These cheese straw stars are a Christmas variation on a classic favourite. I like to make them with a bit of bite, but if you prefer a milder taste then either substitute the cayenne for paprika, or just leave it out.
- 200 g strong cheddar
- 50 g butter
- 100 g plain flour
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- ½ tsp baking powder
- really good pinch cayenne pepper (for a milder version substitute with paprika which gives them a lovely, subtle warmth)
- salt and black pepper
- 2 tbs soft cheese
Put everything except the soft cheese in a food processor and whizz up until you have fine breadcrumbs. Add the soft cheese and pulse until the mixture comes together into a dough.
Turn out the dough, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes in the fridge. You can bake them straight away, but they’ll spread more and lose their shape slightly if you do.
Stamping out the cheese stars
Once chilled, roll out the dough to 3-4mm thick. Stamp out as many star shapes as you can, re-rolling the dough each time. This is quite a dry dough, but don’t worry – it makes the finished stars quite flaky.
Bake at 180°C for about 8 minutes, depending on the size star cutter you have.
Finished cheese straw stars
Once baked, cool on a wire rack. These will keep in an airtight tin for about a week.
P. S At Halloween I make them using my feet cookie cutters and call them cheesy feet!
Posted by quirkycookiescakes on December 24, 2012
If you’re feeling festive but haven’t much time for baking these Christmas Tree Cupcakes are really quick to make and look impressive too.
- 2 large eggs
- weight of the eggs in caster sugar
- weight of the eggs in butter
- ¾ of the egg weight in self-raising flour
- ¼ of the egg weight in cocoa powder
- 12 brown cupcake cases (you can use any colour of course, but these give the cupcakes a nice “tree trunk” effect)
Alcoholic Syrup – optional
- 80 ml water
- 80 g caster sugar
- 40 ml liqueur of your choice
- 125 g butter
- 125 g icing sugar
- green food colouring
- silver balls / multi-colour dragées / mini smarties
- icing tube – red, yellow, whichever colour you like for the “tinsel”
- chocolate stars
Make the cupcakes by the all in one method. Simply add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix together until the mixture is light and drops off the spoon easily. Spoon into the cupcake cases. Bake for approximately 20 minutes at 160° C. They’re done when the centre of the cupcake springs up when you press it gently. Remove from the tins straight away and leave on a wire rack to cool.
At this stage (if the cupcakes are for adults) I like to add a syrup made with a liqueur such as Tia Maria or Cointreau. Gradually dissolve the sugar in the water, then boil for 1 minute. Leave to cool before adding the alcohol. If you have one, a medicine syringe makes it easier to control drizzling the syrup onto the top of the cupcakes. Start with small drops to avoid the liquid just dripping off the top of the cakes and onto the worktop.
Soaking the cupcakes
Make the buttercream icing by mixing the softened butter with the icing sugar. Like Nigella, I make mine in a food processor; it’s quicker and you don’t have to sift the icing sugar first.
Colour the buttercream icing to a nice bright Christmas tree colour. I like using gel colours for buttercream; they don’t alter the consistency of the icing as much as liquid food colourings and mix in better than the more solid paste colours.
Pipe the buttercream around the cupcake top gradually moving in towards the centre and raising the height of the buttercream. Finish by pulling the icing tube up directly above the centre to get the “top of the tree” effect.
Pipe a swirl of icing “tinsel” in a spiral around the buttercream tree. Sprinkle on silver balls / dragées / mini smarties for the baubles and lights and top the tree with a chocolate star.
Christmas Tree Cupcakes
If you’re looking for any more last minute baking ideas I’ll be on BBC Radio Derby on Christmas Eve between 10 and 11am. All the recipes will be posted on here over the next few days.
Posted by quirkycookiescakes on December 21, 2012