CHRISTMAS JAMMY DODGER RECIPE

The Christmas season is well and truly upon us and that means lots of entertaining. Next time you've got friends or family popping over for a Christmas cuppa whip up a batch of these super simple, festive jammy dodgers...a little bite of sweetness that will sit perfectly on the side of your guest's cup of tea or coffee.
INGREDIENTS
makes 12
125g unsalted butter
110g caster sugar
225g plain flour

your favourite flavour jam
icing sugar to dust

METHOD
  1. Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla essence and beat for a further 2-3 minutes until combined.
  2. Sift the flour into the bowl and beat again until the mixture just comes together as soft dough. (If you don't have a dough hook this will take 10-15 minutes)
  3. Place the dough between two sheets of non-stick baking paper and roll out to around 3mm thickness. Place in the fridge for 1 hour or until firm.
  4. Preheat oven to 160C and line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. 
  5. Remove from the fridge and cut out 24 fluted square shapes. Cut your chosen smaller shapes out of half of the squares. Place onto the baking trays and bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.
  6. Leave on the tray to cool for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack. Dust the cut out squares with icing sugar, spread jam on the other squares and sandwich together.
If I do say so myself these taste even better than shop bought jammy dodgers hence why my main tip is to bake two batches, they won't last two minutes!

ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS PUDDING: CHOCOLATE FONDANT RECIPE

Every year my mum makes at least five Christmas puddings, one for us and one for all the orders from friends and family, and whilst I am assured by said friends and family that these puddings are utterly delicious...I have no doubt as my mum is an incredible baker...I am just not a fan of the traditional Christmas pudding.

Hence how the alternative Christmas pudding came about, created for myself and my brother to eat on Christmas Day (of course it is just a delicious year round as an decadent dessert). With its traditional Christmas pudding shape and truly indulgent nature the chocolate fondant seemed like the obvious choice and so it has become our little festive tradition.
INGREDIENTS
makes 4
165g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
165g unsalted butter
85g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
2 tbsp plain flour

METHOD
  1. Grease 4 individual pudding moulds with butter.
  2. Put the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of gently simmering water (ban marie). Remove from the heat and allow the chocolate, butter mixture to melt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together for 6-7 minutes until pale and mousse like.
  4. Fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs mix carefully using a metal spoon. 
  5. Sift the flour into the mixture and again, carefully fold in.
  6. Divide the chocolate mixture between the pudding moulds. Add a tablespoon at a time to each mould until all the mixture has been used up.
  7.  Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours until firm. When ready to cook, heat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Place the moulds on a baking tray and bake for 14 minutes, until risen but not cracked on top. 
  8. Turn the puddings out, they should slide straight out, and serve immediately.
The best thing about these puddings is that they can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time, saving you all important time on the big day. Just make sure to leave them in the fridge!

What's your favourite thing to eat on Christmas Day?

CHRISTMAS JUMPER EDIT



Oh how the Christmas jumper has come on in the last couple of years. It used to be a totally 'tacktastic' affair with 3D noses, light up trees and jingly bells. Now it's more, a smattering of sequins, cute ribbons and festive slogans. There's a Christmas jumper for even the most humbug of humbugs and whilst I think a novelty jumper is an essential for everyone at this time of year, I am very much enjoying this new age of the Christmas jumper.

My collection is currently at two but there's definitely room for a couple more, now to decide which!

Which jumper is your favourite?

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Oh, and don't forget Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children is Friday 16th December, make sure you wear yours!

SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT: KITCHEN, BEFORE & AFTER

The Butter Kitchen Before and After
The kitchen is the heart of the home, my favourite room in the house and the first room we completed. Which is exactly why it is the first room that I am sharing with you! We bought our first house in January of this year and have since been on a six month renovation journey to turn said house into our home. We are still a way off completion but the kitchen is finally...complete. I regularly post pictures of our progress and our purchases over on Instagram if you want to see more!

My biggest piece of advice when buying your first house would be to view any and every house that comes up within your chosen area (and backup areas) and within your budget. It wasn't until the tenth(ish) house and the loss of one house that we truly started to understand exactly what we liked in a house. For example I realised I much preferred properties with high ceilings, probably because my childhood home was a high ceiling Victorian villa, we weren't as bothered about the outside space as we originally thought and we definitely wanted an open plan kitchen, dining area.

Another thing to bear in mind, if the space you want isn't initially there; think about how it can be created. Floor plans became, and still are, my favourite things to look at. They give you a really clear view of the property layout and show which rooms could easily be knocked into one another to create the space you really want. This is exactly what we did...

BEFORE
The Butter Kitchen Before and After
The Butter Kitchen Before and After
Originally the kitchen was in, our now dining room and the now kitchen was a separate dining room altogether. We knew that we would never use a separate dining room and the kitchen itself was siphoned off at the back of the house, not the open plan entertaining space we were looking for!

DURING
The Butter Kitchen Before and After
The Butter Kitchen Before and After
Therefore we removed three walls, bricked up the back door, replacing with patio doors and turned the shower attached to the kitchen (is it just me that finds it really odd to have a shower attached to a kitchen?) into a utility room. This created the beautiful, large open space that we had been dreaming off.

AFTER
The Butter Kitchen Before and After
The Butter Kitchen Before and After
The Butter Kitchen Before and After

I am head over heels in love with our house and I am a little bit obsessed with our kitchen. I loved baking anyway but my obsession is now on another level, alongside my new found love of cooking...which doesn't always go to plan but hey it's the thought that counts!

We are currently awaiting the arrival of our dining table from the incredible Swoon Editions, if you haven't checked it out and are a homeware obsessive like me definitely take a look, and I now can't wait to get this area looking more complete also. My final tip if you do decide to take on a renovation job...baby steps. It took us awhile but we have finally realised that it is going to take time to get all of the decoration, curtains, furniture etc. in place and we cannot complete the entire house in a week.

This just means there is a little bit of excitement every month as new pieces arrive, carpets are laid or that print from Oliver Bonas is mounted on the wall. I now feel like a fully-fledged adult who is definitely in nesting mode...and I love every minute!

Where is your favourite place to shop for homeware pieces?

CHEESY TEAR 'N' SHARE BREAD RECIPE

Cheesy tear n share bread recipe
Christmas is 'a' coming and I for one am more than happy to start the festivities a little early. I eagerly await the John Lewis Christmas advert and Michael Buble's Christmas album is ready to take up permanent residence in the car...we may or may not have listened to it last week on our drive up to Northumberland for a little seaside break.

My love of Christmas is well known amongst my nearest and dearest and it is my favourite time of year to bake as you can get really creative. Hence why, over the next seven weeks I will be bringing you my signature Christmas bakes, starting with this savoury showstopper...cheesy, chilli tear 'n' share bread in the shape of a Christmas* wreath. It is the perfect centre piece for your festive parties.

*Christmas, Christmas, Christmas...could I have said Christmas anymore in two paragraphs?
Cheesy tear n share bread recipe
INGREDIENTS
500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
1 packet or 1 1/2 tsp dried fast-action yeast
150g finely chopped fresh chillis
350ml lukewarm water
100g cheddar
75g finely grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp mixed herbs
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
50g melted butter
Sundried tomatoes to decorate

METHOD
  1. Put the flour, sugar, salt, yeast and chopped chillies into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the 350ml of water. Mix together slowly until you have a slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto a lightly dusted surface and knead for around 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. 
  2. Drizzle a little olive oil into the mixing bowl then place the dough back in the bowl, cover with cling film and place in a warm place to prove for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  3. Whilst the dough is proving, cut the cheddar into small cubes, about 1 cm in size. In a shallow dish mix the parmesan, herbs and rosemary together whilst in another shallow dish pour the melted butter.
  4. Grease and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Knock the proved dough and gently knead again until smooth and elastic. Divide into 25 even pieces.
  5. Working with one piece at a time, knead a little, place a cube of cheese in the centre and seal pinching the dough together with your fingers. Roll into a ball.
  6. Put a small ramekin dish in the centre of the baking sheet. Roll the dough balls in the butter and then in the parmesan mixture. Place the balls around the ramekin with a small gap between each ball and the dish to allow room during the second prove. Make a second circle around the first, again leaving a little space. 
  7. Cover loosely with lightly oiled cling film and leave for a second prove in a warm place for around 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  8. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Bake the wreath for 40-50 minutes, covering loosely with foil after 20/25 minutes to stop the cheese on the outside browning too much. 
  9. Leave to cool slightly for a few minutes, decorate with sundried tomatoes, fresh rosemary sprigs and serve warm. If serving later, leave to cool and then warm through just before serving. 
Cheesy tear n share bread recipe
Cheesy tear n share bread recipe
Serve with your chosen dip in the middle or, my personal favourite is alongside a freshly roasted ham, what could be more festive than that?

I hope you will give this bake a go! Please do share your photos with me on Instagram and Twitter

SMORES DIP RECIPE

If my sticky gingerbread cake recipe seemed a little daunting than this bonfire treat is perfect for you! It is incredibly easy to make, super indulgent and was, quite literally made to be eaten on bonfire night...or on a camping trip.

Melted chocolate, gooey marshmallows and a cracker or two make this delicious smores dip ideal for those who don't want to leave the warmth of their own home this Bonfire Night...or simply want to warm up after an evening watching the sky!
INGREDIENTS
150g chocolate chips
A bag of large marshmallows
Food of your choice to dip

METHOD
  1. Heat the oven to 200C. Pour the chocolate chips into an oven proof dish. Place the marshmallows on top of the chocolate chips in concentric circles.
  2. Place in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes until the marshmallows have turned a golden brown colour on top.
Eat immediately whilst the mixture is melted and gooey. As you can tell my favourite way to eat this smores dip is with a spoon...although a dipped digestive tastes pretty incredible as well...

What would you dip in your Smores dip?

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