Mince Pies with Cinnamon Pastry

I have something to tell you… These are the quickest mince pies you will ever make.
I also have a confession…the reason for this is mainly due to the fact I didn’t make my own mincemeat!
Next year I promise to be more prepared and will make delicious mincemeat well in advance, but for now let’s cheat a little an if you don’t tell anyone they will never know!

Personally, I like my mince pies on the smaller size so they can be popped in the mouth in one go. Plus, because of the size you can have 2 and technically still be having 1, now doesn’t that sound good!?

This Christmas classic is a staple in the festive season; so follow my simple recipe and bake your own delicious mince pies this year.

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Ingredients (makes 12 large/18 small pies) 

110g slightly salted block butter, cubed
175g plain flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp cold water
250g good quality mincemeat
1 egg, beaten

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a 12 holed muffin tray (or two trays if you are making 18) – I used cooking spray.

In a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then add the cinnamon. Slowly add the mixture and work the pastry into a ball.

Lightly dust a clean worktop surface and a rolling-pin with flour. Roll the pastry out to 1/2cm thick and cut out 12 circular disks with a large round pastry cutter (use a medium-sized cutter if you are making 18). Place the disks into the tin cups and push down lightly. Now divide the mincemeat evenly between the pies.

With the remaining pastry, cut out 12 (or 18) stars to top the mice pies and lightly brush with the beaten egg. Bake your pies in the oven for approx 12-15 minutes until golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Best served warm with a splash of double cream!

Malteser Mikado Celebration Cake

If you LOVE chocolate then this is the cake for you! Two layers of moist chocolate sponge sandwiched together and covered in delcious white chocolate buttercream, wrapped in biscuit twigs dipped in smooth white chocolate (otherwise known as Mikado’s), filled with crunchy Maltesers and finally tied together with a bow.
I have tried many chocolate cakes in the past and I have sometimes thought woahhhh this is far too sickly, what I wanted to achieve from this cake was a balance between flavours and textures. The white chocolate buttercream works very well to balance the rich chocolate sponge, as does the soft, moist texture of the cake and frosting compared to the added crunch from the Mikados and Maltesers. Below I have given instructions on how to recreate this cake for yourself, however I also can make this cake for you so please ‘like’ my Facebook page ‘Jessie-Cakes’ where you can find further information about prices and deliveries.
P.S – This was my first attempt of writing with icing, it was a lot harder than I thought! So please excuse the wobbly lettering, I have since improved!
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What you will need to re-create this cake:
1 chocolate sponge cake covered in white-chocolate buttercream, recipe can be found here
4 x boxes of White chocolate Mikado’s – sold at approx. £1.40 a box
1 x large bag of Maltesers (230g)
Any colour ribbon (royal blue would also look fab)
(I also covered a 10inch cake board with red sugarpaste and wrapped a ribbon round the edge, but this cake can sit on anything)
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 Okay so first of all begin by wrapping your cake in Mikado’s, making sure each twig is as close as possible to the other. Press each one lightly into the buttercream as this will help them stick. This is quite time-consuming but be patient it will be worth it! If some of the Mikado’s have snapped do not worry, personally I think having different sizes gives a good rugged effect.
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Keep Going…
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Nearly there…

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Ahhhh such a good feeling when you done! Now you have your wrapped cake…
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Next, pour the whole bag of Maltesers in the middle of the cake filling it entirely.

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Wrap your cake in ribbon and Sellotope together. Make a bow out of the ribbon and attach this using Sellotape or a double-sided sticky pad.
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 Finally, combine 4 tsp icing sugar with a little water to form a thick paste. Use a toothpick to mark out your lettering and then use a piping bag and very small round nozzle to pipe your lettering.
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Simple Chocolate Sponge Cake

This recipe is an essential for all bakers and is perfect for chocolate lovers. Once you have your two chocolately, moist, spongey cakes you are free to decorate as you wish. I decided to sandwich my cake together and cover entirely with White Chocolate Buttercream (recipe can be found below). However, there are many alternatives to cover your cake, such as cream cheese frosting, Sugarpaste or Strawberry buttercream. Get baking and get creative!

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Ingredients 

For 2x 8inch round baking tins:
255g Stork tub
255g Caster sugar
175g Self-raising flour
50g Cocoa powder
4 Medium eggs, at room temp & beaten into a jug
For the white chocolate buttercream (to cover the cake/12 big cupcakes):

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140g Unsalted soft butter
150g Icing sugar
100g White chocolate (cut into small chunks)
Method
Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line 2 x 20cm/8inch round baking tins with greaseproof paper.
  1. In a large bowl cream the Stork and sugar together until light and fluffy. Next, pour in the eggs slowly along with a little flour each time to stop the mixture from curdling.
  2. Once all the beaten eggs are added, sift in the remaining flour and the cocoa powder and fold the mixture together with a large spoon/spatula.
  3. Divide between two tins and bake for 8 minutes. Your cakes are done when a skewer in the center comes out clean. Leave to completely cool.
  4. To make the white chocolate buttercream first cream the butter until fluffy and pale in colour. Sift in half the icing sugar and beat together until combines, sift in the remaining icing sugar and beat together until light and creamy.
  5. Finally melt the white chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Once completely melted, leave to cool to room temperature. Then add to the buttercream and mix until combined, thick and  fluffy.
  6. Dollop a 1/4 of the mixture onto the top of one cake and spread over evenly using a palette knife or spreader. Sandwich the other cake on top and using the remaining buttercream start by applying in the center of the cake and smoothing out to the edges and down the sides. By using this method the buttercream with fill in any gaps and give you even coverage.

Lindt Truffle Brownies

Yes that’s right another brownie post, but before you think i’ve got brownie mad this one is special! Made with Lindt 70% dark chocolate and packed with Lindor white-choc truffles, these are my Lindt brownies. Irresistably smooth melted truffles that are literally oozing out the sides, surrounded by rich, fudgey brownie. Very indulgent & addictive… these brownies are the perfect naughty treat!

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Ingredients (makes 12 brownies)
170g 70% Lindt dark chocolate
225g Caster sugar
150g Unsalted butter (at room temp.)
150g Self-raising flour
2 medium Eggs
200g box White Chocolate Lindor truffles, chopped into halves
Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a 23cm square tin with a little butter.
  1. First, melt your dark chocolate and butter in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water on a low heat. When completely melted, leave on the side to cool.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and the eggs. Pour in the melted dark chocolate, sift   in the flour and fold the mixture together with a large spoon/spatula until combined and thick.
  3. Finally add in the chopped truffles and fold into the mixture. Transfer to your greased baking tin and bake in the oven for 18 minutes. The top should be starting the crack and a skewer inserted into the middle should come out slightly covered in brownie mixture.*
  4. Leave to COMPLETELY cool and cut into 12 brownies.

* A good brownie is all about how long you bake it for. Brownies should be taken out of the oven when they are a little undone, the reason for this is because as they cool they continue to cook and firm up. If you over-cook your brownies then when they cool they will end up being rock hard. Everyone is different, but for me a successful brownie is slightly firmer on the edges but chewy, gooey and soft in the center.