As the excitement builds and we all look forward to the celebrations with our family and friends, we thought you might like to spend those precious spare moments over the weekend making some sweet treats! Perfect as after-dinner tasties or gifts for loved ones, the recipes we have this week are from the gorgeous book, French Fancies.
As a festive treat we have chosen two recipes so there will be something to tickle everyone’s fancy this weekend. Firstly, we have a recipe for simple Meringue Snowflakes to get you into the festive spirit. Then there is a recipe for Brownie Pops, which can be decorated with a Christmas theme or enjoyed as New Year treats!
These pretty snowflakes are simply made from a basic meringue, but add a festive touch to any holiday celebration. Dress them up with a sprinkling of edible silver glitter or silver balls.
150 g/3 ⁄ 4 cup caster/superfine sugar
75 g/2 1 ⁄ 2 oz. egg whites (about 2 medium egg whites)
edible silver glitter
edible silver balls
a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle/tip
2 heavy baking sheets, lined with baking parchment
Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF) Gas 6.
Tip the sugar into a small roasting pan and place on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 5 minutes or until hot to the touch. When the sugar is ready, turn the oven temperature down to 110ºC (225ºF) Gas 1 ⁄ 4.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer until frothy. With the motor running on low speed, tip the hot sugar onto the egg whites in one go. Turn the speed up to medium–high and whisk for about 8 minutes or until the meringue is very stiff, white and cold.
Spoon the meringue mixture into the prepared piping bag. Pipe little blobs of meringue onto the prepared baking sheets in the shape of snowflakes. Scatter silver glitter or silver balls over the top.
Bake the meringues in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, until crisp and dry. Turn off the oven, leave the door closed and let the snowflakes cool down completely inside the oven.
Fun brownie pops are wonderful for children’s parties. These are decorated with festive sprinkles, but you can let your imagination run wild and make the most of the huge assortment of sprinkles available.
100 g/1 cup shelled walnuts or pecans (optional)
200 g/7 oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate, chopped
175 g/1 1 ⁄ 2 sticks butter, cubed
250 g/11 ⁄ 4 cups caster/granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125 g/1 cup plain/all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
75 g/1 ⁄ 2 cup milk chocolate chips
3–4 tablespoons apricot or raspberry jam/jelly
for the milk chocolate frosting
125 g/4 oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (a cocoa percentage of around 54–68% is best)
125 g/4 oz. milk chocolate, finely chopped
175 ml/2 ⁄ 3 cup double/heavy cream
1 tablespoon maple syrup or golden syrup/light corn syrup
125 g/1 stick butter, softened and cubed
assorted sugar sprinkles, stars and other edible festive decorations
a baking pan (20 x 30 cm/ 8 x 12 inches), greased and lined with greased baking parchment
a 5-cm/2-inch round cookie cutter
24 wooden lollipop/popsicle sticks
It is easiest to stamp out brownie shapes if the base is prepared and baked the day before you plan to decorate your brownies.
Preheat the oven to 170ºC (325ºF) Gas 3.
If you’re adding nuts to the brownies, tip them onto a baking sheet and lightly toast in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Roughly chop the nuts, then leave them to cool. Leave the oven on to bake the brownies.
Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until both are melted and the mixture is smooth. Leave to cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract with a balloon whisk until pale and thick. Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt into the bowl and fold in until well incorporated, then stir in the chocolate chips and toasted nuts (if using). Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan, spread level and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the brownies from the oven and leave to cool completely in the pan.
Remove the cold brownie from the pan. Using the cookie cutter, stamp out 24 rounds from the brownies and arrange on a board or tray.
Warm the jam in a small saucepan, sieve/strain it, then brush it all over the brownie rounds. Leave on a wire rack for 5–10 minutes to set.
To prepare the milk chocolate frosting, tip the chocolates into a small, heatproof bowl. Heat the cream and syrup in a small saucepan until only just boiling. Pour it over the chopped chocolates, add the butter and leave to melt. Stir until smooth, then leave to thicken slightly.
Using a palette knife, spread the frosting evenly all over the brownie rounds, then push a lollipop/popsicle stick into each pop. Lay them on a sheet of baking parchment and leave until the frosting is starting to set. Decorate with an assortment of sprinkles and festive decorations by making patterns on the faces of the pops and by scattering sprinkles generously over the edges.
French Fancies is available here.
Have a lovely weekend everyone and a fabulous Christmas!
For more sweet treats and delights in our current and forthcoming books, check these out :-