Mince pies & Christmas

We had a wonderful bread circle Christmas lunch with amazing contributions from everyone and the freshly baked bread of course. A veritable feast.

I decided to put the recipe for mince pies on the blog as they were so tasty.

Click on link below to get recipe:

mince pie recipe

Also Roasted Brussel Sprout and Lentil Salad (https://naturallyella.com/roasted-brussels-sprout-and-lentil-salad/):

  • Salad
  • 1/2lb Brussels Sprouts
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup Puy Lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 3-4 handfuls lettuce
  • 2-3 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar*
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚. Cut off stems and slice Brussels Sprouts in half. Toss with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and pinch of salt. Roast until tender and browned, 25-30 minutes.
  2. Rinse lentils and combine with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tende5; 25-35 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  3. Assemble salad by tossing lettuce, lentils, goat cheese, sunflower seeds, and roasted Brussels Sprouts. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice if using. Toss with salad.

Happy Christmas everyone,


Recipes & Spreadsheet Weinachtsplatzchen 2018


Bakery Xmas Biscuits – spreadsheet

Vanilla sugar – Grind approximately 25 teaspoons

Lime Pistachio Meringues – Grind 600g pistachios

Gelee Ringe – make dough, cover with clingfilm, label & keep cold

Rum Ringlets – make dough, cover with clingfilm, label & keep cold

Sterntaler – make dough, cover with clingfilm, label, keep cold

Vanille Kipferl – make dough, cover with clingfilm, label, keep cold

Zimt Sterne – Make the dough; Roll out, cut into stars, Put them on paper-covered baking trays, Cover with baking paper, keep cool

Apricots – Chop small

                                                    PLAN FOR THE DAY

i) Lime Pistachio Biscuits 

ii) Florentiner

iii) Lebkuchen

iv) Gelee Ringen

v) Rum Ringlets

vi) Zimt Sterne 

vii) Vanille Kipferl 

viii) Sterntaller

ix) Croquants

x) Coconut Macaroons

xi) Dates – ongoing

i) Lime Pistachio Meringue Biscuits (88)

600g ground unsalted pistachios (pre-prepared)

6 limes (zest and 6 tbsps juice)

6 egg whites

6 pinches of salt

750g icing sugar

450g ground almonds

(Grind the pistachios into a medium fine meal)

Wash the limes with hot water, dry them and peel the zest into a small bowl

Juice the limes

In a large bowl, mix the egg whites with salt and whisk until stiff

Gradually add the icing sugar 

Continue whisking for another 1 minute

Add the lime juice

Set aside 600g of the whisked mixture and 12 tablespoons of the ground pistachios to make the icing later

To the rest of the whisked mixture, add the ground almonds,  remaining ground pistachios and the lime peel

Mix gently to make a dough

Leave to stand in the fridge for 1 hour
Roll the dough into small balls of approximately 1cm width, using sugar on your hands to prevent it sticking!!

Space the balls out on a lined baking tray

Use a fork to squeeze them flat

Use the leftover egg white to coat the cookies

Sprinkle with the leftover pistachios

Leave to dry at room temperature for 1 hour

Bake at the bottom of the oven for 10 minutes at 180*c

Leave to cool before taking them off the baking paper

ii) Florentiner (143)

450g unsalted butter

1125ml whipping cream

900g sliced/splintered almonds

900g mixed peel

1125g sugar

9 tsp vanilla sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

600g plain flour

280g milk chocolate

280g plain chocolate

 Slowly bring the cream and butter to a boil in a pan

Reduce the heat and keep them warm

In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients  (not the chocolate)

Add the dry mix to the hot cream and butter

Simmer for a couple of minutes

Place the pan in a ‘bain marie’ to keep the mixture from setting

Put small heaps of the mixture on a lined baking tray

Bake for 12–15 minutes at 175*c

Place on a rack until cold

Melt the milk and dark chocolate (separately) over hot water

Dip some cookies halfway into the chocolate, coat the base of the rest

Cool on a rack

iii) Nürnberger Elisen Lebkuchen (99)

1kg ground almonds

1kg sugar

280g mixed candied peel

20g ground cinnamon

10g ground cardamon

10g ground cloves

140g flour

peel of 2 lemons

20 egg whites

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl
In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites to form peaks

Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the egg white mix to make a dense batter

Place the rice paper bases on a baking sheet

Cover each one in batter

Bake immediately at 150* for 25–30 minutes – don’t let them dry out

Chocolate glaze

Melt 300g (or more) dark, milk or white chocolate over hot water

When the cookies are cold, glaze them with either a plastic brush or dip them in the chocolate

iv) Gelee Ringe  (374)

1.5kg butter

1.05kg sugar

9 eggs

peel of 3 lemons

2.25kg flour

6 tsp baking powder

Raspberry, Redcurrant and Apricot Jam


Sieve flour and baking powder together

Add butter, eggs, sugar and lemon peel

Work into smooth dough

Cover in cling film and rest in the cold for 1 hour

Roll out the dough on a little flour to about 2 – 3 mm

Cut out cookies with a medium size cookie cutter

Count how many cookies you have

Cut a shape out of the centre of half of them.  (Use a small cutter)

Place the cookies on a lined baking sheet

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes at 180*c

v) Rum Ringlets (174)

600g flour

600g ground almonds

600g sugar

600g butter, chopped into small pieces

3 pinches of salt

3 tbs rum

Sieve the flour and mix with the sugar and ground almonds

Add the rum and butter

Work into a smooth dough

Cover in cling film and let rest in cold for an hour

Roll the dough out onto a little flour to about 5mm

Cut out rings with a 4cm (approx) cutter

Place the cookies on a lined baking tray

Bake for 8 minutes at 200*c

Allow to cool


600g icing sugar

6-12 tbsp rum

chopped almonds

 Mix icing sugar and rum to make a paste to cover the cold biscuits

Decorate with chopped almonds

vi) Zimt Sterne (220)

9 egg whites

750g icing sugar

3 tsp vanilla sugar

9 drops almond oil

3 level tsp cinnamon

1500g ground hazelnuts


Whisk egg whites until stiff, gradually add icing sugar

Take away 10 tbsp of the mixture to use later for the icing

Add the spices and ground hazelnuts to the remaining mix 

Knead to produce a smooth dough – it should not be sticky

Roll out quite thick (5 –10mm) on icing sugar – it may be easier with a sheet of baking paper covering the dough

Cut out cookies with a wet star-shaped cutter

Place cookies on a lined baking tray

Leave to dry for about 1 hour

Carefully coat the cookies with the egg white/icing sugar mix set aside earlier, taking care not to go over the edges

Leave to dry for 20 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes at 120-150*c  (The icing on top of the cookie should not change colour and the cookies should remain soft.) Cool on a cooling rack

vii) Vanille Kipferl (88)


100g ground almonds

100g ground hazelnuts

140g sugar

2 pinches of salt

400g unsalted butter

4 egg yolks

560g flour

10 tsp vanilla sugar

1 cup icing sugar

 Mix the ground almonds and hazelnuts, sugar, salt, butter and egg yolk together, kneading the butter into the mix

Gradually add the sieved flour, and knead to a smooth dough

Cover in cling film and allow to rest in a cool place for 1 hour

Cut the dough into half and form two long rolls

Cut rolls into small even sections and shape them into ‘smiles’

Place on a lined baking tray

Bake for 10–12 minutes at 180* until they are a light golden colour

Repeatedly dust with the vanilla and icing sugar mix while still warm – the biscuits will continue to absorb the sugar

viii) Sterntaler (64)  – more would be good

300g plain flour
100g sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar 

275g unsalted butter

100g ground almonds

 Preparation:Mix all ingredients into a smooth dough using a mixer and hands

Cover in cling film and leave to rest in a cool place for 1 hour

Roll out the dough on a little flour to approx 2mm

Cut out with a medium size round cookie cutter

Place on a lined baking tray

Bake for 5 minutes at 175/180*c, until a pale golden colour

Leave to cool on a cooling rack; Dust with icing sugar

ix) Croquants (115)

250g butter

250 g sugar

2 pinches of salt

1 tsp cinnamon

zest of 1 lemon

2 eggs

Cream all the above ingredients together

200 g roughly chopped hazelnuts

200 g toasted, flaked almonds – roughly chopped

500 g flour

2 whisked egg whites

Add all the above to the creamed mixture

Mix to a dough

Cover & rest in the fridge or cool place for 30 mins

Form into finger-thick rolls 4-5 cm long

Leave some straight, curl the end/s of others

Place on a lined baking tray

Brush with egg yolk

Bake at 200*c in the centre of the oven for about 15 mins

x) Coconut Macaroons (66)

 8 large egg whites

200g sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

950g sweetened shredded coconut

Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until nearly peaking

Add the sugar and vanilla while continuing to whisk on medium speed for at least 2 minutes – mixture should be foamy and the sugar mostly dissolved

Carefully and thoroughly fold in the coconut to make an even batter
Spoon 1 tbsp of batter into a pyramid shape onto lined baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart

Bake for about 20 minutes at 160*c, until lightly golden brown

Rotate the baking tray for even baking

Allow to cool completely before removing from the baking sheet

Drizzle with melted chocolate?

xi) Stuffed Medjool Dates (195)

2kg organic Medjool dates

whole almonds and walnuts



dried apricot – chopped small

rose petals

desiccated coconut

125g chocolate

Carefully slice the dates open lengthwise and remove the pip

Stuff to your heart’s content and set aside

Dip the stuffed dates into the melted chocolate

Place on a cooling rack to dry


Another successful Xmas biscuit baking day 2018

A few of us met to plan the day a couple of weeks before – we chose 12 types of biscuits to do and worked out the necessary ingredients. To save time, we made an order at Sainsburys and planned a delivery. All this was very helpful. Carolyn did a spread sheet; Helen worked out an order for the day and organised the recipes; Moira did a costco shop for some of the ingredients; Natasha ordered organic lemons and limes from Riverford; Oblaten, vanilla/almond essence, redcurrant jam, rum and vanilla sugar were in our cupboard. Between us all, we had everything we needed. On the day, December 5th, the day before St Nicholas, there were 12 of us with a few additional helpers like Theo, the baby, and Daisy, the dog.

We also had special Iranian visitors Arezoo & Mehdi who really didnt know what they were letting themselves in for but unquestioningly joined in & worked very hard. We had very conscientious focussed workers and those who preferred to take their time and make works of art. It was a helluva lot to do and we miscalculated the gelee ringe ingredients and ended up with 376 instead of 120….but somehow managed to complete the big task we’d set ourselves and cleared up by 6pm – after a 9a.m start. Very very exhausting and each year I forget how tiring it is….

Recipes (& spreadsheet) will follow