*This is a sponsored post with Chefs Collection for Emma Bridgewater
It’s the festive period and we’re all loving it. But, some of us decided to throw parties and now we’re stuck on what to do with the food. Honestly, unless you’re hosting a cooked dinner, picking food to serve to your guests is by no means a chore and can actually be the most fun part of your party planning process. So, I’m here to share some recipes and give you some ideas of food you can serve your guests!
- Be conscious of your guests diets – offer vegan and vegetarian friendly dishes and snacks
- Ask about allergies just to be on the safe side
- Prepare all of your food the night before or the morning of to keep it as fresh as possible
- Plan your food at least a week ahead so you know what you’re serving
The Chocolate Cake Tree Brownies
This was surpsingly easy to bake, but getting the buttercream to the perfect green just seemed like it wasn’t happening with the food colouring we used, I wanted more of a forest green and ended up with a bit of a puke green; either way they tasted delicious. I’d definitely like to have another go at making these, I feel like there’s a lot I’d change the next time that we didn’t do this time.
The Recipe We Used:
- 1 box Brownie Mix
- 1 tub white vanilla icing
- green food colouring
- small round sprinkles
- small star sprinkles
- candy canes
- Line an 8″x8″ baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Prepare the brownie mix according to the package directions and bake as directed.
- Allow brownies to completely cool, approximately 1.5 hours.
- Remove the brownies from the pan, and cut into triangles. (Cut in three rows, then cut in alternating diagonals).
- Unwrap the candy canes, and use a sharp knife to gently cut/break the candy canes into 1.5″ long pieces.
- Press the sharper end of the candy cane into the bottom of the brownie triangles.
- Spoon out approximately ½ of the tub of icing into a bowl.
- Add green food colouring until you’re happy with the colour.
- Spoon the green icing into a zip lock bag.
- Seal the bag and cut off a small corner of the bag with sharp scissors.
- Starting at the top of the brownie triangles, gently squeeze out the icing in a curvy zigzag as you go down the tree.
- Add your favourite sprinkles and a small star sprinkle at the top.
Making cupcakes is probably the easiest thing in the world, but when you add a twist such as making snowmen to put on top; then it can get a bit tricky and interesting. In the end, when it came to decorating we soon realised that our marshmallows were simply just not big enough to make snowmen, so whilst a few cupcakes had the snowmen in a very small version, we did leave a lot without – but the cupcakes themselves tasted amazing.
The Recipe We Used:
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 250g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 250g self-raising flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 12 tsp white chocolate spread
For the snowmen
- 100g dark chocolate
- 12 pink marshmallows
- 24 white marshmallows
- 125g (4oz) butter, softened
- 250g icing sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp candied peel
- 12 Matchmakers
- Heat the oven to gas 3, 150°C, fan 130°C. Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper cupcake cases. Using a hand-held whisk, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then sift in the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Fold through with a large spoon until just combined, then stir through the vanilla extract.
- Divide half the mixture evenly between the paper cases, add a tsp of white chocolate spread to the centre of each and cover with the remaining cupcake mixture. Transfer to the oven to bake for 16-18 mins, until golden and the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow to cool inside the tin for 5 mins, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Meanwhile, make the snowmen. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then remove from the heat. Line a flat baking tray with nonstick baking paper. Insert a cocktail stick into the slimmer end of one of the pink marshmallows and gently coat in the melted chocolate. Place on the lined baking sheet and, using the cocktail stick, spread the chocolate dripping down the sides in a circular motion so it looks like a brimmed top hat. Repeat until you have coated all 12 marshmallows, then place in the fridge to set. Reserve the leftover melted chocolate.
- In a a separate bowl, beat together the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat again until well combined. Using a small palette knife, spread the butter icing over each of the cooled cakes, saving a little to stick the marshmallows together.
- Stick two white marshmallows together with a little icing. Break each Matchmaker into 4 pieces and insert one on either side of the bottom marshmallow to make the snowman’s arms. Cut a piece of candied peel into a triangle for the nose. Using a paintbrush or skewer, draw eyes, a mouth and buttons with the leftover chocolate. Repeat until you have 12 snowmen. Carefully top each cupcake with a snowman, pressing into the icing to hold him firm.
- Insert a cocktail stick right through the heads of the snowmen and into the cakes, leaving a little of the stick protruding. You can use this to secure the hat. Carefully peel the hats off the baking paper and press into the cocktails sticks. Store in a cool place.
Honestly we ended up store buying gingerbread men, and they seemed to be a household favourite which I didn’t expect, so next time I’ll definitely be making them to see how well they go down; I just didn’t expect everyone to like gingerbread men hence store buying.
A recipe you could use:
- 350g plain flour
- 2 tsp ginger, ground
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g butter
- 175g soft light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- Preheat oven 190’C/Gas mark 5
- Put the flour, ginger and soda into a bowl and rub in the butter
- Add sugar and stir in the syrup and egg to make a firm dough
- Roll out to about 5mm thick and cut out your gingerbread men
- If you don’t have a gingerbread man cutter then use whatever you have – stars and hearts are just as tasty
- Put a sheet of baking paper on a tray and evenly space out the biscuits, bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown
- Leave to firm up for a couple of minutes before placing on a wire rack to cook
- Once cooled, decorate with icing
- Makes approximately 20 biscuits
You may have noticed that all of the textiles that I’m wearing and using in this post are by Emma Bridgewater; that’s because they were kind enough to send me some of their kitchen textiles with Chef’s Collection! The print that you can see me wearing and using is the Spring Flower print and I love it, it’s such a warm print and I love the quirky polka-dot pattern on the apron, and on the tea towels and oven gloves, there’s a lovely floral print.
To be honest, I really liked the apron and I’ve never used one to bake with before so I was trying my very best to not get anything down it – as for the oven glove, even though it did help when we were getting the bits in and out of the oven, I did notice it’s not completely heat resistant, so holding a hot tray for too long may start to burn through, but for just a quick pick up, it does the job nicely without you getting scolded.
I definitely recommend picking some of these bits up though, and it may even make a perfect Christmas present for any bakers that you have in your family or just for anybody that loves to cook and spends a lot of time in the kitchen.