Thursday, 17 December 2015

Bookmas Day 4 — Christmas Reading Recipes

On the fourth day of Bookmas, the book blogger gave to me, reading recipes, comic book thoughts, a list of writing tips and a book rec for a mystery

So it is that time of year again. People are singing carols, lights twinkle when you drive at night, the nice wrapping paper sells out in a flash, and if you're Australian like me, you spend a lot of time wishing you lived in the Northern Hemisphere and not in this steaming pot of Christmas-heat-hell. You guessed it, it's Christmas time once more! And so naturally, you're going to cozy up for some holiday reading (perhaps with my favourite Christmas YA book, My True Love Gave To Me? That's what I'll be doing). And we all know that reading is made a trillion times better with edible and drinkable goods. I am aware this is a book blog, but just for today, I'm going to flip into Lifestyle Blogger Lily Mode and you're going to see the full extent of my baking, domestic prowess.

I've gathered some recipes, some of my own and some from other places, for my favourite Christmas reading treats.

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate
This is one of my personal favourites. I've made it so many times, I have my own
recipe! This recipe makes two hot chocolates, which is good if you have a person you want to make one for as well. Or, if you're like me, if you just want two cups. To make this delicious cup of liquid heaven, you'll need:
  • three cups of milk
  • roughly 150-200 grams of light or dark chocolate, depending on how chocolatey you want your hot chocolate
  • a few candy canes (you must have a few unbroken/nibbled ones for the presentation!)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (or canned whipped cream, but we're fancy up in here so I would recommend making your own whipped cream)
  • vanilla essence/paste
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar/powdered sugar/confectioner's sugar
Firstly, you're going to want to chop up your chocolate a little so it melts quicker. Then, toss it in a saucepan and melt it down over medium heat, stirring continuously. When it gets all melty and delicious and you're tempted to grab a spoon and eat it (don't), pour in the milk and stir the mixture.

Whilst your hot chocolate mixture is melting together nicely, crush up some candy canes (amount of candy canes is dependent on how minty you want your hot chocolate... it's a bit trial and error) into fine pieces and tip it into the saucepan. Continually stir the mixture so that the chocolate and the candy canes can melt into the milk and ~infuse~. Keep doing so until the everything is nicely combined and smooth and looks like something you would want to bathe in.

Pour your delicious creation into some mugs, but not right to the brim! We've still got more work to do.

To make delicious, homemade whipped cream to top the hot chocolate, take your cream straight out of the fridge (tip! Don't let it get too warm. This works best with cold cream) and put a teaspoon of vanilla into it. Mix it in, and then get ready to throw your cream mixture in an electric mixer. Before you start mixing, put in the teaspoon of sugar and give it a quick stir.

When you mix your cream, you're looking for stiff peaks and trails left in the cream by the mixer. When the cream reaches your desired consistency, pull it out and put dollop on top of your hot chocolate.

Now, for the garnishes! Top the cream with some crushed candy cane, and/or chocolate powder. To finish it off, stick a candy cane over the edge of the mug. Then grab a book, sit, and enjoy the taste of Christmas you're about to consume!

Gingerbread Bauble Cookies
decorating ideas :) (not my image)
Now here is a Christmas classic if ever I saw one! Gingerbread is so delicious and warming and it tastes like all things Christmas. And I had this brilliant idea that creates not only a yummy treat, but also some A-grade decor. Bauble cookies!

Seeing as though I don't have my own personal recipe for gingerbread (hey I'm a writer not an actual chef!), it may be best to whip out your family recipe or find one like this from the internets. I'm going to use this one because it's a good amount, and it's from an Australian website so no conversion struggles #ThatAustralianBakingLife.

Once you have your gingerbread cookie dough, it's time to find some circular cookie cutters. Of course, if you already have bauble cookie cutters like so, then your life is ten times easier but ain't nobody got time to go out and buy new cookie cutters. You want cookies and you want them now, trust me, I get you. So instead, put a small portion of dough aside, and then roll the rest out and cut circles from it.
magical, time-saving cookie

When you have a tray (or several) of nicely shaped baubles, grab the dough you set aside and take little bits, rolling them into little sausages and connecting them to the top of the circle with a gap so that once they're baked, we can thread a ribbon through. Make sure the loop you create out of dough isn't too thick, or too thin, otherwise disaster will ensue. It needs to be thick enough to hold against gravity, but not so thick there's no gap. If you do have handy-dandy bauble cutters, grab a straw and create a hole in the little bit at the top. Easy peasy!

After you've baked your cookies, and LET THEM COOL!!!!, grab some icing materials, like fondant, sprinkles, writing icing, icing you can make from icing sugar and milk, and anything else you may have that could look great, go forth and decorate your baubles! Unleash your creativity. But make sure whatever you put on will dry, otherwise it may slide off. And that would suck.

Perhaps you could decorate your baubles with book references, or if you're super artistic, a nice pattern or artwork. the only limit is your creativity!

Let your cookies dry completely, and then grab some ribbon or string, depending on the look yo're going for, and thread it through the gap you created earlier on. Tie the string, and ta da! You have a wonderful, personalised, edible bauble to decorate your Christmas tree with. The best part is that if you're reading, you only have to walk to your tree to grab a snack!

Marshmallow Reindeer
Being the creative soul I am, I sometimes throw together different ideas that I see and come up with strangely cute (focus on the strange) concoctions. And here we have something that would make good little party favours, or even a small gift! But let's be real, who wouldn't want to nibble on these cuties whilst reading a good book? For these adorable, edible snacks, you will need:
  • marshmallows
  • dark chocolate chips
  • white chocolate chips (not as many as the dark ones however)
  • pretzels
Firstly, you're going to want to get a lined tray to put your marshmallows on. Sometimes it helps to refrigerate the tray prior to using it, but that's another thing that ain't nobody got time for. Grab your chocolate chips, and melt them down in separate bowls.

Take your pretzels and break them, making them into antler-like pieces. If they're not perfectly equal, don't stress! They don't need to be. Try to pair up the pieces according to similar shape, and then stick them in the top of your marshmallow, just like antlers!

Then, take a skewer or another tool (you may have more professional equipment than I) and dip it into the dark chocolate. Use the skewer or other tool to put a small glob at the base of the marshmallow, to create a snout. Above the snout, use the skewer with dark chocolate once again to create eyes.

Using the white chocolate and a clean skewer, create a little nose and mouth on the snout to complete your little reindeer! I even added a little red sprinkle on one's nose to make a Rudolf. I find these so cute and delicious, and I hope you do too!

So those are some recipes for you to make these holidays. If you do make them, please please please send me pictures to any of my social media accounts, or to my email, so that I can see your baking prowess!

As per usual, feel free to contact me at any time about book recs, my posts, business inquiries or just to say hi :)

I hope you enjoyed this post and I'll see you tomorrow with another Bookmas post!

Lily xo

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