Christmas Baking

Dear readers,

I know I haven´t posted anything in a last couple of weeks, but since we moved to our new house I didn´t have a chance to get an Internet connection. But, here I am again, bringing you some new and delicious recipes for anytime of the year.
And, I know it´s already after Christmas and new Year´s holiday season, but I want to wish you all the best the New Year 2014 can bring you. There are moments of happiness and moments of tears, moments of downs and falls.But after all, it makes us who we are. So let this year be even better then the old one, let there be joy, peace, love and even more desserts in this new year! :) Let´s celebrate life together!

Today, I´m bringing you three new recipes, which can be baked for any occasion throughout the whole year really. I reccomend baking them only for festive season, because of their simple and mouth-watering appearance.Theye´re all so tiny, festive-looking and delicious, they need nothing else.

Tiny Graham Cookies with Jam:

600g graham flour
400g butter
140g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
tiny pinch of salt
jam (spicy jams work the best-strawberry or any berry kind of jam works great)

Mix all of the ingredients together on a lightly floured surface. When the dough is smooth and well mixed, wrap it in a clingfilm and put to the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 parts and roll out each part of the dough to 0,3 cm thick and cut out cookies. You have to have even number of cookies so in the end you can ´glue´ them together with jam. So cut out even numbers of plain cookies and even number of cookies with diferent shapes in the middle.
Put them on a baking sheet set with a baking paper and bake until crispy and golden brown.
When done, let them cool and then ´glue´ cookies with jam, but be patient while doing it. Cookies are fragile and can be easily broken. Before serving, sprinkle with more icing sugar if needed. Store in an air-tight container.

Healthy Mince Pies with Little Stars:

240g plain flour (I used 170g of plain flour and the rest was wholemeal flour)
60 g cold butter
60g cold shortening
juice of 1 orange
pinch of salt
mincemeat of your own (I made homemade, without using sugar and sweeteners)

Put flour, pieces of cold butter and pieces of cold shortening into a bowl and by using a spoon, cover pieces of buter and shortening with flour. Put to the freezer for about 30 minutes. This makes the dough flaky and really light.
Mix juice of 1 orange with salt, cover and put to the fridge.
After 30 minutes, mix your flour with fats using stand mixer. When mixing flour with fats, start adding little bit of your orange juice. When the dough will resemble fine crumbs, you can start adding your juice. Add as much juice as needed for the dough to come together.Don´t add too much of your juice, otherwise you won´t end up with the effect of a light pastry. And, if you will need to add more liquid,simply use some cold water.
Take your dough, wrap in a clingfilm and put to the fridge for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, preheat your oven to 220°C. Roll out your dough as thinly as you can. You need a case for your mincemeat, but it can´t be too thin, otherwise the pastry won´t hold the delicious filling. Not too thin, not too thick. :)
Cut out circles from the dough, wider than your tin. (I used muffin tin for baking small muffins). Slightly press each circle using your thumbs and fill them up with your mincemeat. Then, cover your small pies with a stars you cut out from your leftover dough.
Put in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Let them cool on a wire cooling rack and serve. Store in an air-tight container.

Coffee beans:

200g marzipan (good quality)
shot of espresso (really strong!:)
2 tblspoons cocoa

Mix the ingredients together until smooth dough. Using your hands, form small ´beans´ and cover them with cocoa. They are simple, I know. But, so delicious and so delicate!

Happy baking to you all and a Happy New Year!

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