As Christmas approaches, Ballincollig Tidy Towns is busy finding some fun and easy recipes kids can make with their parents. Keep an eye out for more.
COCONUT MINCE PIES
Cook Time: 18-20 mins
375g/12oz Odlums Cream Plain Flour
175g/6oz Butter or Margarine
150ml/¼ pint cold water
Jar of Mincemeat
50g/2oz Odlums Cream Plain Flour
125g/4oz Golden Caster Sugar
125g/4oz Butter (room temperature)
2 Eggs (beaten)
75g/3oz Desiccated Coconut, plus 2-3 tablespoons extra
Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Lightly grease two 12 hole bun trays.
Place flour in a mixing bowl, coarsely rub in the butter/margarine. Add sufficient water (about 150ml/¼ pint) to mix to a soft dough.
Turn onto a lightly floured board and gently knead. Roll out pastry on a floured board and cut out 24 discs and place in the prepared tins. Place in the fridge while making topping.
Using the all-in-one method, beat together the flour, sugar, butter, eggs and the coconut until mixture is creamy.
Put a spoonful of mincemeat into each of the pies and then top with a spoonful of coconut mixture. Sprinkle a little more coconut on top and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. These can be frozen when cold.
BROWNIE CHRISTMAS TREE
Preparation 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Turn the classic chocolate brownie into a festive Christmas tree with this fun recipe idea.
200g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
200g butter, chopped
1 cup (220g) brown sugar
3 Coles Brand Australian Free Range Eggs
1 cup (150g) plain flour
1/3 cup (35g) cocoa powder
1/4 cup (60g) sour cream
1/2 cup (95g) white choc bits
125g butter, extra, softened
2 cups (320g) icing sugar mixture
1 tablespoon milk
Green liquid food colouring
M&M’s Minis, to decorate
Sugar stars, to decorate
Sprinkles, to decorate
100’s and 1000’s, to decorate
12 candy canes
Select all ingredients
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 22cm square cake pan with baking paper.
Combine the dark chocolate and chopped butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Set aside for 5 mins to cool slightly.
Add the brown sugar to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Add the eggs and stir to combine. Add the flour, cocoa powder and sour cream and stir to combine. Gently fold in the white choc bits. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 35-40 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan to cool completely.
Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter in a bowl until very pale. Gradually add the icing sugar, in batches, beating well after each addition until pale and creamy. Add the milk and beat to combine.
Place the brownie on a clean work surface. Use a large serrated knife to trim outside edges of brownie. Cut in half. Cut each half into 6 triangles, about 10cm long and 6cm wide.
Tint half the icing green using green food colouring. Place in a piping bag fitted with a 5mm fluted nozzle. Pipe over half the brownie triangles. Place remaining icing in a piping bag fitted with a 5mm plain nozzle. Pipe over the remaining brownie triangles. Decorate the brownie triangles with M&M’s, sugar stars, sprinkles and 100’s and 1000’s. Remove the round end of each candy cane. Attach the remaining candy cane to the base of each brownie triangle to make a Christmas tree.
CHRISTMAS PUDDING RICE KRISPIE CAKES
Preparation: 30 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Makes 10 – 12
Fun to make with kids or as a cute Christmas canape, top chocolate, peanut and raisin puffed rice cakes with white chocolate and festive holly icing.
50g rice pops (we used Rice Krispies)
30g raisin , chopped
100g milk chocolate , broken into pieces
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
30g mini marshmallow
80g white chocolate
Ready-made icing holly leaves (we used Sainsbury’s Christmas cake decorations)
Put the rice pops and raisins into a bowl. Put the butter, milk chocolate, peanut butter and marshmallows into a small saucepan. Place on a medium to low heat and stir until the chocolate and butter have melted but the marshmallows are just beginning to melt.
Pour onto the rice pops and stir until well coated. Line an egg cup with cling film. Press about a tablespoon of the mixture into the egg cup. Press firmly and then remove, peel off the cling film and place the pudding into a cake case, flat-side down. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Chill until firm.
Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Spoon a little chocolate over the top of each pudding. Top with icing holly leaves.
POLAR BEAR CUPCAKES
Made with sweet fondant icing and delicious desiccated coconut, these cute polar bear cupcakes make the perfect Christmas treats to share with friends and family. An easy Christmas baking recipe for kids to help with. It takes less than 30 minutes to make.
Makes 12 cupcakes
10 mins to prepare and 18 mins to cook
125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g self-raising flour
For the topping
50g butter, softened
125g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
500g white fondant icing
75g desiccated coconut
50g black fondant icing
1 x tube white writing icing
Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with 12 muffin cases. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well between each addition.
Fold in the vanilla extract and the flour then divide the mixture between the muffin cases. Bake for 15-18 mins until well risen and golden. Take the cakes out of the tin and leave on a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
To make the buttercream topping, whisk the butter with a hand-held mixer until pale. Add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition. Add the milk and continue to whisk until the mixture is pale and creamy.
Roll out two thirds of the white fondant icing and cut out 12 circles using a 7cm (3in) plain pastry cutter – this will form the polar bears’ face. Pinch the edge of the icing circles in two places to create the polar bears’ ears. Spread a little of the buttercream on the top of each cupcake and then put a circle of fondant icing onto each one.
Divide the remaining fondant into 12 and roll each piece into a small ball. Stick the balls onto the cakes using a dab of water and then brush the whole of the fondant icing lightly with water and dip into the desiccated coconut to coat completely.
Take the black fondant icing and roll out 12 balls for the noses and 24 small balls for the eyes. Use a little of the writing icing to stick these onto the bears to create the faces.
MARSHMALLOW SNOWBALL DIPPERS
These pretty snowball dippers are so easy to make and use just four ingredients. Wrap them in festive packaging and you’ve got homemade Christmas gifts.
20 minutes to prepare, 10 minutes to cook and 1 hour to cool
150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
4 candy canes (or 16 lollipop sticks)
4 tbsp desiccated coconut, or 6 tbsp sprinkles, stars, or hundreds and thousands (or a mix)
Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a bowl over simmering water, then pour into a smaller bowl or shallow cup where the marshmallows can be individually submerged easily (too shallow and they’re harder to dunk). Leave for a few mins to cool slightly.
While the chocolate is cooling, break the candy canes into 4 equal pieces (a few pieces will be slightly hooked but that’s ok). Insert a piece of candy cane (or lollipop stick) into each marshmallow in the wider end. Line 2 boards or trays with baking paper and arrange a cooling rack over one of them. Put your coconut or sprinkles into small bowls.
Dunk the marshmallows into the chocolate – use a spoon to drizzle over the top of them if you need to (the chocolate around the top will help to keep them stuck when set). Let any excess drip off back into the bowl, then transfer to the cooling rack. Repeat with all the marshmallows.
Once the chocolate has stopped dripping and is starting to set, hold the dippers over the coconut or sprinkle bowls and scatter pinches over them, spinning to coat all over (any falling off will go back into the bowl). Once coated, leave to set on the baking paper for at least 1 hour in a cool place. Keep in a cool place for 2 weeks if using lollipop sticks, 2-3 days if using candy canes.
CHRISTMAS TREE MERINGUES
Sprinkled with hundreds and thousands and topped with a star, these wonderful Christmas Tree meringues will definitely get you in the festive spirit. They’re easy to make and deliciously sweet, perfect for a Christmas treat or edible gift.
15 mins to prepare and 1 hour to cook, plus cooling
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
green food colouring gel
hundreds and thousands
12 yellow stars from 1 x tub multi-coloured stars
Preheat the oven to gas ½, 120°C, fan 100°C and line 2 baking sheets with nonstick baking paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with a hand-held mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add half the sugar, 1-2 tbsp at a time, whisking well between each addition. Mix in the green food colouring, and then add the remaining sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form and the meringue is glossy.
Spoon the meringue into a large piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe Christmas trees onto the lined baking sheets, sprinkle over a few hundreds and thousands, and then top each tree with a yellow star.
Bake for 1 hour until the meringues are crisp and dry. Turn the oven off, prop the door open a little and leave the meringues inside to cool for an hour – this will prevent them from cracking as they cool. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before removing from the baking paper.
CHRISTMAS REINDEER CUPCAKES
Preparation Time 15 Minutes
Cooking Time 20 minutes
1 packet Betty Crocker mud cake/chocolate cake mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
1 cup dark chocolate buttons
12 jumbo marshmallows
white writing icing
dark chocolate writing icing
red writing icing
Preheat oven to 200°C. Place white cases into a muffin tin and prepare the Betty Crocker cake mix (with the oil, eggs and water) according to the packet instructions.
Bake for 20 minutes and remove from the oven. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Melt the dark chocolate buttons in the microwave until they reach the desired consistency. Dip them in the chocolate before placing one on top of each of the cooled cupcakes.
Once the chocolate is set use the white writing icing to create two eyes on top of the marshmallow. Draw on two pupils using the dark chocolate icing and a red nose once the white icing has set.
HOT CHOCOLATE SNOWMEN
Preparation time 20 mins
Cook time 5 mins
1 litre milk
4 tbs drinking chocolate
sugar, to taste (optional)
9 medium size marshmallows
orange jelly beans
50g dark chocolate chips
To make the marshmallow snowmen, thread three marshmallows onto a cocktail stick.
Using a spare cocktail stick, make small holes for your pretzel arms and legs and jelly bean nose.
Insert pretzel sticks into the holes for the arms and legs and an orange jelly bean for the nose.
Using a chocolate icing pen draw on the snowman’s buttons, eyes and mouth. Place to one side.
For the hot chocolate, put the milk into a pan. Bring to a simmer and spoon in 4 tablespoons of drinking chocolate, stir until dissolved.
Place the snowmen on top of your mugs and serve (be careful to remove the cocktail stick for little ones before tucking in).
Equipment – Cocktail sticks
Preparation Time 10 mins
Cooking time 10 mins
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
2 tbsp butter
4 rashers streaky bacon
4 white marshmallows
8 dark choc chips
Make a basic pancake batter by whisking together milk and egg in a large bowl. Sift in the flour and whisk until smooth.
Melt 2 teaspoons butter in a large frypan. Pour in batter to form one large circle, one smaller circle and two triangles for ears.
Cook for a couple of minutes until bubbles form, flip and cook for a further minute until cooked through. Remove and keep warm. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Cut bacon rashers in half and cook until crisp. To arrange Rudolph, place the large pancake on a plate. Place smaller pancake on top. Position rashers for antlers and the triangular pancakes for ears. Decorate with marshmallow eyes and strawberry nose.
Cut marshmallows in half. Press a choc chip into the centre of each half.