Click here for a festive jingle to enjoy as you read. Repeat as necessary. Tis the season to be jolly after all.
The John Lewis 2013 Christmas advert is out, the red cups have appeared in Starbucks, and it is cool enough in Dubai to wear a leather jacket. Christmas is 42 days away, people. That’s about 6 weeks. And 6 weeks is when the countdown to Christmas begins in ‘Love Actually’, so I am going to go ahead and proclaim it officially acceptable to get excited. Let’s disregard the fact that I have been counting down since my birthday in June.
It may be a 42 day wait until the actual day, but let’s not forget that the month of December as a whole is pretty damn magical. And December is a mere 19 days away. That’s less than 3 weeks. Goodness me. I suggest we all adorn our festive baking hats immediately.
This year I have decided to embark upon what I will be referring to as “The 12 Bakes of Christmas”. Between now and the big day, I will be sharing 12 Christmassy bakes with you. It will be an eclectic mix of festive classics, twists on old family recipes, and my picks from this year’s Christmas magazines. And now to the main event. Behold – The First Bake of Christmas.
♫ For The First Bake of Christmas, my oven baked for me ♫……(I sang that as I typed – feel free to sing too)…. Snow-Covered Cranberry Ginger Snap Biscuits. No – not real snow, you numpty. This is based on an old family ginger snap biscuit recipe, which I went ahead and festivized. Mouth-wateringly, gingery, buttery, chocolatey morsels of wintery deliciousness. You’re welcome. Merry baking y’all. HO HO HO.
Pre-heat oven to 180°C
230g self-raising flour
200g caster sugar
115g unsalted butter (room temp)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 dessert spoon golden syrup
1 small egg
Pinch of salt
A generous handful of dried cranberries
plus…300g white chocolate for dipping
1/ Mix all ingredients (not the chocolate!) together in a medium sized bowl until a soft-dough is formed.
2/ Line two baking trays with grease-proof paper, and place walnut-sized balls of dough evenly on each tray, making sure there is some dried cranberry in each one. Bake for 20 min. The balls of dough will spread out as they cook, so make sure you leave enough distance between them. You’ll probably have to do bake the biscuits in batches. That is unless you have an abnormally large oven.
3/ Remove from oven and leave to cool completely.
4/ While the biscuits are cooling, bring a small pan of water to the boil, break the white chocolate into small pieces, and melt in a glass bowl over the simmering water.
5/ Dip each biscuit into the white chocolate to cover 1/3 to 1/2. Place on a tray or plate and cool in the fridge to let the chocolate set. On the final biscuit, I rewarded myself by dipping and eating immediately. Fondue style. I give you my permission to do the same.
For more texture, feel free to add a handful of chopped hazelnuts, walnuts or even brazil nuts at stage 1.