Another challenge and another year draws to a close but as far as blogging goes I think it has been a pretty good year. Even this month which is busy for any baker you have still all rallied round and shared a host of wonderful recipes with me and your fellow Biscuit Barrel challengers. The theme for this month was 'Quick an Easy' to allow you all to showcase recipes that you could slip in amongst all the other things demanding your time when you still wanted something yummy to eat. So here goes. Enjoy.
I got in there pretty quick with my Aero Bubbles Cookies this month. It was based on a recipe I'd been wanting to try for ages so I was so pleased when they were successful. Ok, so I was supposed to be working when I made them but the taste of them soon made up for that! Fresh, minty, chewy and chocolatey it was a recipe that required little effort for fantastic results. It is defintley one to adapt to other fillings.
Rebecca from BakeNQuilt made these Peppermint Bark Shortbread Bars - a classic biscuit base is used hot from the oven to melt peppermint bark chocolate on top then sprinkled with crushed candy canes. This really got me because it is so simple an idea but incredibly effective. I can imagine it being popular with children and adults alike as well as being infinitely adaptable, limited only by what you feel like melting on top of the base. Mmmmm.
You might be wondering how muffins can fit into a challenge called the Biscuit Barrel but I'm one for encouraging stretching (or breaking) of rules so I'm mightily pleased that Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker submitted these Double Chocolate, Hazelnut and Cherry Muffins. The title alone contains three of my top ingredients addn then you look at the picture and see how pretty and jewel-like the cherries look sitting on top. Ros has demonstrated how something good can come out of a spur of the moment idea and also how quick muffins are to whip up when you fancy a little something.
Tracey from Dilsy Does... made me go slightly misty eyed with cuteness when I saw her Christmas Tree Biscuits. An easy basic vanilla biscuit dough cut into star shapes, layered and glue with white chocolate, Tracey provides a tutorial for anyone needing any encouragement. Next year, these are a must for me and if I can find an excuse to make somehting similar with different shapes then I know where I'm heading - shimmer spray included!
Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker is back again with these Xmas Vanilla Cookies, demonstrating how effective baking moulds can be. I'm not surprised Ros wants to use this pan every year now and it has made me really, really want one. I fully agree that some simple writing icing gives the perfect decoration to finish though if you were really in a hurry, the pan takes all the hard work out of the bake for you and provides enough detail for these to be decorative without anything else. I have a feeling I'll be going on a baking shopping spree soon.
Ros has certainly been a busy bee this month but I'm glad because it certainly benefits anyone readingt this post or her blog. These Christmas Tree Gingerbread Cookies have a hidden surprise which spills out when you break into them - mini M&M's! Ginger and chocolate goes so well together and to get a bite of gingerbread cookie followed by the wonderful crispy crunch of the hidden sweeties would be perfect. Ros thinks she has been cheeky entering these into a quick an easy theme but I say they are perfectly acceptable and if you pop over to her blog, there are step by step photos to help you along.
Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog says she might be fed up with shortbread soon after the amount she has been making lately so just in case let's be thankful for these Christmas Shortbread Biscuits. It's easy to see why Choclette has been making adaptations galore - so many flavours to pair perfectly with the rich buttry base. I've never been a fan of caramom before but these are changing mmy mind.
Ros is back again now, this time with these Christmas Cornflake Wreaths. My nephews haven't visited with their parents this Christmas season (yet!) but if they had I would've made these with them. I don't know what it is about melted marshmallows (or chocolate) and cereal but the combination is divine so there is a slight chance not much of the mixture would've made it into the wreaths anyway. Now I know what to do with the festive sprinkles I have left over!
I have a special place in my heart for brownies after the success I have had with them so Charlene from Food Glorious Food was onto a winner right from the off when she entered her Xmas Brownies. Glace cherries and brazil nuts add the festive element for her and those pictures made my tummy grumble in a not very ladylike fashion. Who cares though when look at these?!
Kate from The Gluten Free Alchemist is up now with her Almond and Cherry Biscuit Trees. Kate admits to have been completely rushed off her feet this month but has still managed to find time to make soom pretty decorated biscuits with one of the flavours she associates with Christmas - almonds. I'm a big fan of almonds in cakes so I've no idea why I rarely use them in biscuits. These have made me question that and will hopefully soon be rectified. Kate also gives the option of two types of cherries for two different textures.
Finally, but absolutely lot least Alexandra from The Lass In The Apron is sharing her Dash-Away Bars. Slightly similar to rocky road but baked, these contain chocolate, fruit, nuts, crushed biscuits and the glory that is condensed milk. Whenever we open a tin to make Millionaire's Shortbread, my mother and I have to um, test it, so I know these will be gorgeous. It says it all when it takes less time to mix something up than it does to get the ingredients out of the cupboard yet produce something so good.
That's it for now but I'll be back soon with another challenge. The last few months since I've started up the Biscuit Barrel have been so much fun that's I can't wait to see where it goes in 2014. For now, Happy New Year everyone!