Sugar Cookie Decorating Kit

This sugar cookie decorating kit is the perfect gift for anyone on your list. Give the gift of cozy Christmas cheer!

Sugar Cookie Decorating Kit with Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Um how is Christmas already just a week away!! Time is flying! I thought I would share a fun, last minute gift today. If you area already making cookies why not package a few undecorated ones up to share. I love the idea of a sugar cookie decorating kit. Its such a fun way to gift cookies to friends and family. Let them have the fun of decorating the cookies any way they please! This would be a great afternoon activity for kids or its a fun activity to do while watching your favourite Christmas movie. Its perfect to get into the festive spirit.

To Make the Kit

I used a wire basket lined with a Christmas tea towel as the base of my kit. In the kit, for the cookie decorating I included: some fresh baked cookies, royal icing in a squeeze bottle, and some fun festive sprinkles. Of course I had to include some fun extras too. Homemade hot chocolate mix (recipe below), a holiday mug and a cute spoon round out my cookie decorating kit. I cellophane the entire kit and added a cookie cutter - just incase they want to make more cookies themselves! You could also include some homemade marshmallows, a fun ornament, pipping bags and tips, a fun spatula… the possibilities are endless!

Sugar Cookie Decorating Kit with Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Ingredients

1 c cocoa powder

1 c powdered sugar

1/2 c mini chocolate chips

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, powdered sugar and mini chocolate chips. Use a funnel to transfer mix into a small mason jar.

For One Hot Chocolate: Heat one cup of milk with 1 tbsp of pre-made hot chocolate mix. Stir until all of the mix has dissolved.

Sugar Cookie Decorating Kit with Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Sugar Cookie Decorating Kit with Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Candy Cane Bark Cake

This candy cane bark cake is a show stopper!
Perfect for any Christmas get together!

White Chocolate Candy Cane Bark Chocolate Layered Cake

One of my favourite Christmas treats is Candy Cane Bark. It is quick and simple to make and oh so delicious! When trying to decide what kind of layered cake I was going to make for the holidays I had a vision of a Candy Cane Bark on top of a cake. I knew it would make for a stunning cake! I also seem to have a thing for 2 in 1 desserts - so this seems fitting. Ha.

The cake itself is a chocolate cake and let me tell you - its really really good. Super chocolate-y and incredibly moist! You’ll love it! I am already dreaming up other frostings and fillings to complement this cake. The frosting is a delicious white chocolate buttercream. It’s smooth and creamy with a hint of white chocolate flavour. You will be eating it by the spoon full!

Assembling this cake can be a bit tricky. The moist chocolate cake paired with a light coloured frosting can lead to lots of crumbs if you aren’t careful. I would recommend making sure your cake is well chilled - I like to freeze mine before frosting. A crumb coat will also help to keep those pesky crumbs at bay.

White Chocolate Candy Cane Bark Chocolate Layered Cake

Candy Cane Bark Layered Cake

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cake
1c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 c hot coffee
2 ½ c all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking power
2 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
½ c milk
½ c sour cream

For the Frosting
1 c butter, at room temperature
3 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c white chocolate chips, melted

For the Candy Cane Bark
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
1/2 c crushed candy canes

To Assemble:
1/2 c crushed candy canes
3/4 c red candy melts
2 tbsp whipping cream

White Chocolate Candy Cane Bark Cake

Directions

For the Cake: Pre-heat oven to 350F. Grease three 8 inch round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together coffee & cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, over medium to high speed, whisk together oil, eggs, vanilla, milk and sour cream. Whisk until combined. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Slowly whisk in flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix.

Bake for 35-40 minute or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and white chocolate until combined.

For the Candy Cane Bark: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together white chocolate chips and crushed candy canes. Pour and spread chocolate mixture onto parchment paper. Chill into firm and break into pieces.

To Assemble: Place one layer of cake on your cake board or serving dish. Top with frosting and crushed candy canes. Top with next layer of cake and repeat. Place the last layer of cake on top and crumb coat. Let cake set up in fridge for 15-30 minutes. Frost cake with remaining frosting. Place crush candy canes along bottom edge of cake and chill cake.

In a heat proof bowl, in 20 second intervals, melt together candy melts and whipping cream. You can either pour over the top of the cake and let the excess drip over the sides, or using a spoon drip chocolate over the sides first then fill in the middle.

Top cake with Candy Cane Bark.

White Chocolate Candy Cane Bark Chocolate Layered Cake

Mini Dark Chocolate & Cherry Panettone

These mini panettone are filled with delicious dark chocolate and sweet cherries. They are sure to delight on Christmas morning!

Mini Dark Chocolate & Cherry Panettone

Let the Christmas baking begin! I am so excited to share with you all of the delicious Christmas treats I have been making, testing and tasting over these past few weeks! I thought I would start off with my Mini Dark Chocolate and Cherry Panettone. It has become a bit of a tradition of mine to bake a panettone each Christmas. It started with these mini ones and then last year I made a more traditional large loaf. I decided to go back to the mini ones again this year. There is just something about mini desserts that is so fun. They are easily shareable and hard to resist!

I love that these aren’t overly sweet. The slight bitterness of the dark chocolate pairs really well with the sweetness of the dried cherries. Its a delicious combination. I love the tender, flakiness of the panettone dough. I have been enjoying these for breakfast with a cup of tea! yum!

What Exactly is Panettone?

Well I am glad you asked! It is a traditional Italian sweet bread that is typically prepared around Christmas. It is usually a large loaf with a round base and a muffin like top. The dough is made using lots of butter and eggs which gives the Panettone a tender flakey texture. It usually has candied citrus and/or dried fruits throughout.

Making the Dough

Making a yeast dough can always be a little nerve racking but it is totally worth it! This dough comes together quickly and doesn’t require a lot of kneading. Just make sure you start the process early on in the day as it requires two 90 minute rise times before heading to the oven.

The only other thing to be cautious of when making these panettone is not over heating the milk and butter. Just heat until all the butter has melted and the milk is warmed. You don’t want it to get too hot! If you add super hot milk to the flour and yeast mixture you could kill the yeast and your dough won’t rise as it should. It will also melt the chocolate chips which you don’t want either!

Mini Dark Chocolate & Cherry Panettone

Mini Dark Chocolate & Cherry Panettoni

Makes: 12 mini panettoni
Time: 30 minutes active time, 90 minute rise time x2

Ingredients:

2 packages instant yeast

4 c all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 c warm milk

1/4 c warm water

1/4 c butter

1/2 c sugar

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c dark chocolate chunks

1 c dried cherries

1 egg

2 tbsp milk

Directions:

Grease a large bowl with butter, set aside

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together flour, yeast and salt on low speed for 5 minutes. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine milk, water, butter and sugar. Heat until all the butter is melted and mixture is warm, do not over heat. If the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast. The milk should be warm to the touch, if it feels too hot wait for it too cool down slightly before adding it to the flour mixture.

On low speed, slowly pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Add in eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Stir in dark chocolate and dried cherries. until just combined. The dough should be sticky to the touch Transfer dough to prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise in a warm, draft free area until doubled in size (approx 90 mins)

Line cupcake pan with parchment paper cupcake liners. Once dough is doubled in size, punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 12 even pieces. Roll into balls and place in cupcake liners. Cover with clean tea towel and let rise until doubled in size (aprox 90 mins).

Beat together remaining egg and 2 table spoons of milk to create egg wash. Brush on tops of each mini panettone. Bake at 350F for 11-15 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

 
Mini Dark Chocolate & Cherry Panettone