Christmas is the perfect excuse to have fun in the kitchen and try out cute new recipes we don't normally have the time to make during the year.
Enter Christmas cottages. They're cute, delicious and look beautiful - what's not to love?
These are great for entertaining kids during those long afternoons in the school holidays, especially if it's bucketing down outside.
Christmas cottages also make great gifts for anyone in your life with a sweet tooth. They don't cost an arm and a leg, but what they show is that you bothered to give a loved one the most precious gift of all - your time.
Here are three delicious - and easy - Christmas cottage recipes to try this holiday season.
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1. Chocolate Crackle Christmas House
PREP 40 MINS + CHILLING
6 cups rice bubbles
2 x 200g blocks dark chocolate, melted, plus a little extra
½ cup dessicated coconut
2 x 100g blocks milk Lindt chocolate
¼ cup milk choc melts, melted
3 rainbow sour straps
1 red sour strap
11 yellow smarties
2 candy canes, curved part trimmed
- Lightly grease and line a 15cm square cake pan with baking paper, extending paper on either side of pan.
- In a bowl, combine rice bubbles, dark chocolate and coconut, stirring well. Press into pan. Chill 30 mins until set.
- Remove crackle using baking paper as handles. Arrange on a board and remove paper.
- Using a hot knife, cut each block chocolate in half. Create roof by sticking two chocolate halves together at top with a little melted chocolate. Attach to top of chocolate crackle using a little extra melted chocolate. Repeat with remaining chocolate block and melted chocolate.
- Create windows, door, wreath and tinsel on roof using trimmed rainbow and red sour straps. Attach using melted chocolate. Decorate with yellow smarties for lights, attach candy cane sticks to side of house and use trimmed top for door outline.
2. Super Simple Christmas House
PREP 45 MINS
125g unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp milk
2 x 450g store-bought madeira cakes
7 ice-cream wafers
4 x Spearmint Leaves
¼ cup mini M&M's
1 x Furry Friends chocolate
1 yellow jube
2 licorice allsorts, yellow part trimmed
¼ cup white choc melts, melted
1 red sour strap, thinly sliced
- In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter until pale. Gradually beat in icing sugar and milk.
- Trim tops of madeira cakes to level. Using a little buttercream, spread a little icing on top of one cake. Stack with remaining cake. Spread icing all over top and sides of cake.
- Join wafer biscuits together at top with a little melted chocolate to form roof and arrange on top of cake.
- Press in mini M&M's to form fairy lights (reserving one for door handle). Press in chocolate to form door, trimming if too large. Attach jube and reserved M&M with a little extra melted white chocolate. Press in trimmed licorice allsorts for windows and Spearmint Leaves for shrubs.
- Arrange thinly sliced sour straps on top of roof.
3. Easiest Ever Christmas Huts
PREP: 15 MINS + SETTING
12 x 45g Kit Kats
¼ cup dark choc melts, melted
¼ cup white choc melts, melted
4 candy canes, rounded part trimmed
Mini gingerbread men, to decorate
- Arrange one Kit Kat on a board, flat-side up. Spread a little dark melted chocolate along both long edges. Arrange two Kit Kats on edges and form a tepee shape. Drizzle a little extra chocolate along top to stick the peak together. Hold in place 2 mins until chocolate sets. Repeat with remaining Kit Kats and chocolate.
- Drizzle white chocolate along tops of Kit Kat huts to form decorations. Arrange candy cane on top of hut, using white chocolate to stick. Place gingerbread man inside.
TIP: Use fun-size Kit Kats for mini huts.
4. Mini Chocolate House with moulds
PREP AND COOK TIME: 30 MINUTES (+ SETTING TIME)
400g milk or dark chocolate melts
3 plastic piping bags
75g white chocolate melts
edible gold stars and red sugar pearls, for decoration
- Place 325g milk or dark chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium (50%) power for about 4 minutes, stirring every minute, or until melted;transfer the melted
chocolate to a plastic piping bag. Cut a 3mm hole in the tip of the bag.
- Pipe half the melted chocolate into one of the moulds; tap mould on the bench to settle the chocolate. Repeat with the other half of the chocolate and mould. Stand at room temperature for
30 minutes or until the chocolate is set.
- Remove chocolate pieces from the moulds.
- Place the white chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium (50%) power for about 1½ minutes, stirring halfway, or until melted. Transfer melted chocolate into a
clean piping bag. Cut a 2mm hole in the tip of the bag. Decorate the front door, sleigh, tree and other smaller chocolate pieces as desired. Attach gold stars with a little melted chocolate. Allow to set.
- To assemble the house, place the remaining milk or dark chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium (50%) power for about 1½ minutes, stirring halfway, or until melted. Transfer the melted chocolate into a clean piping bag. Cut a 3mm hole in the tip.
- Lay the sides, back and front door of the house on bench, decorative side down. To glue the house together, pipe the melted milk chocolate along short sides of the house. Join sides of house to front and back-door panels, pressing fi rmly until set.
- Pipe melted chocolate along top of front and back door. Attach roof panel with fl at
side at top; attach remaining roof panel.
- Glue chimney pieces together with melted chocolate and attach to roof. Re-melt white chocolate in bag if it's set and decorate roof with stars and sugar pearls. Attach candy canes, wreath and sleigh to house with a little melted chocolate, if desired.
Plastic piping bags are available from the baking section of supermarkets. Resealable snap-lock bags can also be used if piping bags are unavailable.
Courtesy of the Australian Women's Weekly