Wednesday 30 December 2015

Alphabakes Roundup December 2015: N

I hope you all had a happy Christmas and a restful holiday season and did plenty of baking! I spent most of Christmas away from home – we went to my parents on the 23rd and 24th and were at three different houses on the 25th and 26th with my fiance’s family. I had wanted to bake various things to take on each visit but I just wasn’t home! Still, I did do a fair bit of Christmas baking earlier in December. As the letter chosen for Alphabakes this month was N, we decided we would accept Christmas – or Noel – recipes as well as things actually beginning with N!
The first entry came from Dom at Belleau Kitchen who made this very festive Christmas blend tea cake bundt though he didn’t eat it himself – he donated it to a charity bake sale. It contains dried fruit and candied peel, orange, cinnamon, grand marnier and all sorts of Christmassy flavours as well as a special blend of tea.
 Suelle at Mainly Baking made this Norwegian apple cake which she said worked best as a dessert, served warm with cream or custard - it consists of a vanilla flavoured sponge base with thin slices of cinnamon-sprinkled apples baked on top. Sounds great!

I love the idea of these festive pretzel melts from Stuart at Cakeyboi; he’s coated pretzels in candy melts and arranged them in a wreath shape which is simple but really effective.
festive pretzel melts
I made a mincemeat tart – instead of mince pies. I used a Delia Smith recipe for the mincemeat, which I baked into a tart with a lattice top – I found the lattice a bit tricky as I still haven’t quite got the hang of it, but my fiancé said it tasted really good, which was the main thing!
Now for some proper Ns from Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker, who made these Nutella nanaimo bars which look incredibly chocolatey. A Nanaimo bar is a Canadian treat with a wafer base, a layer of custard flavour butter icing and covered with melted chocolate, but Ros made hers with Oreo cookies and Nutella. Just the thing for a Christmas treat!

 Kate aka the Gluten Free Alchemist was sent a Christmas cake mix to try by Delicious Alchemy (I've made some of their cookies before) but added some extra ingredients (including nuts) and once she had baked the cake, cut it into four to decorate each one as a small parcel (with her daughter getting creative on the fourth which is very clever!). They look like they turned out perfectly!

 Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker made these spinach, tomato and mushroom mini fritttas when she invited her neighbours around for Christmas drinks. She said the recipe is very versatile as you can add whatever ingredients you like.

Kat, aka The Baking Explorer, certainly moved into uncharted territory with these stollen muffins - I've never come across this idea before. If you don't have the 2 hours spare that stollen needs to prove, these muffins are much quicker! They are full of Christmas spices, fruits and marzipan and look really good.
I was sent a really cute silicon cake mould to review which lets you bake mini cakes in the shape of Christmas trees! I made chocolate cakes with some of my leftover mincemeat in the middle, a cake combination I haven’t come across before but it tasted great! I decorated the trees with buttercream and candy melts and coloured edible balls- I think these would be great fun for kids to make!
 These cheese and walnut biscuits from Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe would be great for a cold Boxing Day supper and also to give as edible gifts. The N stands for nuts as the biscuits contain walnuts.

Elizabeth at the Lawyer’s Cookbook made these caramelized onion and red wine naan pizzas which sound delicious. Using a ready made garlic naan as the base you add the toppings and bake it in the oven for 10-12 minutes, which is a great idea for a quick lunch.
FullSizeRender 2
Here are some more edible gifts: Kate at the Gluten Free Alchemist made chocolate-covered marzipan stars - the marzipan is of course made from almonds (so N is for nuts). There's also some useful info on her blog post about tempering chocolate so do have a read!

Finally we have a variation on a nut roast - something probably enjoyed by many vegetarians on Christmas day - from Shaheen at Allotment 2 Kitchen. She made sausages using a nut roast mix and a tin of chestnut puree, which makes for a great meal at this time of year but something that isn't as heavy as a full nut roast.
Thanks to everyone who found time to take part given how busy we all are over Christmas! I'm looking forward to finding out which letter we are cooking and baking with in January (and hoping it fits into my healthy eating plan!) so visit Ros's site on January 1.



  1. fab round-up! So festive! Happy New Year xxx

  2. Reading this makes me want to have christmas all over again just so I can make these great christmas bakes

  3. What a lovely festive round up Caroline. Thanks for hosting and have a great new year!

  4. Its really hard to decide... I like every single one of them.....

  5. Cheese and walnut biscuits are a good touch. They look amazing as stars...

  6. Thank you for these amazing ideas for Christmas.


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