Saturday, December 8, 2012

In My Kitchen - December 2012

Oh my, I cannot believe we are in December already, with only 2.5 weeks until Christmas! I thought I'd better get into the spirit of the pending festivities and fill my kitchen with a few Christmassy things.

I'm a bit of a sucker for Better Homes and Gardens, and while I rarely buy their magazine, I did splurge on the Christmas edition. In it I found some gorgeous gingerbread Christmas trees made out of star cookie cutters. The originals specified 7 or 8 cutters per tree, but I found these cute concentric star and Christmas tree cutter sets at my local Matchbox store and thought they'd be perfect.

I tested the stars out last weekend and created a few gingerbread trees. I had some pink egg-white icing in the freezer from an excessive batch a few weeks ago. I know green would be more appropriate but it was a trial run, and a successful one at that. I think these will feature as edible centre-pieces at Christmas lunch.

I also found some festive mini cupcake liners which I plan to use for mini mince pies...

...and some cute "candy" (or chocolate) moulds.

I also tested these out, using the lemon-flavoured Callebaut callets from the sample pack I bought a little while ago. Strangely the lemon-flavoured callets are green, but that works well for Christmas! The tree chocolates are milk (34%) base and lemon-flavoured trees. The father Christmas shapes are made from a 70% cocoa base, with father Christmas' hat made of left over lemon. Hubby put my first set of moulds in the dishwasher and melted them. Luckily for him they were less than $5 so I bought another set to make more for the big day.

There are also a few non-Christmassy things in my kitchen at the moment. The lovely Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial sent me some mahlep spice so I could test out Barbara's Kaak Cookies. I made a third of a batch of these tonight (sorry, I didn't take a photo), as the original recipe specifies 1kg of flour and that would just mean way too many biscuits. The result is a bit like a shortbread but with a lovely spicy hint. I just adore the smell of the mahlep and get a pleasant surprise every time I open my pantry at the moment

Celia also included in my surprise parcel, this beautiful mould. I pressed the Kaak cookies into it before baking, but unfortunately most of the design is lost in the oven. If anyone has any ideas what else I could try this mould out on, I'd love to hear them.

My rhubarb plants are earning their keep at the moment, and while the fruit (is it fruit?) is plentiful, rhubarb crumble is making its way onto our dessert menu. I'll post the recipe one day soon.

My mum has an over-excited lemon tree (as opposed to my lemon tree that has taken 8 years to produce 4 lemons). Last week she gave me a few and so last Sunday I made a lemon meringue pie. I'll post the recipe to this one too, one day soon. I have to admit I am lazy and never make my own pastry, but those frozen flan cases are cheap and taste so good! Plus, a lemon meringue pie is never about the pastry, so why stress over something I'm not good at? I should also admit that there isn't actually any of this left in my kitchen anymore. While the girls weren't particularly taken by it, hubby and I managed to polish it off over a few days.

That's what's going on in my kitchen at the moment. If you'd like to see what's happening in a few other kitchens around the globe, particularly as silly-season approaches, head over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for some links. Happy Christmas baking!


  1. Hi Pam Celia very generously sent me some mehleb and a mould too. It was very kind of her. I have tried to find out what the mould is for, but can't. If you find out, could you please let me know? From my experience with speculaas I do know that if you let the biscuits stand uncooked in the fridge overnight they will keep their impression better.
    PS Your Christmas tree looks great.

  2. Pam, Glenda - at Harkola, the moulds were on their system as kaak moulds. I have no idea how to use them - sometimes the pattern stays on the cookies, other times it doesn't. I just thought they'd be useful for something - maybe your speculaas, G?

    Pam, Christmas is just next week, and we've been so busy! I love your cookie cutters, and your cookie tree! And great choccies too - bicolour ones are hard! Have a great Christmas! xx