Holiday Sparkles: Two delicious gift ideas

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The holiday season is around the tree and there is something magical about simple and honest joys like delicious homemade gifts that warm the heart and sweeten the sparkling moments.

Joy is in the simple moments

What makes homemade goodies truly special is the love and thought put into their creation. In the fast-paced world, it’s these simple moments of baking and decorating that bring us back to the essence of the holiday season. It’s not just about good ingredients; it is about the time and energy invested and the small attention that brings a smile to the face and warms many souls. Besides, I can honestly tell you that making these cute gifts is real therapy.

I chose two types of gifts: cupcakes are prepared and given fresh, while cookies last longer and will be more appreciated if the gift cannot be delivered immediately.

Rich cupcakes with peanut cream and orange filling are an ideal treat for visits, as you can all enjoy your sweet tooth right away. Juicy cupcakes, which also hide orange marmalade inside, sprinkled with glittering beads in festive colors, will delight those with a real sweet tooth who know how to enjoy life without a bad conscience.

Abstract almond cookies with orange are so tender and crunchy that they just melt in your mouth. The orange peel will awaken memories of the holiday season in us like the most beautiful melodic symphony. The cookies are not only good in taste, but also a feast for the eyes.

Rich cupcakes with peanut cream and orange filling

When I was preparing this recipe, I had in mind a real Santa’s workshop for inspiration, where peanut cream and orange marmalade flow in streams and where there is a giant pool with balls and beads in Christmas colors and you can jump in there and have a lot of fun. In the meantime, the gnomes diligently bake cupcakes, hollow them out and fill them, and decorate them with cream. At the end, they are sprinkled with magic beads that bounce off the table and sparkle in all directions.

And this is exactly how my table looked when I created and photographed them.

You will also need some basic baking and decorating tools for this recipe:

  • Muffin tin
  • Piping bag
  • Piping attachment for decoration, star-shaped, fi 10-12 mm.

The recipe is simple to make, but it consists of rich ingredients, so the cupcakes will also be full of flavor. Cocoa, rum, orange marmalade, peanut cream and cinnamon are a winning firework of flavors.

Rich cupcakes with peanut cream and orange filling

Servings 12 cupcakes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

Za kolačke

  • 240 g flour
  • 130 g sugar
  • 2 tbcp raw cocoa powder
  • 1 bag baking powder
  • 200 g creme fraiche
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp rum
  • zest from 1 orange

Za polnilo

  • 12 tsp orange marmelade

Za kremo

  • 200 g butter sobne temperature
  • 300 g peanut butter
  • 300 g cream cheese
  • 240 g powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Za dekoracijo

  • pearls and sprinkles

Instructions

For cupcakes

  • Preeat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa and baking powder.
  • Add the wet ingredients: sour cream, eggs, rum and orange zest. Mix well.
  • Arrange the paper cups in the muffin pan and fill them with the mixture, about three-quarters of the way.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.

For frosting

  • In a stand mixer, combine the butter, peanut butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar until smooth.
  • Put the cream in a training bag with any attachment. For applying creams, I recommend a wider nozzle, fi 10-12 mm.
  • Cool the cakes on a wire rack and carefully make a hole in them with a small spoon, into which put 1 teaspoon of orange marmalade.
  • Decorate the top of the cupcakes with fragrant peanut cream.
  • Sprinkle the cupcakes with pearls to taste.

Abstract almond cookies with orange

Making abstract glazed cookies will quickly get you addicted. It will take quite a bit of skill and practice, but where there’s a will there’s a way, so just be brave and persistent. Those cookies that fail will be just as delicious to crunch.

Glazed cookies require a little more preparation, but the result is so much more satisfying.

Colors and color combinations

First, let’s decide on color combinations. I chose white icing and three additional colors. For royal icing, I highly recommend the Royal Masa mixture, to which only water is added and it is already ready for application. The advantage of this mass is also that it is prepared extremely quickly and, what is very important to me, that it is snow-white in color. I took the white icing as the base and divided it into 4 parts. I left the first part white and mixed color into the paste for the other three: Holly Green, Red and Brown.

You will also need:

  • Piping bag
  • Piping attachment, round, between 2-5 mm
  • Cookie cutters

Technique

Since I myself am still a beginner in painting with royal icing, I chose an easier way – creating an abstract “swirl” effect with a stick or a toothpick. You can, of course, choose your own technique. At Peki, they have a really large number of attachments available, just for any idea you would like to implement.

In the “swirl” effect, we prepare every color, including white, in our training bag. If we don’t have so many attachments for decorating, this technique is the one that doesn’t require so much precision and thin lines, so if we can cut an edge at the tip of the bag, about 2-3 mm, and it’s ready for decorating. The bag can be replaced with a small and narrow spoon, which is especially suitable for staining larger surfaces.

In this technique, it is important that the two colors that mix with each other are wet. That is, we do not wait for one color to dry, but apply the next color immediately on top of the previous one. First, color the entire surface of the cookie, then use another color to make swirls on the surface. Take a thin stick or toothpick and gently pull and draw patterns. You will quickly find out what kind of twists and what kind of Natsali patterns you prefer.

Tip: The colors in the paste are very intense, be careful with the dosage. I suggest dosing the paint with the tip of a toothpick. The red shade becomes pink when mixed into the white icing and the green color becomes quite pastel. The trick is to add brown to the tip of the toothpick to both the red and green. This way we will get calmer and deeper tones.

Decoration

When the icing is still moist, add the beads, which will stick firmly to the cookie during drying.

This cookie recipe will become your favorite! With every bite, the delicious combination of almonds and orange peel melts in your mouth.

Abstract almond cookies with orange

Servings 30 cookies
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200 g butter sobne temperature
  • 100 g powdered sugar
  • 300 g flour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 2 žlici Amaretta ali ruma
  • zest from 1 orange

Instructions

  • Mix butter and sugar with a mixer.
  • Add flour, egg yolks and ground almonds and mix with the kneading attachment.
  • Add Amaretto and orange zest.
  • Knead everything well so that it sticks to a ball of dough.
  • Wrap the dough in transparent foil and put it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it out on a floured surface.
  • Use any cookie cutters to make shapes and place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
  • Bake for about 13 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Cool the cookies on a wire rack, paint them with icing and decorate them with pearls.

Small detail matter

Each of us is happy with a little attention that brightens the day, because we realize that the energy invested has great value.

For the cupcakes, I advise you to prepare them just before you go to visit someone and give them as a gift. In Peki, I also found personal gift packaging for carrying. Just add a bow and a nice thought, and the gift is perfect.

Cookies are less sensitive to transport, so we can put them in gift bags with Christmas motifs or make the extremely popular “cookie box”, where the cookies are placed in a gift box.

Holidays should be festive

I wish you a sweet, colorful holiday sprinkled with sparkling beads and gold stars in a glass of sparkling wine!

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