It's officially December, so it’s time to start getting in the mood for the holiday season and figure how to have a jolly good time at home. There's stacks of Christmas films being released on Netflix, we're now a few days into our advent calendar and it's time to crack out the Christmas pyjamas. It also means there's no holding back on the Christmas treats - even more so if they're homemade! We've pulled together our favourite festive recipes that will see you through the season with very little fuss:
1. MINCE PIES
Nothing says the holidays like mince pies! Whether you enjoy them hot with custard, cold with a cup of hot cocoa or just leave them out for Santa, nothing beats a homemade one (and we're sure Father Christmas agrees).
Check out Paul Hollywood's ultimate Mince Pie recipe below:
• 250g softened butter
• 375 plain flour
• 125g caster sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
• 1 medium free-range egg
• 2 jars mincemeat
• 2 tangerines, zest grated and flesh chopped
• 1 finely diced apple
Step 1) Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6.
Step 2) Rub the flour, butter, sugar and egg together with a splash of cold water to create a dough. Wrap the pastry in cling film and set aside to chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
Step 3) For the filling, hand mix the mincemeat, tangerine zest, peeled and chopped fruit in a bowl.
Step 4) Roll out the pastry to a 3mm thickness and with a round pastry cutter, cut out 6 x 9cm discs of pastry. Press the pastry into the muffin cups and fill each one with a good helping of the mincemeat mixture.
Step 5) With a fluted pastry cutter, cut out 6 x 8cm in pastry circles for the lids (slightly bigger than the top of the muffin cups). Place a lid on top of each pie, gently push down and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Chapter tip: Try to create festive patterns with your caster sugar to make your treats feel more Christmassy.
Step 6) Bake for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with fresh cream.
2. CHRISTMAS FUDGE
It's time to treat yo'elf! Sure you can have fudge all year round, but there's something special about making it at home for Christmas. Whether it's to share with your flatmates or send home to Grandma, it makes for the perfect afternoon of getting into the Christmas spirit.
Check out Delish's ultimate Christmas Fudge recipe below:
2 hours, 20 minutes
• Cooking spray
• 480g chocolate chips
• 400g can sweetened condensed milk
• 2 tbsp double cream
• 4 tbsp butter
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• ¼ tsp salt
• 3 tbsp Christmas sprinkles
Step 1) Line a 20cm square baking tin with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray.
Step 2) In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, melt your chocolate, condensed milk, butter, cream, vanilla, and salt together and stir until smooth.
Chapter tip: Add some of your favourite extras here to personalise your fudge – try nuts, cherries or salted caramel.
Step 3) Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan and top with sprinkles.
Chapter tip: Try to create festive patterns with your sprinkles to make your treats feel more Christmassy.
Step 4) Refrigerate until set (approx. 2 hours) then cut into squares to serve.
The OG Christmas treat! The holidays wouldn't be complete without the sweet taste of gingerbread. Bake a batch of festive biscuits to give as gifts, hang on the tree or devour straight away and you'll be everyone's favourite person (don't forget the gumdrop buttons).
Check out Good Housekeeping's ultimate Gingerbread recipe below:
• 75g butter
• 3 ½ tbsp golden syrup
• 60g light soft brown sugar
• 175g plain flour
• ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 2 tsp ground ginger
Step 1) Add butter, golden syrup and light brown sugar to a pan. Stir on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Step 2) Add flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger to a mixing bowl then stir together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the sugar and butter mixture.
Step 3) Stir everything together to form a dough (it might be easiest to use your hands). Then wrap in clingfilm and let chill for 30 minutes to firm up.
Step 4) Once chilled, lay the dough between two sheets of baking parchment. Press the dough lightly with a rolling pin, give a quarter turn, then repeat.
Step 5) Give it a final quarter turn, then start to roll backwards and forwards, giving regular quarter turns, until the dough is roughly thickness of a £1 coin.
Step 6) Using a biscuit cutter, cut out the shapes.
Chapter tip: Why not treat yourself to some festive shaped cutters to really get into the Christmas spirit.
Step 7) Bake at 190°C/Gas mark 5 for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden brown. The biscuits won't be firm but will harden when left to cool outside the oven.
4. ROAST CHESTNUTS
We've got a tree-mendous treat for you! No doubt you've seen (or more likely smelt) some of the gorgeous chestnuts roasting on London street corners - it's a classic. Now you can make them for yourself at home and fill your room with the official smell of Christmas.
Check out She Loves Biscotti's ultimate Roast Chestnuts recipe below:
• Chestnuts (as many as you fancy)
Step 1) Preheat oven to 425°C/Gas mark 7 – a very hot oven is key for the chestnut to separate from its woodsy skin. Make sure the oven rack is placed in the middle.
Step 2) Lay the chestnut flat on your cutting board and with a serrated knife, make a lengthwise slit down the entire middle surface, on the long side. Make sure you hold down the chestnut firmly on the cutting board (be careful not to cut yourself as the outer shell is very slippery).
Step 3) Boil the chestnuts – place the chestnuts in a pot of cold water, then as soon as the water begins to boil, remove the chestnuts with a slotted spoon and place on a shallow baking pan. This quick boil will create the perfect environment for steam to be created once they hit the hot oven.
Step 4) Place the chestnuts with the flat side down, the cut side up in a single layer in your baking pan. Roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. This time can vary based on the size of your chestnuts and you will notice that the shell splits open as they roast.
Step 5) Once you have obtained perfectly oven roasted chestnuts, remove from the oven and wrap them in a clean tea towel. Allow the wrapped chestnuts to sit in the towel for about 10-15 minutes.
5. MULLED WINE
It’s the most wine-derful time of the year! Is it even Christmas until you've had a mulled wine? With a lot of Christmas markets on the back burner this year, we figured we'd try and make the tasty treat at home - we're feeling warm and fuzzy already.
Check out BBC Good Food's ultimate Mulled Wine recipe below:
• 750ml bottle red wine
• 1 large cinnamon stick or 2 small ones
• 2 star anise spices
• 4 cloves
• 4 tbsp caster sugar
• 2 strips lemon zest, pared using a vegetable peeler
Step 1) Put the red wine, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lemon zest and sugar in a large pan. Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.
Step 2) Remove from the heat and cool, leaving to infuse for about 30 minutes.
Step 3) To serve, heat without boiling and pour into mugs or heatproof glasses.
Chapter tip: For a special seasonal addition, try stirring in 100ml of your favourite spirit when warming your mulled wine.
If you've ticked off all of the above or don't fancy cooking at home, check out our blog of our favourite London takeaways to order to your Chapter room.