I promise you I have not gone crazy, I understand that it is nearly the end of January but I still wanted to share this blog post so I hope you enjoy!
It came as a huge shock to me that Freya wanted to take part in her school’s Christmas Bake Off competition. It’s very rare that she would push herself to do more than what is required. At first I brushed off the idea, thinking it would be too much work for her to organise and bake something to take in. But then I thought what the heck, my role is to encourage her and support her.
Together we researched some recipes that she would find easy to follow. Freya wanted to make mince pie cookies but we have had many opportunities to try and perfect that recipe and they always go wrong, she loves them but they certainly aren’t “out of the house” ready.
In the end we went for Christmas Tree Mince Pie Brownies. I wanted to share the recipe here with you because they were the most delicious Christmas treat I’ve ever tasted and would make a wonderful gift too if popped in little sealed bags. It was a mixture of two different recipes that we used, the brownie recipe and the decorating recipe.
For the Brownies:
- 185 g unsalted butter, cubed
- 185 g high-quality dark chocolate,chopped
- 85 g plain flour
- 40 g cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs
- 275 g golden caster sugar
- 6 mince pies
- 1 tub white vanilla icing (or make up your own white icing with icing sugar)
- green food colouring
- small round sprinkles
- small star sprinkles
- candy canes (we actually ended up forgetting to add these in)
- Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl, either in a microwave for 20-second blasts, or by setting the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stirring. Once melted, leave the mixture to cool.
- Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line the base of a shallow 20cm square tin with non-stick baking parchment.
- Sieve the flour and cocoa into a medium bowl. Separately whisk the eggs and sugar together until thick and creamy.
- Pour in the cooled chocolate mixture into the sugary egg mix, then fold together. Be gentle so you don’t knock out the air.
- Sift in the cocoa and flour mixture, stir gently together. Try not to over mix.
- Gently crush the mince pies, try not to make the pieces too tiny. You’ll want them more chunky.
- Spoon a little mixture into the prepared tin, then spread out the mince pies. Scrape over the rest of the mixture, gently easing it between and over the mince pies. Level the top. Put in the oven for 25 mins. If the brownie mixture is very wobbly in the middle, it’s not quite done, so bake for another 5 -10 mins. Take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
Remove the brownies from the pan, and cut into triangles with a sharp knife. (Cut in three rows, then cut in alternating diagonals, this took us ages to figure out and could have been done a bit better)
Unwrap the candy canes, and use a sharp knife to gently cut/break the candy canes into 1.5 inch long pieces. Be very careful!
Press the candy cane into the bottom of the brownie triangles.
To make the icing, spoon out roughly 1/2 of the tub of icing into a bowl and add a few drops of green food colouring. Add the green until you are happy with the colour.
Spoon the icing into a piping bag or a ziplock bag with a small corner cut off.
- Starting at the top of the brownie triangles, gently squeeze out the icing in a curvy zigzag as you go down to create a tree.
Add ball shaped sprinkles to represent the baubles and a star on the top.
I adore baking so it took me a great strength to not get my hands involved in this bake. I stepped back completely and allowed Freya to take over my kitchen. We did film her baking which is below.
I am really proud of her for this. Freya did such a brilliant job for her first solo bake. The Christmas Trees tasted absolutely amazing, there’s a real mix of the chocolatey indulgence with the gorgeous mince pie taste.
Freya took her Christmas Tree Mince Pie Brownies to school and entered them in the Christmas bake off. We were so thrilled to hear that she ended up being in the runners up, the top 20! A perfect result for her efforts.