Christmas baking season has officially started! According to my family back home in Germany, that is.
Let’s ignore the fact that supermarkets offered us their take on Christmas confection and baked goods shortly after summer! At least, that’s how I perceived it. If anybody was able to avoid the somewhat premature Christmas commercials and sweet offers until now – well done! Please teach me how to 😉
According to the last pictures that my mum sent, our family home was, as of last weekend, converted into a fully functional Christmas cookie factory with over 10 different varieties already baked, tinned, and available for consumption. Now is the time I wish I lived closer to my family 🙂
That doesn’t mean that cookie manufacturing is completed yet. Unless my mum has “manufacured” at least 15 different varieties and more than 5kg, she’s not done. I assume, from previous experience, that it’ll take another 2 weeks before the Christmas cookie ‘production’ ceases, and all cookies will be neatly stacked in colourful cookie tins in our cellar. It always astounds me how long it takes to produce them, and how quickly my family and friends invited for “pre-Christmas coffees” eradicate the stock!
When it’s time for me to fly home for Christmas, I get to look at some remaining crumbles at the bottom of the tins, at best. Just enough to stick my nose in, smell the delicious aroma, and dream of the day that they’ll keep some for me. Maybe. Next year…
So – what is the lesson here for me?
If I want to enjoy some sweet Christmas treats, I’d be better making my own!
1 ‘No-bake’ Christmas Rum balls
- 100gr dark chocolate (>70%)
- 50gr vegan butter or coconut oil
- 300gr dried out cake / stale cake left-overs
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp gingerbread spice (I made the mix myself, find the recipe here)
- 3 Tbsp rum (if you won’t want to use alcohol, you can use rum aroma/flavouring, else, orange juice)
- 80gr of white vegan chocolate for the chocolate coating, and some dried cranberries, or any other dried fruit you’d like to use to decorate
- Chop the dark chocolate into small pieces and heat together with the vegan butter (or coconut oil) in a bowl hanging over a pot of hot water.
- Set aside to allow cooling down a bit.
- Use your hands to crumble the stale cake left-overs into a separate bowl. Break down the crumbs as finely as you’d like to have them in the rum balls later.
- Add the cocoa powder and gingerbread spice, and mix well.
- Now, add the melted chocolate into the cake crumb mix, and combine the two until you get a consistent mass. You can use a handheld mixer, if you prefer.
- Slowly add the rum, rum aroma/flavouring, or orage juice. 1 Tbsp at a. time.
- Form appr. 35 walnut sized balls from the mass and set them aside in a cool place (fridge) for about 30 minutes.
- For the chocolate coating: chop the white chocolate into small pieces and heat in a bowl hanging over a pot of hot water. Set aside to allow cooling down a bit to avoid burning yourself in the next step!
- Transfer the melted chocolate into a piping bag. Or use af reezer bag, and cut off a tiny bit of one corner. Now you can decorate the rum balls and place the drid fruit on top of the chocolate coating. Your finished rum balls will look similar to the ones in the picture below!
- Place into fridge for at least 1hr until the chocolate sets.
- Keep them in a cool place and allow them to come up to room temprerature 30 minutes before serving.
2 Cinnamon stars
That is without a doubt the most classical baked Christmas good you can imagine. Right up there with gingerbread and spiced biscuits ‘Spekulatius’. And who doesn’t like to star gaze around Christmas time? I’ll be focussing on Cinnamon stars for my personal stargazing event(s), considering that the UK cloud cover around this time of year doesn’t allow for anything else.
So, get your star shaped cookie cutter ready!
For the star dough:
- 200gr icing sugar
- 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 8 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 150gr ground almonds
- 200gr ground hazelnuts
- 1 Tbsp freshly grated orange peel
For the star glazing 😉
Some icing sugar, ground cinammon, and water to get the right consistency to your liking.
- Mix all star dough ingredients in a bowl antil well combined. You should obtain a relatively firm dough ball.
- Roll out the dough to the desired thickness on a non-stick, cut-resistant liner. *Please see my note below!
- Cut out as many stars with your cookie cutter as your star dough allows you to.
- Carefully transfer all stars onto a reusable cooking liner, or a greaseproof baking paper on a baking tray. Now, take the remaining dough, form a ball with it again, roll out, and repeat the process until you have used up all dough. Eat the rest – that is always an option 😉
- Set the baking tray with all stars aside de for 4hrs to dry out slightly at room temperature.
- Shortly before the 4hrs are up, preheat the oven to 250°C.
- Place the baking tray and your beautiful stars into the oven and bake for 3-5 minutes only. You don’t want them to become too dry and brittle.
- Remove the stars from the oven once done, and allow them to cool down before putting on the icing.
- Mix the icing sugar with some cinnamon and a few drops of water at a time until you reach your preferred icing consitency.
- Transfer the icing onto your newly born stars with a pastry brush. Just Glaze away!
- Once the icing has set, you can either place them into a cookie tin for later consumption, or you can invite all your friends to your cosmic event. Cinnamon stargazing from the comfort of your living room! You will note, as quickly as the stars come out, as quickly they are gone!
*Note: I recommend not rolling the dough out too thin, as you’ll find it difficult to pick up the cut out stars when transferring them onto the reusable cooking liner, or greaseproof baking paper. Unlike the real stars, which cannot break, these cinnamon ones can.
Want more? OK, s’more it is!
3 UK S’mores cookies
I discovered this United States & Canada traditional nighttime campfire treat just recently. Two month ago, in hot and sunny Miami to be precise. Not the surroundings you’d necessarily connect campfires with. Since it was 35°C outside, and we had lunch in an air-conditioned hotel room, no campfire was included. It was immediately clear that we’re having a keeper here. I thought, if they can serve it in a tropical climate, I could easily steel the recipe and import it to the UK. I loved s’mores!
In order to keep S’mores vegan but modulate the wide array of S’more recipes available, I decided to give them a UK Christmas twist. So UK S’more cookies it is!
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup vegan butter or coconut oil, softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds, mixed with 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup vegan chocolate drops
- 1 cup vegan mini marshmallows
- 1 cup vegan digestive biscuits, crushed
- Mix the chia seeds with water and set aside for at least 15 minutes. The mix will form a jelly-like consistency.
- Preheat oven to 175°C. Line large baking tray with a reusable cooking liner, or with greaseproof baking paper.
- Dry ingredients: Combine the flour, cornflour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Then set aside.
- Wet ingredients: In a separate bowl, mix the butter or coconut oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until well combined. Add the ‘chia-jelly’, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
- Combine the dry and the wet ingredients in the larger bowl, and mix until you get a smooth dough. Stir in the chocolate chips, the mini marshmallows, and the crushed digestives.
- Form small walnut sized balls from the dough, and place them on the liner or baking paper. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
- Once ready, remove tray from the oven and allow the cookies to cool down a bit. They’re delightful enjoyed warm though!
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Merry baking ’til then! 🙂
Do you crave any other Chrismas cookie and want us to post the veganized version of it? Which Christmas treat would you like to see here?
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