Recipe round up: 10 Christmas desserts and snacks

Christmas dessert ideas


Just five more sleeps until Christmas Day foodies! Are you excited? For this, my last post of the year I have rounded up ten of my favourite Christmas desserts and snacks for you to make and enjoy these holidays. There is even something for the kiddies and some no-bake options if you aren’t in the mood to fire up your oven.

I will be taking a short break to spend some time with the fam but will be back in January with some brand new recipes… ooh, it’s going to be good! In the meantime I wish you a very happy and peaceful festive season and thank you for reading this year! Eat good food, have fun and stay safe! x

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Dark chocolate and amaretti semifreddo

 Dark chocolate semifreddo with amaretti biscuits.
The unusual holiday heatwaves seem to be well and truly behind us here in Cape Town, and all of a sudden the dark, chilly mornings and early sunsets are more obvious and a reminder of the cold (and hopefully very rainy) months ahead. As I sit here I am wearing two jerseys and clutching a hot cup of tea and I had second thoughts about posting this recipe given the shift in seasons and the fact that this is a frozen dessert. Then I laughed at this silliness because frankly any time of the year is appropriate for a chocolate dessert, frozen or not. Who’s with me?

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Thin crust spelt flour pizza

Spelt flour pizza base.
It’s a new month and time to get back to normal after all of the school and public holidays which have had many of us wandering around much of the time scratching our heads and trying to work out what day it is! (Or maybe that was just me?) Last week I took a little break and the family headed to beautiful Knysna for a couple of wonderfully chilled days. Well, as chilled as you can be with two small children running about. We had a brilliant time and I so enjoyed being out of the normal routine, free from the usual daily chores and away from my laptop screen! Just what the doctor ordered. 

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Lemon Easter Cookies

Today’s post is a bit of holiday fun for the kiddies, and given world events over the past two weeks and particularly here in S.A. I think us adults could do with a bit of fun too! In all seriousness though, this is an exceptionally tasty cookie, with or without all the icing and trimmings, and you should definitely give this recipe a try these Easter holidays! 

Lemon sugar cookies that hold their shape.

Cookie decorating for kids.

My children had such fun cutting out and decorating these Easter cookies (as did I!). We used an oval cutter to make Easter egg shapes as well as a bunny cutter, but you could use circles or whatever shapes you have on hand. This dough holds its shape well during baking, just be sure not to skip the step where you chill it in the fridge.

Sugar cookies for kids.

When it comes to decorating the cookies the options are really quite endless. You can keep things super simple by serving the cookies just as they are or with a dusting of icing sugar, or go all out with icing, sprinkles and speckled eggs. You can see from my photos which option my little ones preferred! Here are a few ideas:
  • Dust the cookies with icing sugar just before serving.
  • Pipe royal icing around the edges and fill the middle with glacé icing.
  • Spoon a “puddle” of glacé icing into the middle of the cookie and top with speckled eggs.
  • Add 100’s and 1000’s, chocolate vermicelli or rainbow funfetti to the cookies while the icing is wet so that the sprinkles stick.
  • Flavour the glacé icing with lemon juice before drizzling over the cookies. 
  • Sandwich the cookies together with buttercream icing. There is a great recipe HERE

Bunny and Easter cookies.

Cook’s notes – keep an eye on the cookies when they are in the oven and adjust the baking time if necessary (i.e. small cookies will bake more quickly than very large ones). If you don’t have a piping bag for the royal icing simply use a small plastic sandwich bag with the corner snipped off.



Makes 28 (depending on cutter size)

Easter egg and bunny cookies for kids.

100g butter
100g castor sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
200g cake flour
½ tsp baking powder
cookie cutters 

To make royal icing:
1 large egg white, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar 
gel food colouring

To make glacé icing:
1 cup icing sugar
gel food colouring

To decorate:
assorted sprinkles, speckled eggs, chocolate chips, etc. 

Step 1.) Cream the butter and castor sugar together until combined and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract and lemon zest and mix in.

Step 2.) Add the flour and baking powder and mix. Use your hands to bring everything together into a dough. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Step 3.) Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 3-4mm on a lightly floured surface. Cut out your shapes and arrange them on the tray. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until golden around the edges. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Step 4.) To make royal icing: whisk the egg white for a few seconds until foamy. Sift in half of the icing sugar and use an electric beater to mix until combined. Sift in the remaining icing sugar. Beat the mixture for 3-4 minutes until thick and glossy. Add a drop of two of gel food colouring, mix and spoon into a piping bag.

Step 5.) To make glacé icing: sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add a small amount of water and mix. Continue to add a little bit of water at a time until you have a thick icing. It should be runny enough to spread but thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add a drop or two of gel food colouring and mix well.

Step 6.) Once the biscuits are completely cool decorate with the icings and sprinkles. Allow to dry before serving. 


Chocolate dipped figs with orange and almond

Dried figs stuffed with almonds and dipped in dark chocolate
Welcome to the start of the weekend, whoop whoop! Another busy week is coming to an end and our theme for the week has been contending with back to school germs, argh! Because nothing says back to school like a sink full of empty lunch boxes, an inbox crammed with school reminders and snotty noses. True story.

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Chocolate and kahlua mousse cups

Chocolate mousse with kahlua.
Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is just a few days away and what better excuse to indulge with something decadent and chocolatey. Not that I need a good reason… holiday or no holiday you do not have to ask me twice when it comes to anything chocolate related! Yes, I have been on somewhat of a chocolate mission recently and as a result this has inadvertently become the theme for the rest of February on the blog. I am sure you don’t mind.

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Mince pie tart with Christmas custard

Mince pie with puff pastry and topped with stars.
Just a few days to go until Christmas (four sleeps to be precise), are you ready? We are looking forward to a family Christmas at home this year and will be celebrating with a relaxed festive lunch next to the pool – cannot wait!

Fruit mince tart with puff pastry and Christmas custard.
One of the nicest things about this time of the year is that we get to eat mince pies! In fact, just this morning my daughter and I baked up a batch of star topped mince pies to enjoy over the Christmas week, and we will no doubt also be leaving a few next to the tree on Saturday evening.
Mince pie tart slice with stars and custard. Green Christmas leaves dusted with icing sugar.
This mince pie tart is the larger version of our favourite mini mince pies and is ideal for any Christmas get together – as a dessert at lunch or dinner or even with afternoon tea. Take it to the next level with this lavish Christmas custard which is delicately flavoured with spices and orange zest.
This is my last post for the year, thank you so much for reading and following my kitchen tales in 2016! There is lots more to come next year, but in the meantime here’s wishing you a glittery and treat filled Christmas. x
Mince pie tart slices for Christmas.


For the tart:

  • 2 small apples (about 200g)
  • 1 x 454g jar fruit mincemeat
  • 2 tbsp mixed citrus peel
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • flour for dusting
  • 400g ready made puff pastry
  • star shaped cookie cutters
  • milk for brushing
  • icing sugar for dusting (optional)

For the custard:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 350ml milk
  • 4 whole cloves
  • ½ tsp vanilla paste
  • 1½ tsp finely grated orange rind
1.) Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a 20cm tart tin. 

2.) Peel and grate the apples. Squeeze out any excess liquid and place in a mixing bowl. Add the fruit mincemeat, citrus peel and brandy. Mix well.

3.) Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Line the tart tin with puff pastry. Cut the excess pastry away from the rim. Press the scraps into a ball and roll out again. Cut out star shapes of various sizes.

4.) Tip the fruit mince mixture into the tart tin. Arrange the stars on top of the tart and brush lightly with some milk.

5.) Bake the tart for 35 minutes, or until the pastry has risen and is golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

6.) To make the custard: Whisk the egg yolks and castor sugar together until pale and creamy. Whisk in the flour and cinnamon. Place the milk and cloves in a saucepan over a medium heat and heat just until boiling point. Remove from the heat and carefully add half of the milk to the egg mixture while whisking continuously. Then add the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk and heat slowly while whisking. Add the vanilla paste. Continue to stir for a few minutes until the custard is quite thick. Remove the cloves and stir in the orange rind. Transfer to a warm jug.