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Edible Christmas trees
December 21, 2014, 2:07 pm

A Christmas tree is one of the most iconic features of a traditional Christmas celebration; you cannot imagine one without the other. However, if you want to have a Christmas tree and eat it too, you will have to come up with one using any of the innovative recipes below. With their colorful appearance and festive charm, these desserts are sure to be a memorable addition to any holiday table.



Cupcake Christmas tree


For the cupcakes:
200g butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
200g self-raising flour
2 tbsp milk

For the icing
300g butter
525g icing sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
Green food coloring
Sweets, to decorate
Large white chocolate star, to decorate
Edible gold spray

You will need

24-hole mini muffin tin
48 green mini-muffin or petit four cases
Small plant pot or mini bucket (roughly 13cm across the top)
12cm foam cone (measured across base)
Cocktail sticks
Green paint


Heat oven to 180C and line the muffin tin with muffin cases. Put half the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl, and beat until pale and fluffy. Add one egg and mix well. Add half the flour and milk, and mix with a spatula until combined. Use 2 teaspoons to distribute the cake mixture evenly among the cases and bake for 12 minutes until risen and golden, and a skewer inserted to the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat to make another batch of 24 mini cakes.

While the cakes are cooling, make the icing. Put the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and food coloring, and blend again until evenly colored. Transfer the icing to a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle. Once the cakes have cooled, use a skewer to make a small hole in the base of each cake. To decorate the cakes, pipe blobs of green icing over the surface of each one.

Now you are ready to start assembling your Christmas tree. Paint the foam cone all over with green paint and leave to dry. Push the cone into the pot. To build the tree, push a cocktail stick into the base of each cake and press it into the cone. Continue until the cone is covered in cakes, trying to keep them as close together as possible. You may have some left over, which you can serve alongside the tree.

Spray the chocolate star gold and put on top of the tree, then decorate the rest of the tree with sweets. The cakes will last for 3 days.


Gingerbread-Cookie Trees


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dark-brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup dark unsulfured molasses
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
Cream Cheese Frosting
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Put butter and sugar into the bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add in egg, then molasses, spices, baking soda, and salt. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in flour. Divide dough into quarters and shape into disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm.

Preheat oven to 190C. Roll out the cooled disks into 1cm thick cookies on a lightly floured work surface. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters in graduated sizes using each cutter once for every tree. Arrange cookies by size on parchment-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Bake until firm, about six minutes for small cookies and 10 minutes for large. Let cool 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely.

To assemble trees, put frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip and pipe a dime-size dot of frosting in center of second-largest cookie; sandwich with larger cookie.

Repeat in descending pairs with larger cookies on top to make 5 sandwiches. Pipe a scalloped 1cm thick border of frosting on top of larger cookie of largest sandwich. Top with the second-largest sandwich, larger cookie up, and repeat to make a tree of 5 sandwiches. Top with frosting, then smallest cookie, then more frosting and a star (standing upright). Cookie trees can be refrigerated up to 6 hours. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.


Christmas Trees with Chocolate Orange Cream


For orange cream
300ml heavy pouring cream
200ml milk
70g caster sugar
6 egg yolks
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Finley grated zest of one orange

For chocolate trees
8-12 ice cream cones
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Crushed Smarties to decorate


For orange cream

Heat the milk and cream together in a saucepan over a low heat to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together in a bowl and then add to the hot cream, stirring constantly. Return the pan to a low heat and stir until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and add the dark chocolate and orange zest.  Stir until smooth.  Fill small glasses with the cream and refrigerate for at least two hours or preferably overnight.

For chocolate trees

Place the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Starting with one at a time, paint the cones with the melted chocolate using a pastry brush and leave for 30 seconds or so before sticking on the Smarties. Repeat with remaining cones and refrigerate for 10 minutes or for up to 24 hours.


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