I'm a big mince pie fan, especially with a disc of marzipan in the bottom before the mincemeat is dolloped on top (I LOVE marzipan. I could sit and eat a block of it.), but I needed to do some festive baking for someone else and thought that mince pies might be a bit old hat. So I came up with these, and they are a pretty good substitute if you fancy ringing the changes.
For the icing:
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My boys LOVE having wraps for lunch.
And while they are quick and easy, and make for a painless lunch that I know will be eaten, there is something about shop bought wraps that just makes me feel a bit bleurgh. They don’t really taste of anything much, and just seem to act as a conduit for the filling. And they just look so kind of plastic-y. I’m sure they are probably full of all kinds of preservatives and chemicals to prolong their shelf life (although I will confess I haven’t actually checked).
And then there’s the plastic bags that they come in (although I have to say that we keep hold of them and use them again and again for chucking stuff like rolls and biscuits into and freezing).
Suffice it to say that I am not the biggest fan of them, and have been on the look-out for a reliable homemade version for quite a while.
I tried out Hugh F-W’s flatbread recipe from one of his books, and while they are delicious eaten warm with hummus, they don’t keep well and turn very stiff once they cool down.
But then someone recommended a recipe online and I thought I would give it a go.
And it’s BRILLIANT!
It does take a while to make (it’s the actual cooking of them that takes the time) but then you have a batch of 16, which you can freeze, or they do keep well for a few days.
We’ve been testing them out extensively over the Summer – they work well for lunches at home, but also survive outings in lunch boxes for picnics too. We’ve had them with cheese, carrot hummus, ham, and prawns for lunch. The kids have had them with chocolate spread for snacks, and when they’ve gone a bit stale I’ve toasted them and turned them into min pizzas.
All in all, we are big fans.
This is an 'anglicised' version of the original recipe for fellow Brits/those who don’t have cup measures.
The most important thing seems to be putting them into some kind of sealed container as soon as they are cooked. I dug out a metal tin with a plastic lid and cram them all into this, ramming the lid back on in between each addition. I am sure a normal tupperware box would also suffice.
If you freeze them (we haven’t tried this yet, we have always scoffed them too quickly) then I would suggest laying them out individually on baking sheets and freezing in batches. Once they are frozen, you can pop them all in a bag together to save on freezer space and then just take out as many as you need.
I use my Kitchen Aid mixer which makes life easier, but you could totally do this by hand if you wanted/needed (kneaded?) to.
That’s a pretty brave claim, but seriously, this shortbread is to die for.
It's also pretty easy to make and makes a perfect plastic free or zero waste gift - yays!
I make mini biscuits to pop into jam jars for teacher thank you gifts, or do mini numbers as birthday presents, so 7's for the kiddy winks, or 4s and 0s etc for friends celebrating special birthdays.
I love them. Anytime of day, a cup of tea (plastic free, obvs) and a biscuit is pretty much guaranteed to put a smile back on my face.
But the wrappers from packets of biscuits are generally easily recycled, which can mean that our daily sugar fix can be adding lbs to our landfill waste, as well as possibly our hips 😉
My solution to this is a spot of light baking, and this is such a great recipe.
It's adapted from Nigella's Christmas Chocolate Shortbread Cookies in her Christmas book and I love it because a) it is super easy - bung it all the mixer and done, no rolling, no chilling, just scoop and bake; b) I can normally be guaranteed to have all the ingredients in the house; c) they taste delicious; d) they freeze really well; and e) as I am about to show you, they are infinitely adaptable.
What’s not to love?!
For the basic chocolate version (ala Nigella)
Finding plastic free snacks for grown-ups and kids alike is a challenge, I'm not going to lie.
There are those times in the day when you're feeling peckish, and fruit just isn't going to cut it. I'm a bit of a sugar fiend, so my go-to is usually homemade biscuits, or maybe flapjack, but I do try (I really try!) to steer the kids away from too much sugar.
This recipe ticks lots of my boxes - it's savoury, easy to make, freeze-able (I make a big batch and then freeze them once cooked), the kids actually like them, and it's plastic-free (ish)!
The recipe is from the marvellous Nigella's “Feast” book.
You don't have to make them feet shaped - use whatever cookie cutters you have, (or turn a glass upside down and use that!) but the feet make me giggle (I'm quite easily amused..
I usually double this recipe and then freeze some.
Not only are these are a packaging free of one of the most popular biscuits, they have the added bonus of using up any egg yolks you might have going spare total win win if you ask me..!
For the biscuits
For the icing
Not only are these packaging free, they are a million times tastier than their shop bought counterparts!
Recently I made teeny tiny versions of these using my smallest cookie cutter, and packaged them up in jam jars for gifts - they went down a storm..!
This recipe is adapted from “Let’s Bake” by Cathryn Dresser
For the biscuits
For the icing
This is a great bake and since I discovered the recipe I’ve been making a couple of these pretty much every week, (or double the recipe and stash a couple in the freezer).
It is great for an after school snack, or as a plastic free addition to lunchboxes and is delicious spread with butter. It’s also one of those bakes that just keeps getting better as it gets squishier and squishier if you can wait a day or two before tucking in.
The recipe is from one of my favourite cookbooks The Five O’Clock Apron by Claire Thomson, and the only thing I’ve added to it is a handful of raisins.
NB. I normally double this recipe and make four loaves at a time, as it's not really any extra work and then I can pop three loaves in the freezer for busy weeks when I don't have time for baking.