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Festive treats to make you feel good

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is indulging in an array of Christmas treats. From sugar cookies to chocolate truffles, we’ve got you covered.

Decorated Sugar Cookies

There’s no better way to kick off the festive baking season than with a Christmas cookie classic.

Decorated cookies

You will need:

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg
3 cups plain flour
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
For the Icing:
¼ cup of water
1 tablespoon prepared royal icing mix

Preheat oven to 175°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together with a thick wooden spoon until smooth (for about 3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla and the egg.

Add in 2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until well combined. Then add the rest of the flour until the mixture becomes a stiff cookie dough. Turn your dough out onto a clean surface. Lightly wet your hands and knead the dough until it forms a soft ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough in half, then roll out about 1/4-inch thick onto a lightly floured surface. Cut using any cookie cutter shape you like and transfer immediately onto baking sheet.

Bake for 6-8 minutes or until just set. For crispier golden edged cookies, bake for up to 9 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet (they should be soft) for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the Icing:

Mix the water with the royal icing mix in a small bowl. Pour into a small piping bag with a round icing tip and outline the cookies with a design of your choice and allow to set.

Icing will completely set in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or about 2 hours at room temperature.

Santa Hat Brownies

These Santa Hat Brownies are a simple and festive rich desert the whole family will love.

You will need:

¾ cup flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
9 fresh strawberries
1/2 cup vanilla frosting

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking pan with parchment paper.

Combine flour, salt, and baking soda together in a small bowl and set aside and then in a large bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, and oil.

Whisk in water and vanilla extract until fully incorporated, followed by whisking in the dry ingredients.

Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in microwave on 30-second intervals until melted, stirring in between, about 60 seconds.

Whisk melted chocolate into the brownie batter until fully combined.

Mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.

Remove from oven and transfer to a baking rack to cool.

Cut into 9 brownies and pipe a circle of frosting on each one, top with a strawberry that has had the stem sliced off, then pipe a little dollop of frosting on the point of the strawberry to complete the hat.

White Chocolate Truffles

They’re not only delicious, but they’re the perfect last-minute gift too.

You will need:

1/2 cup, plus 9 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
1 bag, plus 3 cups, white chocolate chips, divided
2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
32 Biscoff cookies finely crushed (2 1/2 cups crumbs)

Heat 1/2 cup cream in a medium saucepan over low heat until bubbles form around edges (1 to 2 minutes) and then remove from heat. Add the bag of chocolate chips and let sit for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in cream cheese. Fold in cookie crumbs until combined. Transfer to a bowl and chill until firm, for a minimum of 2 hours.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll mixture into tablespoon-sized balls; transfer to baking sheet. Freeze until firm, 35 to 40 minutes.

Microwave remaining 9 tablespoons of cream and 3 cups of white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl on high 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Dip truffles in melted chocolate, tapping off excess, and place on a prepared baking sheet.

Mulled Wine

During the festive season, there’s nothing better than a spiced, warming glass of mulled wine.

Mulled Wine

You will need:

½ bottle red wine
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 cloves
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
50g brown sugar

Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan and simmer gently for 6-8 minutes, without boiling. Alternatively, place the ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on low until warm (1-2 hours, depending on your slow cooker).

To serve, pour the mulled wine into heatproof glasses

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