Lebkuchen

I’ve made it – 12 recipes of advent for Christmas 2021 completed just in time! At one point I didn’t think I’d get there, but somehow I have ended with plenty of recipes on hold until next Christmas! Wishing all my readers a very Happy, safe and healthy Christmas. Thank you for all the comments, views and interaction, and making it all seem worthwhile 🙂

I’ve wanted to recreate these traditional German gingerbread cookies for a while, as to me they seem extremely festive and quite exotic. I haven’t eaten many in my life so I’m hoping this is an authentic recreation to add to the festive repertoire. We found them to be how one would imagine an old-fashioned gingerbread cookie to be, which is no bad thing. Lebkuchen often have a heavy dosing of cloves but I didn’t have any in the cupboard, so I’ve opted for a touch of mixed spice for an extra Christmas vibe.

 You can ice with either the water/lemon icing that hardens to a crisp crust or with melted chocolate, or maybe both to please all tastes?

 

Lebkuchen

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 Makes about 12

125g plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

50g soft brown sugar

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp mixed spice

2 tsp cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp flavourless oil

1 tbsp golden syrup (or honey)

70ml dairy-free milk

For the glaze:

50g icing sugar

1 tbsp water or lemon juice

And/or:

50g dark dairy-free chocolate, melted

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade fan/180 degrees centigrade non-fan. Line a cookie sheet with non-stick parchment.
  2. Mix together the first eight dry ingredients. Add the oil, syrup and milk and milk to form a soft dough.
  3. Roll out to 1cm thick and use festive cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Place spaced apart on the cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. When cool, mix together the glaze and/or melt the chocolate and coat the cookies.

 

Christmas Spice Cheesecakes

In my opinion no time of year is complete without it’s own cheesecake recipe. We really do love cheesecake in this household! I could have tried to include mincemeat, or clementine would have been nice but I know the younger members of the family are not fans of either of those. So what other Christmas addition could a cheesecake have? Well spice of course. Nothing says Christmas more than some warming spice whether in some gingerbread, mulled wine or even mince pies.

These cheesecakes we were a very big hit – the spice is on the form of ginger cookies in the base and Biscoff spread in the cheesecake layer. The result is delightful! In fact, by adding the Biscoff spread the cream cheese mixture gets a bit firmer, which is all the better for a no-bake cheesecake recipe. I find the addition of the yogurt is important to give a hint of sour that cuts through the sweet.

I’ve given the proportions for 4 individuals ramekins but I’d you want to make more, or one larger cake, just multiply as necessary.

Christmas Spice Cheesecakes

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 4 individual ramekins

8 ginger biscuits, crushed

2 tbsp dairy-free margarine, melted

150g dairy-free cream cheese (I use 1 tub of Oatly cream spread)

1 tbsp dairy-free yogurt

2 tbsp icing sugar

3 tbsp smooth Biscoff spread

Christmas decorations of choice

  1. Mix together the crushed biscuits with the melted margarine, divide between the 4 ramekins and press down to form a firm base. Place in the fridge to set.
  2. Whisk together the cream cheese, yogurt, icing sugar and Biscoff spread until smooth and well combined. I find it easiest to use a food processor, but you can whisk it by hand.
  3. divide the mixture evenly between the four ramekins and level off. Chill. When read to serve add Christmas themed decorations and a sprinkle of glittery icing sugar, if you have any.

Chocolate Tiffin Wreath Cake

Our family is divided over the issue of Christmas cake; I make one every year and some of the family devour it like there’s no tomorrow, and others would simply rather have anything else.

I’ll be making both a chocolate yule log and a traditional Christmas cake to please everyone, but I reckon this chocolate tiffin wreath cake will probably be the most popular offering. Not many can resist a good tiffin, and this version is particularly fine with plenty of fudgey chocolate filling mixed with a good selection of biscuits (plus no random bits of dried fruit which seem to give my children nightmares!)


You could easily make this is any cake tin, but if you have a bundt tin, you’ll get a fine wreath shape which immediately looks festive and rather tempting. I’ve been quite restrained and topped this with a white chocolate snowy like drizzle and some Christmas decorations, but i reckon you could go all out if that’s more your style 🙂

Chocolate Biscuit Tiffin Wreath Cake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be soya-free, can be gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)


170 g dairyfree chocolate
120g dairyfree margarine
3 tbsps golden or maple syrup
12 biscuits, roughly crushed ( I used Lotus )
20 g Rice Krispies
50g white chocolate
Christmas decorations

  1. Line a bundt tin or loaf tin with two layers of cling film
  2. Melt together the chocolate, margarine and syrup. Stir well to form a gorgeous truffle mixture
    Fold in the crushed biscuits.
  3. Pour into the lined mould and bring over the cling film so it is entirely covered. Press down firmly for a compacted centre and even top
  4. Place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours to firm up
  5. Melt the white chocolate and drizzle over the top
    add decorations and leave to set

Snowball Cookies

These are my riff on those nutty, icing sugar or caster sugar coated almond sandies or Mexican wedding cookies, but made nut free. The white snowy coating of icing sugar makes these perfect for the Christmas season and they’d look gorgeous alongside some other cute little petit fours with a strong coffee at the end of Christmas lunch. Then again, these are delicious enough for anytime of day or year.

By leaving out the nuts you end up with a surprisingly soft filling that is subtly spiced, but enough to get a proper hint of Christmas. We found them remarkably moreish, and I hope you do too.

We might leave some of these out for Father Christmas this year, although the powdery sugary coating may make an awful mess on his lovely red suit, so don’t feel too bad if you devour them all before he arrives and you have to leave out a less exciting cookie!

I’m trying to post 12 recipes of Advent this year, so look out for more exciting festive themed recipes to come in the next few weeks. Any Christmas recipe you’re lacking and you’d like a recreation then get in touch and i’ll do my best 🙂


Snowball Cookies
(dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)


makes about 14-16

80g dairy-free margarine
80g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1.2 tsp cinnamon
150g plain flour
pinch of salt
20-30g icing sugar to roll in

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees fan/180 degrees non-fan
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment
  3. Cream together the margarine and icing sugar until light and fluffy, add in the vanilla and cinnamon.
    sift in the flour and salt and combine to form a soft dough
  4. Roll into marble sized balls and placed, spaced apart on the line cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, until risen and a tiny hint of colour
  6. Cool for 5 minutes and then roll in the icing sugar, making sure they are liberally covered in the icing sugar ‘snow’

Chocolate and Candy Cane Biscuits

I’ve seen a lot of tempting bakes using candy canes this winter. There’s something about the eye catching red and white stripes that really sand out and make these bakes look all the more tempting.

I initially had visions of rolling chocolate truffles in crushed up candy canes but sadly the canes were a bit too soft and sticky once crushed and it didn’t work out. Then this idea popped into my mind – dark, cocoa rich cookies dipped in snowy white chocolate and then sprinkled with the crushed up candy canes. It turns out that it was a great idea – the flavours really work – bitter, sweet, smooth with crunchy bits that have a hint of peppermint. A bit like an after eight mint in cookie form! These could now be one of my favourite festive after dinner treats. 

For those who are less keen on a minty flavour profile, then these work just as well as simple white chocolate dipped chocolate cookies and decorated with some pretty sprinkles.

Chocolate and Candy Cane Biscuits

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 

makes 15-20

  • 115g or 1 cup of plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsps cornflour
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 55g or 1/4 cup hard vegetable fat 
  • 55g or 1/4 cup dairy-free margarine 
  • 100g or 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp dairy-free milk
  • 30g dairy-free white chocolate
  • 1-2 candy canes, crushed and/or Christmas themed decorations
  1.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, cornflour, salt and baking powder.
  2. In another bowl whisk together the fat, margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the milk and whisk again.
  3. Add the flour mix and carefully combine
  4. Roll out and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, small rectangles work well.
  5. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes
  6. Cool on the sheet before moving to a wire rack.
  7. Melt the white chocolate over a bain-marie and half dip each cookie into the melted chocolate
  8. Place back onto the lined baking sheet, sprinkle with decorations or crushed up candy canes and leave to set

Pepparkakor – Swedish Ginger Thins

I always love a cooking challenge and so was happy to be asked for a Pepparkakor recipe. These Swedish Ginger thins are a Scandinavian Christmas must have and rightly deserve a place on my site.

I’ve only had the Anna brand ones, those very thin crisp flower shapes biscuits often found in health food shops. They always make me think fondly of my step-Grandmother who would always buy Anna’s Ginger thins and a variety of dried fruit for my girls to graze on when they were tiny. She was always very kind to me and made such an effort to cater for us, despite the dietary challenges.

These pepparkakor are a little less thin and crisp and not so dark in colour as I only had syrup available rather than the syrup and treacle required. But the spice is spot on and they make a lovely addition to the Christmas spread.

Pepparkakor (Swedish Ginger Thins)

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 16-20

125g dairy-free margarine

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cardamon

50g caster sugar

40g soft-brown sugar

50g golden syrup (or ideally 25g treacle and 25g syrup)

35ml water

250g plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp salt

  1. Cream together the margarine, sugar and spices.
  2. Melt the syrup (or syrup and treacle) into the water
  3. Add the syrup mix and flour, bicarb and salt to the creamed margarine and mix to a soft dough.
  4. wrap and rest for a couple of hours in the fridge
  5. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade
  6. Roll out the dough to 2-3mm thick and stamp out festive shapes.
  7. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes until golden
  8. Cool on a wire rack
  9. These are best iced but if you don’t have time (like me) a little dusting of icing sugar is nice too 🙂

Triple Chocolate Christmas Tree Brownies

In my opinion there is never the wrong time for a super chocolatey brownie, even at Christmas time when nearly everything is spiced with ginger and cinnamon. Surely an overindulgent chocolate treat always hits the spot? Ok, the Christmas tree aspect of these brownies may be a bit of a gimmick but they’re super cute and add to the festive cheer.

I’d say these are knock out brownies, they’re jam packed full of three types of chocolate plus cocoa powder which gives a deep, rich flavour and a super fudgey texture. Some egg-free brownies can miss the mark on the dense fudge like texture, but that is certainly not the case here. Look at that rich truffle-like texture in the photo below to get an idea of the texture you’ll end up with.

By all means, serve traditional squares with no added adornment. As you can see from he picture below, they make pretty spectacular brownies.

But if you fancy cutting them into triangles, adding a candy cane trunk and some icing and sprinkles, then you’ll have some rather delightful little Christmas trees to serve 🎄

Triple Chocolate Christmas Tree Brownies

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 12 good sized brownies

4 tbsp cocoa powder

150g self-raising flour

110g caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 tbsp flavourless oil, I use sunflower

250ml dairy-free milk

100g dairy-free dark chocolate, melted

40g white chocolate chips

40g ‘creamy’ chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Line a brownie tin with parchment
  2. In a bowl, mix together the cocoa, self-raising flour, caster sugar and salt.
  3. Pour in the oil, milk and vanilla and mix to form a smooth batter
  4. Stir in the melted chocolate (this will make the batter much stiffer). Add half the white chocolate and ‘creamy’ chocolate chips to the batter and stir through.
  5. Transfer to the lined brownie tin and level off.
  6. Sprinkle over the remaining chocolate chips
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. It should be a bit gooey looking in the middle. Cool fully in the tin before cutting into portions. For extra fudge texture, place int he fridge before cutting and eating.
  8. For Christmas Trees, cut into triangles. Cut a candy cane into sections and use as a trunk. Decorate with a squiggle of water icing and some Christmas themed decoration.

Mini Christmas Muffins (with a mince pie version)

Mini muffins are such a great bake. Tasty, moreish and bite sized. I like to pop a couple into a lunchbox for a tasty sweet treat, or have a platter ready to welcome everyone home.

These mini muffins taste like Christmas; spiced with cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and clementine zest. I think they’ll make a lovely treat to leave out for Father Christmas or as a Festive treat with hot chocolate while snuggled on the sofa in pyjamas.

I added a filling of mincemeat to half the mix to make mince pie muffins – and very nice they were too. Although I was the only family member to try those – everyone else hates mince pies!

 

 

Christmas Spice Mini Muffins/Mince Pie Muffins

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

Makes 24 mini or 6 large

120g or 1 cup plain flour

75g or 1/3rds cup soft brown sugar

1/2 tbsp baking powder

large pinch salt

55g or 1/4 cup dairy-free margarine, melted

75ml or 1/3rd cup dairy-free milk

125g or 1/2 cup dairy-free yogurt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp mixe spice

a pinch of ground nutmeg

zest of 1/2 clementine

(optional) 1/2 tsp mincemeat for each mini muffin 

water icing and Christmas decorations

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 Degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 5. Line a muffin tin
  2. In a bowl mix together the milk, yogurt, vanilla and melted dairy-free margarine. Set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and zest. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Make a well in the centre and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until combined (make sure you don’t over mix).
  5. 2/3rds fill each muffin liner. (for the mince pie version, 1/3rd fill then add the mincemeat and then top with the other 1/3rd of muffin mix)
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes for mini muffins or 20-25 minutes for large ones, until golden on top and a knife comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.
  8. Either leave plain or top with water icing (add just enough water a few drops at a time to make a very thick icing) and Christmas decorations

Ginger Cream Yo-Yo Biscuits

Woo hoo, it’s December! After the longest year in living memory we’re finally getting to the fun end bit. I’m going to try and add some extra cheer to this festive season (and my, we need some extra cheer this year!) with an exciting ‘12 days of Blogmas’ and a whole bunch of new delicious festive recipes.

There is something so exciting about all the baking opportunities in the lead up to Christmas – I just love making sparkly tasty treats and beautifully packaged homemade gifts. Well, who doesn’t like some extra sparkle and glitter?

Like lots of people, we’ve decided to do Christmas big time this year, all whilst remaining in our little family bubble. That means less large family gatherings and more Christmas themed food, fun games and decorating big time!!

I’m kicking off Day 1 of ‘Blogmas’ with  these delightful ginger cream yo-yo biscuits. Heavily spiced crumbly biscuits sandwiches together with a lemon scented cheesecake cream. What’s not to like with that combination? These are a perfect start to December, ideally enjoyed with a steaming hot drink and sitting by a roaring open fire.

Ginger Cream Yo-yo Biscuits

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes about 12 sandwich biscuits

150g dairy-free margarine

65g soft brown sugar

2 tsp ground ginger

pinch of salt

55g custard powder or cornflour

175g plain flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 4
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment
  3. Beat together the margarine, sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Sift in the flours, spice and salt to form a very soft, but not sticky dough.
  5. Make large marble sized balls and place on the baking sheet (try to make an even number). Flatten with the back of a fork.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes
  7. Cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before moving to a wire rack.
  8. Once completely cool, sandwich together with the cream.

Lemon Cheesecake Cream

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

25g dairy-free cream cheese

40g dairy-free margarine

200g icing sugar

zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 tsp lemon juice

  1. Whisk the margarine and cream cheese with the icing sugar, zest and juice until it is all incorporated. Place in the fridge to firm up before using.

Stollen (egg-free, dairy-free and nut-free)

I have a fondness for Stollen and it’s been on my Christmas recipe to-do list for some years. Somehow it’s always felt a little out of reach to make it friendly enough for the family. Clearly any yeasted dough filled with marzipan doesn’t fit the nut-free criteria! Then I came across this recipe for nut-free marzipan and all the pieces fell into place – friendly Stollen here we come!

Stollen

(dairy-free, egg-free, can be nut-free, soya-free, peanut free, vegan and vegetarian)

 

makes one Stollen

100g mixture of dried fruit and candied citrus peel

90ml apple juice

1 tbsp fast-action dried yeast

250g flour

50g caster sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp mixed spice

pinch of salt

1 tbsp dairy-free margarine

60ml dairy-free milk

125g marzipan or nut-free marzipan

1 tbsp melted dairy-free margarine

icing sugar to dust

  1. Soak the dried fruit and citrus peel in the apple juice for at least half an hour
  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and spices. Rub in the dairy-free margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the dairy-free milk and dried fruit and the juice they’re soaked in. Bring to a dough and then knead until smooth.
  3. Cover the bowl and leave double in size which will probably take an hour or two.
  4. Knock back and roll out to a rectangle. Roll the marzipan into a sausage and place in the middle of the rectangle of dough.
  5. Fold it up and then use the side of your hand to make an indentation down the length of the dough. Transfer to a lined baking sheet.
  6. Cover and leave to rise for at least half an hour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade
  8. Bake for about 40 minutes until risen and golden all over.
  9. Remove from the oven, brush with melted margarine and generously dust with icing sugar