Winter Warmers Special 5

Baking & Sweet Treats



I'm feeling all kinds of festive!! I've just whipped up a batch of gingerbread cookie dough and planning on tackling some sugar cookies later today. 

Who else is in the baking mood with me? 


With everything going on in the world right now, it's easy to feel a bit down, especially with the new lockdown measures in the UK. I've already accepted that this Christmas will look a little different, so I've been stocking up on baking supplies to keep me busy and distracted. 


Plus, who can resist the cozy vibes of winter spices and hot chocolate by the fire? It's like stepping into a classic movie scene! 


If you're like me and need a little pick-me-up, why not try your hand at some sweet treats? I've got a few go-to recipes that never fail to put a smile on my face, and a few new ones I'm dying to test out. 


And hey, if you're able to, a brisk walk in the fresh air is always a good idea - gotta make room for all those delicious calories, right? So, let's embrace the holiday spirit together and whip up some tasty goodies. Who's with me?


One of the things I absolutely love about cookies is how simple they are to whip up, and the best part is you can easily freeze them before baking! 

This way, you don't have to worry about eating the whole batch in one go just to avoid wasting any. You can stash most of them in the freezer and enjoy them at your own pace... although let's be real, they tend to disappear pretty quickly around here! 


Sugar or shortbread cookies are like a blank canvas just waiting for your personal touch! Get creative with some icing and crushed candy canes for a festive twist, or mix in some spices for a cozy pumpkin spice flavor. 


Personally, I like to add a splash of vanilla extract and sprinkle in some lavender flowers to my shortbread dough - it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I absolutely adore the delicate floral flavor it adds. 


Give it a try and see what you think!

I absolutely love Lebkuchen gingerbread cookies during this time of year - they're a hit with everyone! 


The other day, a friend and I were texting about the recipe and 'Lebkuchen' somehow autocorrected to into 'debauched' - so now we affectionately call them 'the debauched cookies'! They're so tasty, it almost feels naughty to eat too many, but let's not get too carried away with the debauchery! 


There are tons of different ways to make these German treats, but I personally love the recipe from The Great Big Cookie Book by Hilaire Walden. 

The mix of spices really sets these cookies apart, and I especially enjoy the hint of chili powder for that extra kick! I usually top mine with melted chocolate and sprinkles, but they're just as delicious plain. 

If you're feeling fancy, you can even get out your piping bag and give them a little decoration. Enjoy baking and indulging in these delightful treats!

So, one of my all-time favorite recipes has got to be chocolate brownies. I've been using this awesome recipe from the BBC for years, but I seem to have misplaced it! Luckily, I stumbled upon this one that's pretty close in terms of ingredients and method, except they melt the chocolate. 


In my version, I like to leave the chocolate in chunks so you get these delicious little pockets of chocolatey goodness throughout. 

I also like to add a splash of vanilla extract for that extra flavor kick. 


And here's the secret ingredient - a teaspoon of chilli powder! I'm a huge fan of spicy food, so I try to sneak it into as many recipes as possible. Trust me, the combination of chocolate and chilli in a brownie is a total game-changer. 


My friends and coworkers always ask me to whip up a batch, they're a real crowd-pleaser. Give it a try and let me know what you think!



Who doesn't enjoy a delicious slice of cake every now and then, right? Well, if I'm being completely honest, I could eat cake all day, every day!


After I finish baking, I always struggle with making my desserts look super fancy with icing. Anyone else find themselves mesmerized by those cookie and cupcake decorating videos on social media? I have to admit, I've tried my hand at it a few times, but I don't think it's my strong suit!


Plus, I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge fan of overly sweet treats, so as much as I admire those beautifully decorated cupcakes, I usually end up scraping off a good amount of the frosting before digging in. That's why I tend to stick to simpler recipes that don't require too much fancy decoration.


There are so many snacks and treats out there to buy, but personally, I love making my own. 


It's great because you know exactly what's going into them, which is a bonus, especially if you're catering to someone with food intolerances, on a special diet, or vegetarian/vegan. 


Plus, homemade treats make fantastic gifts! 

One of my favorite things to make is chocolate truffles. I use a recipe from Thomasina Miers that has a kick of chillies - it's right up my alley! 


But there are so many different recipe ideas to experiment with. I love keeping a stash in the freezer for those moments when I need a snack - no need to defrost, just enjoy it straight from the freezer. It's a delicious frozen treat that hits the spot every time!

Have you ever tried making spiced or sweetened nut mixes at home? They are seriously tasty! 


You can get creative with the flavors by adding herbs and spices - I personally love using maple syrup and warming spices. Just pop them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until they are nice and toasty. 


I don't remember the exact recipe I used, but here's one that looks pretty similar. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out!


Have you ever thought about creating some delicious flavoured popcorn? 


I remember when my mom, in her quest to cut down on our sugar intake, whipped up a batch of popcorn with apple cider vinegar and honey - it was a sweet and sticky treat! 


I wish I had the exact recipe to share with you, but the point is, you can get creative and make your popcorn way more exciting than the usual flavors we're used to. 


So go ahead, experiment and have fun with your popcorn creations! 

Chocolate Bark

It's such a fun and easy sweet treat to make, and it looks so fancy even though it doesn't require a lot of skill. 


All you have to do is melt some chocolate, pour it onto greaseproof paper, and then sprinkle on all sorts of colorful and yummy toppings while the chocolate is still nice and gooey. 


I personally love adding dried fruits to mine - they look so pretty! But you can get creative and use chopped nuts, pretzels, marshmallows, or even crushed candies. 


Once it's chilled and set, just break it into pieces and you've got yourself a delicious homemade treat. 


There are endless possibilities when it comes to making chocolate bark, so feel free to experiment and have fun with it.


Trust me, no matter what toppings you choose, the end result is always impressive


How about hot chocolate and all those cozy winter drinks that warm our hearts. I don't know about you, but I've tried so many hot chocolate recipes and some of them just seem a bit too watery for my liking. 


I've experimented with adding more cocoa powder and chocolate chips, but it doesn't always do the trick. However, I recently stumbled upon some recipes for a thicker, richer hot chocolate that look absolutely delicious 


They use a combination of chocolate and cream to create a luxurious drink that's best enjoyed in smaller doses. It's like a little slice of chocolate heaven in a mug! 


Speaking of delicious hot chocolate, have you ever heard of Willie's Cacao? There was a TV show a while back about this cacao farm in Venezuela, and it was so fascinating. I tried their hot chocolate recipe made with 100% cacao, sweetened with honey, and let me tell you, it was a game-changer. 


It's a rich and comforting drink that's perfect for savoring slowly, almost like you would with an espresso. And imagine topping it off with some whipped cream - pure bliss! 


You can find 100% cacao at supermarkets like Waitrose, but if you can't track it down, a high percentage dark chocolate should work just as well. 

So why not treat yourself to a decadent cup of hot chocolate and cozy up with a good book or movie? It's the perfect way to indulge and unwind during the chilly winter months. 

Spiced Apple Cider is a cosy drink that's perfect for this time of year. 


In the UK, cider is a bubbly (sometimes spiced) alcoholic drink, but in the US, it's a delicious blend of apple juice and spices. 


I personally love adding a splash of whisky or rum to mine for an extra kick, but feel free to get creative with your own additions! I remember visiting an apple cider mill in Michigan and trying it with a shot of Jack Daniels - it was amazing! 


But even without alcohol, the flavours are so rich and warming. If you do decide to add a little something extra, maybe serve it on the side so everyone can customise to their liking. 





So I hope these ideas have been interesting and inspiring for you? I've saved a folder of yummy recipes for you on Pinterest which I'm sure will give you something fun to have a go at.

And of course, I would love to hear about your favourite bakes and treats which you can post here on the blog.

Wishing you a safe and healthy journey through the last days of 2020 and here's hoping 2021 brings us a new year of hope and positivity.


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