The Alternative Christmas British Bake-off
Entertaining can be and should be fun. Here are 2 easy Christmas baking ideas to delight and surprise your guests.
Chocolate tastes better with salt. Really it does. It makes it taste deeper, richer and more chocolatey. There is science why but who cares. Just trust me. It does.
So, hold that thought and then consider bacon. Mmmmm sweet sweet bacon. Now combine the two and you have a sublime chocolate brownie. It’s so good it should be illegal. No pleasure this good should be unregulated. I first tried this combo in Kentucky at a small coffee bar and I was hooked.
It took me a few goes to get the balance right and figure out exactly the best way to add the bacon to my favourite brownie recipe. I first of all tried stirring the bacon through the mix but it lost its texture and became a little unidentifiable. I tried slices in the bottom of the brownie pan but it was a bit much. I finally settled on this version and I've never looked back.
Bacon is often maple cured so I figured some maple flavoured cream just adds to the fun, and crunchy nuts add a texture and earthy note.
Expand your guests’ minds by serving them an old favourite in a new way. Everyone loves a brownie, let’s shake it up a little. I love the playful nature of this and how guests go from unsure to wowed in seconds.
2.Lemon & poppyseed cupcakes with Gin & Tonic icing
We’re all short of time but some of us feel guilty for using cake mixes. Like we’re cheating, or that the ingredients won’t be good quality enough. The quality of some I am sure hasn’t changed much in the last few years but we are loving the all-natural newcomer House of the Rising Bun. This has to be the best named thing I’ve come across since my favourite chippy. The Fishcoteque near Waterloo station.
If you suddenly have people coming round to visit, then what you need is this in your arsenal. Just grab a box, add in the wet ingredients (butter and eggs) as instructed, stir, pour, bake. Brilliant for cupcakes, it can also keep kids entertained for a good while on a rainy day.
To add a more homemade feel and to make the mix a bit more adult I like to make a fun icing for the top. Nothing goes together much better than gin and tonic. Which pairs so well with the lemon. Mmmm I can almost hear the ice cubes clinking in the glass.
All you need to do is put 250g icing sugar in a bowl, add a generous splash of gin (we love Sipsmith) and then just enough tonic to make the icing flow. Spoon over the cake or cupcakes once they have completely cooled and decorate with some edible glitter or silver balls. The perfect alternative to all those stodgy fruit based Christmas cakes and a fun talking point.