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I love baking, so it’s no wonder that Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. Christmas puddings, cakes, mince pies, yule logs and trifles are just some of the treats on the menu in my place. The key for me is to take all the stress out of Christmas by starting my preparations early, so I can relax and make the most of the festive season.
I like to start getting organised in early November. It’s the ideal time to plan your festive menus and gather together all the recipes you’ll need. The Food Karma Ambassador Recipes here are a great place to find fresh ideas, for baking and all your Christmas cooking.
Next, either write up your dry ingredients list or check them into your trolley in the online shop. At this point, I check my cupboards to see if I have any of these items already and clear out anything that is out of date.
I’ll need plenty of space for staples like flours, sugars, baking soda and powder, along with festive flavours such as ground spices, dried fruits and nuts. (And don’t forget some chocolate!)
Now is the perfect time to bake your cakes and puddings. Fruit cakes can be made from three weeks to three months in advance, and they actually improve with age. If you like, drip feed them with alcohol as they mature, for a gorgeous rich texture and flavour when you get to Christmas.
TIP: Christmas puddings can actually be made up to a year in advance.
Why not make two together and put one away for next year?
Begin by soaking the dried fruits in Guinness, whiskey or sherry, depending on the recipe. I like to leave them soak for three days, which results in lovely plump and juicy fruits.
Once your cake and puddings are made, wrap them well in a double layer of parchment paper, followed by a double layer of foil. Then store in an airtight container in a cool place, away from direct sunlight, until you are ready to ice and decorate them closer to the big day.
Keep an eye out next week for Part 2 of my Christmas Countdown Calendar where I will be going through the Month of December and how to prepare those Christmas treats.
Check out : Marie O'Toole's quickest way to ice the cake while keeping its taste and looks intact Here.