Christmas Baking

Living in Sydney means our Christmas period is celebrated in sweltering temperatures. Even as I type this it is 44C or 108F outside. You can normally find at least half of the population at a beach sometime over the three days that are Christmas (Eve, Day and Boxing Day). I was born and raised here so a hot Christmas is the only Christmas I’ve ever know. It took Greg, my husband, a while to really get into the Christmas mood- being from mid-west America meant they were drowning in snow by mid-December, surrounded by fireplaces and overcoats. After 8 years I can say that he has truly become acclimatized- you can catch him in flip flops and t-shirts most weekends in December.

Part of getting into the Christmas Spirit is the holiday baking! We have some awesome Australian Christmas traditions- i.e. Fruit Mince Puddings, Roast Pork with Crackling, Fresh Prawns, Salmon, oysters (pretty much anything from the ocean), Smoked Ham, Pavlova.. I could go on and on..

Despite the great Aussie traditions I am a sucker for everything warm and cozy. I love warm hot chocolate and songs about having a White Christmas. I’ve tried to incorporate as any of these northern hemisphere traditions as I can down here!

Below are some of my favourite Christmas Baking and Dessert Recipes!

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Christmas Sugar Cookies | Fruit Mince Pies | Gingerbread House

Snowmen Cream Puffs | Aussie Pavlova | Gingerbread Men

Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_4493.PNGFor some reason I have an amazing Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I don’t know what it is, but most people will request the cookies (if I am coming over) or they sell like hotcakes if we have a fundraiser. While I’m not much of a sweet tooth, I can definitely eat one or two of these no problem.

My most famous (I use that word pretty lightly..haha) combination would have to be: Chocolate Chip, Pretzel and Snickers Cookies. One of our close friends is allergic to nuts, so more often than not I switch to Chocolate Chip and Mars Bar Cookies.

Yesterday Coles had Tim Tams on sale. If you have ever lived in or visited Australia you know these are the most amazing chocolate biscuit in the world, so I decided to try putting Tim Tams in my cookies… Let me tell you- I baked 14 of these bad boys last night and I have 3 left today. (I’ve only had one just to clarify for any haters out there..)

So, below is my basic Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that I use, with a note as to where you can add any inclusions!

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Steph’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients needed

  • 150g softened cooking butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1 3/4 cup plain flour

Inclusions (optional)

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped Tim Tams
  • 1 cup chopped pretzels
  • 1 cup chopped Snickers bars
  • 1 cup chopped Mars barsIMG_4495

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and line two baking trays
  2. Place the softened butter, both sugars and vanilla essence in a mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed till everything is combined.
  3. Add the egg and mix again till combined
  4. Hand mix in the flour until combinedIMG_4498
  5. *This is where you’ll add any inclusions- add chocolate chips and chopped Tim Tams. Mix until combined.IMG_4499
  6. Roll into -balls and place on a baking tray.IMG_4494
  7. Bake for 10-12 min. The moment you see the bottoms of the cookies going brown take them out of the oven. You don’t want to overcook the cookies

For storage, I place them on a plate with a slice of bread (don’t let the bread touch the cookies) and wrap with cling wrap. An alternative is to place the cookies in a container and place a piece of baking paper on the top layer and place the piece of bread on top.

The bread will draw all the moisture from the air and keep the cookies soft.