I'm really excited to share this recipe with you as I think it's a brilliant idea and I'm so pleased that it worked. I remember seeing some pinata type cookies on the blogosphere and I wondered if it would work with these Christmas Tree cookie cutters. I love making cupcakes with a hidden surprise so why not a cookie with a hidden surprise? I used the large cutter to cut out the trees and the small cutter to create a tree shaped hollow in the centre. I stacked the cookies with royal icing as a glue and filled the centre with mini M&M's that I bought from America. Everyone was so impressed with these cookies especially when they saw the inside. I can imagine that children will absolutely love these and they are not difficult to make. I baked and decorated 5 of these Christmas Trees in just over an hour. I'll definitely be making a lot more of these next week in the run up to Christmas.
The cookie cutters are really easy to use. I love that it comes in different sizes and they all fit into each other so storage is not a problem. They are easy to clean and there's no need to worry about rust as it's not metal.
You can follow my step by step guide below to re create these at home. You can make 4 or 5 layers to create a larger cavity which can be filled with larger treats. A few things that I learnt from this project - re cut the cookies after baking to create a neater profile. The first time I made these, the cookies expanded quite a lot and lost some of the 'tree shape'. As you are stacking the cookies one on top of the other, it helps to have the cookies the same size. However, you have to work quickly as the cookies will harden once cool. My tip is to bake 4 - 6 cookies at a time depending on how quick you are with the cutter. Another tip is to chill the cut dough for as long as possible before baking as this will prevent the cookies spreading too much. If you are short on time, just bake the cookies then re-cut with a cutter once it's out of the oven.
I mentioned in my last post that I have an exciting giveaway sponsored by Tala. They have very generously offered 1 lucky reader a baking set which consists of an icing bag set with 8 nozzles, cupcake cases, star cookie cutters and flower shaped chocolate mould. The prize is open to UK entrants only. All you have to do is to complete the rafflecopter widget below. The closing date is Friday 10th January 2014. Good luck!
I'm also sharing this post with several blog challenges this month
AlphaBakes which I am hosting this month and co host with Caroline from Caroline Makes. The letter this month is X for Xmas tree Gingerbread Cookies.
Made with Love Mondays hosted by Javelin Warrior where the idea is to make everything from scratch.
Tea Time Treats hosted by Kate from What Kate Baked and co-hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage. The theme this month is Festive Food Gifts and I think these would make a great festive gift especially in festive packaging.
Calendar Cakes hosted by Rachel from Dolly Bakes and co-hosted by Laura from Laura loves Cakes. The theme this month is Jingle Bell Rock. These definitely rock! :)
Treat Petite hosted by Stuart from Cakeyboi and co-hosted by Kat from the Baking Explorer. The theme this month is Happy Holidays.
Four Seasons Food hosted by Anneli from Delicieux and Louisa from Eat your Veg. The theme this month is Party Food.
Let's Cook Christmas Party Food hosted by Nayna from Simply Food.
I'm cheekily entering this to the Biscuit Barrel Challenge hosted by Laura from I'd Much Rather Bake Than... The theme this month is Quick and Easy and I honestly think these are quick and easy as I made 5 Christmas trees in just over an hour. It's really not as difficult as it looks. The longest time is probably the decorating but if you keep it simple then it really won't take long.
Family Foodies hosted by Louisa from Eat Your Veg and Vanesther from Bangers & Mash. The theme this month is Kids Christmas and I'm sure the kids will absolutely love this especially the hidden treat inside. It's also a simple project that they can help to make especially decorating the tree.
Secret Recipe Club Holiday Treats Party
This will make 2 Christmas trees. 1 top, 1 middle (with tree cut out) and 1 bottom. Plus you have 2 little trees to decorate and eat.
Side view - you can clearly see the stack of 3 cookies per tree. If you shake them gently, you can hear the treats inside!
This is what it looks like when you cut into the middle. This was my first batch where the cookie expanded quite a lot and I used a more 'rustic' decoration - spread frosting on top of cookie with a spatula and sprinkle with sugar balls.
update 19/12/13 - I decided to make some personalised cookies by spelling initials with icing and sprinkles. Kids particularly love this as it has their name on it (well their initial anyway) and that means that it's definitely theirs! I also got some really cute gift boxes to package them in. I found my set of star cookie cutters so might make some at the weekend and I'll share photos if I do.
For the gingerbread
110g dark brown sugar
1 egg yolk
310g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
6 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons mixed spice
100-130 mls golden syrup
For the royal icing
2 egg whites
400g icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 160C.
- Beat butter, sugar and egg yolk in a bowl until smooth.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients until its mixed properly.
- You may need to add a little more golden syrup if the mixture is crumbly.
- Place dough in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface and roll it out to approximately 5mm in thickness.
- Cut shapes using cookie cutters.
- Place on a baking tray and bake for approximately 7-9 minutes until they are brown.
- Follow steps shown above to create these xmas tree gingerbread with a hidden surprise.
- To make the royal icing, beat ingredients together until smooth and glossy - you may need a bit more sugar or a few drops of water depending on the consistency required.