Whilst buying ingredients to do some other festive baking, this box of DIY brownies caught my eye– they are chocolate brownies with a mint icing, and the green icing made me think of The Grinch! I haven’t made brownies from a box in so long, and I love how easy and quick it is to throw everything together and pop it in the oven, but you still feel like you’ve done some baking!
In the box, there was the brownie mix, the mint icing and some chocolate sprinkles:
All I had to do was add an egg, oil and water to the brownie mix, put the batter into a pan, bake it, then add the icing and sprinkles on top. I also saw these really cute snowflake decorations in ASDA, so I thought I’d adorn my brownies with them as well.
My kitchen smelt amazing even whilst I was mixing all the ingredients together, and it made me remember how much I used to love these boxed cake mixes when I was younger!
Now, of course, you don’t need an occasion to eat brownies, but I thought it would be nice to have one (or more) of these brownies whilst watching a Christmas film, to get into the festive spirit and all that. I mean, this pack says that it serves 16 but I’ve probably already eaten about 3 servings in 5 bites.
So, as the perfect accompaniment to these brownies, today’s Christmas Film of the Day is Elf. This feels like one of those Christmas films you can only watch when it starts getting into proper Christmas, and it’s already the 14th December, so I’m calling it! There are 11 days to go until Christmas, so we need to keep up the festive vibes as we get into the 10 day countdown!
This is my first bake of Blogmas… what a momentous occasion! I’m really surprised that this is the first bit of proper baking I’ve put up on here, particularly during Blogmas. If you read my Blogmas Day 3, where I rambled about running out of time to do all the baking that I wanted to a few days ago, you’ll know that I was planning to do loads of baking, all in one day. It’s taken a lot of motivation to get up off the sofa, but I’ve finally gotten around to doing it.
*In my best Masterchef contestant voice* So today, I have made an iced gingerbread loaf, complete with some little gingerbread people around it.
I found the recipe for this gingerbread loaf online, I think it was on the BBC Good Food website, and then I freestyled with the icing. It was a risky move, I know, because I really wanted to make a salted caramel icing, but I couldn’t find any salted caramel in the supermarket and was so distracted with the idea of where I was going to place my gingerbread people on top of the loaf that I couldn’t be bothered to make my own salted caramel. Instead, I made a golden syrup frosting and sprinkled in some sea salt, which I thought was a close second to my original plan.
I really love this gingerbread loaf, because it’s packed with ginger and allspice, which are two of the most important aspects of any good Christmas bake. When the loaf was cooking, my kitchen smelled like a Christmas grotto!
This loaf also makes me imagine a Hansel and Gretel style world, where the loaf is a little village, and the icing is like mini mountain peaks. All the gingerbread people are gossiping and chatting whilst the snow (icing sugar) starts falling around them…I’m probably a little overtired if you can’t already tell, but this is what came to my mind as I was decorating it earlier!
So, Day 2- what have we got in store for today? We’re still early on in the game here, so festive inspiration is a must. Here are a few books and websites which I come back to every year which I wanted to share with you:
For All Round Festive Glory
Christmas Crafts by Kirstie Allsopp: this book has everything you could possibly need for a picture perfect Christmas, from the queen of all things festive, Kirstie Allsopp. It’s got a bit of everything in; home decor, tree decorations, suggestions for table decorations and even recipes for homemade gifts. I’ve used this book to make a homemade advent calendar, I tried to make some homemade baubles (mine probably could pass for a primary school project, but I’m going to call it rustic) and the recipes look brilliant too- I would definitely recommend this one.
Pinterest: as I’ve mentioned before, I am a huge fan of Pinterest, particularly for Christmas ideas- it is so exciting to make the Christmas Pinterest board of your dreams! I have a separate board for the Christmas projects I would love to do (most of them are food!) but this platform is brilliant for getting your creative juices flowing and giving you that festive feeling. You can find ideas for table spreads, vegan and vegetarian alternative Christmas dinner recipes, it is essentially a goldmine of festive tips and inspiration.
For Food Inspiration
Sweet! Celebrations by Elise Strachan: I purchased this book earlier on this year after having watched Elise on YouTube and admired all of her baking creations, and this book has so many good ideas for foodie Christmas projects. This book has a dedicated section for Christmas baking ideas, and there’s a ‘Candy Cottage’ made completely out of chocolate and sweets which I really want to have a go at making this year.
The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman: I don’t really read many fiction books, but the idea of cuddling up on the sofa with a blanket and a Christmas themed book sounds like the epitome of a perfect Winter afternoon to me. This book is all about an annual cookie club that takes between a group of friends, and each chapter starts with each character’s cookie recipe, which I thought was such a cool idea to include in a fiction book. I would love to host my own Christmas cookie club, I love the idea of spending a whole day surrounded by sugar and flour, making hundreds of different biscuits and bars ready for a party in the evening, so this book gives me endless amounts of inspiration! So if you need a break from all the busyness of December, I highly recommend shutting yourself away from the world for a few hours and losing yourself in this, or any of the other books instead.