Always make an extra batch of muffin mix and store it in the freezer.
There’s something about baking on Christmas. Boozy cakes, sugary cookies and pretty frosting prod even an amateur cook to bake. But what if you have not soaked your fruits for the cake yet? Or worse, never baked cookies from scratch? Fret not 'coz we asked some of our favourite food bloggers to share their secrets of festive baking. Here’s what they had to say…
Anjali Pathak, Chef & Food Writer
To save time this season, make an extra batch of muffin mix and pop it in the freezer before baking. When you have guests stopping by without notice, simply remove it from the freezer and allow it to come to room temperature maybe for an hour. Now, fill your cases and bake! Enjoy fresh muffins whenever you need them this Christmas.
Saee Koranne Khandekar, Food Writer & Consultant
The best thing to do for a great fruitcake is to soak your dried fruit in alcohol almost immediately after Christmas this year so you have a really boozy cake next year. However, if you haven't had the time to do it, try soaking the fruits in a simple sugar syrup overnight along with some orange juice and (a lot of) dark rum. When adding the fruit to the cake, pass some of the soaked fruit along with the soaking liquids in a blender and add some of the fruit whole; this will help concentrate the flavour. Once baked and cooled, drizzle some of the soaking liquid over a pricked cake. A few spoonfuls of an aged marmalade work wonders in imparting that deep, rich flavour. For the spices, if you are not quite sure what to use, simply use a good quality garam masala with an extra pinch of freshly ground cinnamon and some dried ginger powder.
Neha Mathur, Food Writer & Photographer
Sometimes we are so engrossed in baking, that we forget to check the expiry dates of our ingredients. And you would not want anything to go wrong when you are baking something luxurious for Christmas. So check the baking soda, baking powder and yeast for their efficiency. If these ingredients are old, they do not work properly. Replace these ingredients if they have been sitting in the pantry for too long. Also, make sure to pull out all the ingredients prior to starting the process. That way you don’t miss out on any ingredient while baking.
Always test your yeast in lukewarm water even it is instant yeast.
Rhea Dalal, Food Blogger & Caterer
If you are planning bake breads this season, then make sure to buy good quality yeast and store it in the refrigerator. Always test the yeast in lukewarm water, even if you have instant yeast. The best way to get started is by gathering the ingredients first. Clean your work surface as the dough will pick up dirt from the surface so make sure it's squeaky clean. You can serve them with stews and broths at your Christmas party!
You can store your cookie dough in the refrigerator for later use.
Monika Manchanda, Food Consultant, Writer & Baker
If you are planning to bake cookies on Christmas, remember to work with little dough at a time, keeping the rest in the fridge. Overworking a cookie dough leads to tough cookies. If you're baking in large batches, and are short of cooling racks, use a butter paper sprinkled with sugar to cool the cookies, and prevent them from getting soggy. Who doesn't like pretty cookies and cupcakes for Christmas? To make the easiest X-Mas tree decoration for your cookies, dip a strawberry in green royal icing, place it on your cookie or cupcake and make dots of white using a toothpick.