Just looking at the pictures of these cookies makes me incredibly happy. They look so cute and festive! Plus, I know how they taste as well and let me tell ya; they are delicious. These cookies are a huge success all around.
This is the first time I made royal icing myself. Last year, when I made gingerbread cookies (which looked similar to these chocolate cookies) I bought ready made royal icing, because I couldn’t find a place to buy corn syrup. This time I had a little more time and did a little more research, and I found out you can just as easily use golden syrup, which I’ve got lying around in my cupboard anyway. The icing is super easy to make, and the mint really takes it up a notch.
The cookies themselves are wonderful, too. They’ve got a very rich chocolate-y taste and the texture is just right as well. And like the icing, they’re super easy to make! Just make sure you’ve got some time, because the dough will need to chill in the fridge for an hour. Apart from that, it’s a quick recipe with standard ingredients. Perfect for the Christmas holidays!
“I need you to be my person. I need to see you. And hear you. I need you to stay alive. And I need you to stop kissing other people just because they’re standing next to you when the ball drops.”
Two festive short stories
Midnights is the story of Noel and Mags, who meet at the same New Year’s Eve party every year and fall a little more in love each time…
Kindred Spirits is about Elena, who decides to queue to see the new Star Wars movie and meets Gabe, a fellow fan.
First published: 2017
These gingerbread cupcakes were a hit! I made them for a birthday party and everybody loved them. I have to say, I was amazed by how incredibly delicious they turned out. I’m not the biggest fan of cupcakes (I’m of the opinion that frosting is highly overrated) so I don’t make them that often, which made this recipe a bit of an experiment. But it was definitely a succesful one!
The molasses are the big winner in this recipe, I think. Of course, they’re quite integral to gingerbread cookies and thus to gingerbread cupcakes, but I’m in awe with just how much extra depth the molasses bring to the flavour. The ginger also definitely comes through, which I love, and it makes sure the cupcakes don’t taste too sweet.
Then in comes the frosting; it’s a cream cheese frosting and it’s incredibly soft and smooth. The dash of cinnamon adds that extra little something and makes these cupcakes fingerlicking good. I mean, I don’t want to blow my own trumpet too much, but I’m pretty darn proud of these!
Those tiny little cookies on top are a Dutch ‘delicacy’. They’re tiny speculaas cookies (similar to gingerbread) which are generally eaten on sandwiches (I know – but it’s delicious!). I actually wanted to use Christmas sprinkles, but couldn’t find them, so these were a makeshift solution. It looks pretty cute, though, I think!
Last weekend, my boyfriend and I took the train to Amsterdam for a fun day out together. I was planning on taking some nice festive pictures of all the Christmas lights, but it was pouring rain when we got there, which was a bit of a bummer. We still had a great day, though! We spent some time wandering around town, had great food, and visited an interesting exhibition on Medieval times at a museum.
And then, of course, there were the bookshops. Oh, the bookshops… I love them so! I was planning on buying some books in Amsterdam since I still had some book vouchers, but I didn’t expect we’d come home with eight of them! Eight is enough to warrant a good book haul, right? Right! Let’s go!
By now I consider myself to be a pretty decent baker. I know my way around the kitchen (when it comes to sweet stuff, at least – I’m an average cook) and I can think up a good recipe.
Apparently, though, that doesn’t mean I know how to handle a microwave.
I tried to squeeze making these hot chocolates on sticks in before an appointment I had, which meant I had to hurry a bit. That wasn’t necessarily a problem, though, because this recipe is about as easy it gets: melt chocolate; mix it with a couple of dry ingredients and put it in a mold. That’s it. I went wrong on that very first step.
Because I was in a hurry, I decided to quickly melt the chocolate in my microwave instead of going for a bain marie (which is my preferred method). Imagine my surprise when I turned around and saw smoke coming from the microwave. I’d burned the chocolate. Rookie mistake. As I’m writing this, my studio apartment still reeks from it, and my lovely orange-scented candle can barely mask it.
Anyway. If you aren’t such a doofus like me, this hot chocolate on a stick is super easy to make! They make lovely little gifts for your loved ones. All they need is a mug of warm milk, and when they stir it with one of these sticks, they’ll have a delicious hot chocolate!
Some of you might be wondering: “what does Harry Potter have to do with Christmas?” Well, let me explain! Not all that much, really. Yet, for some reason, the Harry Potter films have become a part of Christmas for a whole lot of people around the world.
Perhaps it’s the cosiness of the earlier films, or the Christmas celebrations within them. I don’t know. All I know is that I wanted to do a Harry Potter post during this Festive Fortnight, because I love Harry Potter and I’ll take any excuse to talk about it.
Some time last year, I made a post in which I ranked the Harry Potter books. It was horrible and difficult, but also kind of fun! So, I decided to do the same for the films. The ranking is different from my ranking of the books, but there are definitely similarities, mostly at the top and the bottom. I just want to say as a kind of disclaimer before we start that I love all of these films a lot and that this ranking might change the next time I see any one of them. Although the top two and the last one are pretty much fixed.
Also, I did my best to be vague, but there might be a few spoilers here and there. Just thought I’d mention that
Anyway, here’s my ranking of all eight of the Harry Potter films!
The second recipe of the Festive Fortnight! This is one I’m especially excited about. It’s marshmallows! I tried making marshmallows before over two years ago, and it was quite a failure. Back then I was unsure what I did wrong, but now I know I didn’t use the right type of gelatin (the stuff I used basically wasn’t gelatin at all). With that knowledge, I decided to try again.
And you know what? Making marshmallows really isn’t that hard! In fact, it’s pretty simple, as long as you have a sugar thermometer and you stick to the recipe. My recipe was based on this Dutch one. I used a little less gelatin, and I added the crushed candy canes on top for that festive touch. The candy cane also adds some extra texture and a nice mint-y flavour to the otherwise soft and sweet marshmallows.
I’m still dumbfounded by the whole process of making marshmallows, by the way. I didn’t take any pictures of the process itself, which I’m regretting now. But I watched with wonder how a mixture of water, golden syrup, sugar and gelatin (so, a transparent and slighly golden liquid) turned into white, sticky goo (or, you know, marshmallow fluff) and tripled in size during the process. Science, man! I love it.
I love how easy these were to make, and I think I’ll be trying out different versions in the future. You can go all kinds of ways with the flavour and look of these!
I’m sure most of us can list a couple of things we don’t like about winter, like the cold or how it gets dark so frickin’ early (if you sense some frustration here… you might be right), but isn’t it way more fun to talk about our favourite things about winter instead?
My favourite thing about winter is how cosy everything gets. Part of that has to do with Christmas (which is my other favourite thing about winter) and all the lights going up around town. But it also has to do with the cosiness of being at home in a warm jumper with a cup of tea and a blanket. And books, of course. I’ve been loving curling up with a book on the couch at night after work. There’s just something extra special about doing that when it’s cold and dark out.
That’s why today, on the third day of my Festive Fortnight, I’m sharing with you a list of five books that I think are perfect for curling up on the couch with. It’s a bit of a random list in terms of what’s on it, but I thought to myself “which books would I love to read around Christmas when it’s cold outside?” and these are the books I came up with.
The Festive Fortnight has now officially started! I’ve been looking forward to this moment for over a month – and now it’s here. Hurrah!
I baked this cake over a month ago as well; it’s the first Festive Fortnight bake I made. At first, I wasn’t too sure this cake was going to be a success. It was a bit of an experiment. I’d made this recipe from scratch, and I was baking with fresh cranberries for the first time. They’re weird little buggers, aren’t they? I tasted one since I was curious what they’d taste like before baking or cooking them. Turns out, they’re pretty gross!
Anyway, despite my worries, this cake turned out absolutely delicious. It’s got a lovely almond taste, which combines magnificently with the orange and the cranberries. This cake is perfect for when you’re looking for something that is Christmas-y, but isn’t too heavy. The tang from the citrus and the cranberries made for a nice fresh contrast with the sweetness from the almond and the glaze.
Although the cake was amazing, the pictures of it didn’t exactly turn out as I’d hoped. Dusk was already starting to settle in when I took these pictures – that’s the trouble with winter, I suppose!
Only two weeks until Christmas! Who’s excited?!
Since I started this blog, an inadvertent annual tradition has made its way into my Decembers; it consists of me kicking myself for not starting work on Christmas recipes earlier in the season. I love Christmas, and I love Christmas recipes, but I mostly end up not posting them, or posting them after Christmas, like last year’s gingerbread cookies.
That’s why this year I started planning my Christmas posts at the start of November. In fact, here’s a little secret: I’m typing this on the 14th of November (while rocking out to Mariah Carey and Wham!, of course). That’s because I’ve been planning quite an ambitious project…
For the coming two weeks, I’ll be posting every single day as part of my Festive Fortnight of Blogging!
There’ll be plenty of Christmassy recipes (6 in total!), and there’ll also be bookish posts and other festive fun things. I’ve got it all planned out
(for a change)! This marks the first post, and the last one will be a round-up on the 24th.
So, get ready for two weeks of holiday cheer and festive fun leading up to Christmas!