmas Mince Pies
Sugar Cookie Advent Calendar
We don’t know about you, but we find that chocolate Advent calendars are outrageously expensive. Save some bucks by letting the kids make their own 25-day edible countdown chart out of simple sugar cookies. Package each cookie into a small paper bag and fasten with a coloured ribbon. Number each bag with a coloured pen or glitter stickers. Then hang the cookies on the Christmas tree as decoration.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp meringue powder or three egg whites
1 – 2 tbsp water
Red and green food colouring gels
Cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three batches. Stir until dough comes together. Form a disc with the dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Roll out cooled dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out festive shapes using cookie cutters. Bake at 180ºC for 8 – 10 minutes, until lightly golden on the bottom. Set aside to cool on a rack.
Mix up a batch of royal icing. Combine icing sugar, meringue powder and water (or three egg whites) until icing reaches stiff peaks. Divide icing into three bowls and add red and green food colouring. Transfer icing to piping bags (we use ordinary sandwich bags) and clip the corner to create a very small hole. Pipe Advent calendar numbers onto the cooled cookies.
Recipe adapted from Kitchen Counter Chronicles blog.
Nougat Gumdrop Candy Parcels
Sally Williams, anyone? We know how much South Africans love the sticky, sweet treats during the holiday season. Making your own nougat bars is surprisingly easy, and little helpers are sure to be enticed by the addition of festive coloured gumdrops. Package two or three bars into chiffon bags and hand them out as gifts to family and friends.
2 tbsp butter
2 bags (250g) mini marshmallows
2 bags (225g) white chocolate chips
2 cups gumdrops (alternatively, use chopped nuts or dried fruit)
Microwave the first three ingredients together until melted and smooth. Gently fold gumdrops in with a spoon. Pour the mixture into a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two or more hours. Once set, cut into bite-sized pieces. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Source: South African Recipes on Facebook
Peppermint Crisp Flapjack Stack
The combination of two age-old dessert classics, flapjacks and peppermint crisp mousse, is the perfect way to end off a big Christmas meal. Impress your guests, and yourself, with this deceptively simple but delicious table centrepiece. Let the kiddies help you spread the filling onto the flapjacks or sprinkle over the peppermint crisp chocolate. Look the other way as they lick their sticky fingers!
1 batch (30 – 35) traditional flapjacks
410g tin caramel
125ml plain full cream yoghurt
49g bar peppermint crisp chocolate, grated
Extra whipped cream (optional)
49g bar peppermint crisp chocolate, roughly chopped
A few fresh mint sprigs
For the filling, using an electric beater to beat the canned caramel until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip the cream into stiff peaks and lightly fold in the caramel, yoghurt and grated chocolate.
Put a flapjack on a plate and spread a little filling over. Lay another flapjack on top, spread filling over and keep going until you’ve used all the flapjacks and filling, ending with filling on top.
Spoon the extra whipped cream over (if using). Sprinkle the chopped chocolate on top and garnish with mint. Slice carefully and serve.
Make sure the flapjacks have cooled completely – you can make them a day or two in advance.
Recipe adapted from South African Recipes on Food 24.
If you have any kiddie-friendly festive Christmas baking recipes, please share them with us in the comments section below. Happy baking!