Retro Christmas Treats
As a child there are some key things I remember from our family Christmas’ (and some that can stay back in the 70s and 80s!). I remember finishing school and racing into the kitchen to make sweets, biscuits and cakes to give to friends (okay we ate most of them) packaging them up into cellophane bags and proudly giving them away. So I thought it would be fun to reincarnate some of the retro sweet, biscuit and cake classics for you to try, why not make a selection and box them up for gifts. Share with us your retro childhood favourites over on social and let’s get cooking.
Candy Cane Biscuits
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 10 mins
Makes 24 biscuits
Use your imagination to decorate these festive bikkies as you please, then wrap up for someone you love.
- 272g plain flour
- 50g icing sugar mixture
200g butter, chopped
1 tsp vanilla essence
170g icing sugar
1 egg white, lightly whisked
Red food colouring
Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Place flour and icing sugar mixture in a food processor. Add butter. Process in short bursts until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Add vanilla essence and 2 tablespoons of cold water. Process, in short bursts, until mixture just comes together. Turn dough onto a piece of baking paper. Divide dough in half. Roll each portion out between 2 pieces of baking paper until 7mm thick.
Using a 7cm to 8cm long candy cane-shaped cutter, cut out shapes. Place shapes on prepared trays. Roll together remaining dough and repeat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C.
Bake biscuits for 10 minutes, swapping trays over halfway through cooking. Allow to cool on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Sift pure icing sugar into a bowl. Add egg white. Stir until smooth. Add 2 to 3 drops of red food colouring. Stir until icing is pink. Spoon icing into a snap-lock bag. Snip off one corner. Pipe icing over cookies. Set aside for 20 minutes to set. Place cookies in cellophane bags. Secure with ribbon.
Classic old-fashioned gingerbread cookies
Prep: 1 hour 35 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Source: The Stay at Home Chef
- 6 tablespoons salted butter softened
- 55g brown sugar tightly packed
- 113g dark molasses
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 220g all-purpose flour
Christmas Florentine bars
Prep: 20 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
- 75g cornflakes
- 160g currants
- 160g sultanas
- 34g cup plain flour
- 80g pistachio kernels, chopped
- 100g mixed glace cherries, chopped
- 395g can sweetened condensed milk
- 70g dark chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Lightly grease a 3cm-deep, 16cm x 26cm (base) slice pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at long ends.
Place cornflakes in a snap-lock bag. Seal. Using hands, lightly crush. Transfer to a bowl.
Add currants, sultanas, flour, pistachios, cherries and condensed milk. Stir to combine. Spoon into prepared pan. Using the back of a spoon, press mixture into pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until dark golden and firm. Cool completely in pan.
Cut into squares. Transfer to a wire rack over a baking tray. Spoon chocolate into a small snap-lock bag. Snip off 1 corner. Pipe chocolate in a zigzag pattern across squares. Set aside to set.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins, Cool in refrigerator
A perfect treat to make with the kids in the kitchen – tasty treats to give away (or eat yourselves!)
- 250g butter, chopped250g dark chocolate, chopped3 eggs200g brown sugar96g plain flour, sifted34g self-raising flour, sifted125g frozen raspberries85g white chocolate bits
Icing sugar, to serve
Preheat oven to 170°C. Lightly grease a 4cm-deep, 27cm x 17cm (base) slice pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends.
Place butter and dark chocolate in a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium-high (75%) for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute with a metal spoon, or until smooth and melted. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add chocolate mixture. Beat to combine. Fold in flours.
Pour half the mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with raspberries and white chocolate bits. Pour over remaining mixture. Bake for 35 minutes or until just firm to touch. Allow to cool completely in pan. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.
Lift brownie from pan. Cut into squares. Dust with icing sugar. Store in airtight container
Prep time: 3 hrs 25 min
Makes 72 squares
Bright and tasty, these old favourites are melt in the mouth favourites.
- 260g icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
665g desiccated coconut
2 x 390g cans sweetened condensed milk
Pink food colouring
1 tsp vanilla essence
Grease two 18cm (base) square cake pans. Line bases and sides with baking paper, extending paper 2cm above edges of pans.
Sift icing sugar and baking powder into a large bowl. Add coconut and condensed milk. Mix well to combine. Remove half the mixture to a separate bowl.
Tint 1 portion pink with food colouring. Add vanilla to remaining portion. Mix both portions well to combine using your hands as the mixture can be quite firm.
Divide vanilla mixture evenly between the 2 cake pans. Press firmly into pans. Top evenly with pink mixture, pressing firmly. Cover with cling film. Refrigerate for 3 hours, or until set.
Remove coconut ice from pans. Cut into 3cm squares to serve. Store in an airtight container.
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 2- 5 mins
Simple, creamy, peppermint treats you can make with just a handful of ingredients. They make a tasty homemade gift for anyone with a sweet tooth
Source: BBC Good Food
- 250g icing sugar
- 1 egg white
- few drops of peppermint essence
- dark chocolate (optional)
Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl. Add a little of the egg white and a few drops of the peppermint essence and mix really well. You want the mixture to come together as a soft dough, so keep adding a little egg white until this starts to happen (you might not need to use all of it). Taste the mixture and add more peppermint essence if desired.
Divide the mixture into 20 small balls, then flatten them gently with your fingertips into discs.
Place baking parchment on a large board or tray and space out the discs. Meanwhile, tip the chocolate into a microwavable bowl and heat in 30 second intervals in the microwave until melted, stirring after each blast. Once melted, leave the chocolate to cool for 5-10 mins then carefully dip the peppermint creams in the melted chocolate until they are half coated. Lay them back on the baking parchment to set for 3-4 hours or overnight.