Fig & Pistachio Baked Bean Tin Christmas Cakes

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Christmas cake is a little bit like marmite, you either love it or you hate it.  Personally, I absolutely love it.  There's nothing better than sitting down to a slab of Christmas cake and a hunk of crumbly cheese (don't knock it till you've tried it!), utter bliss.  Unfortunately, in my family I'm a minority.  There's only two of us that partake in the fruity number, often meaning a full cake goes to waste.  

Fig and pistachio Christmas cakes baked in baked bean tins.

That's where these adorable little buggers come into their own.  Not only do you get a super cute Christmas cake to enjoy, sans waste, but you also get a handful to give away as gifts.  Talk about your win win situation. 

When Waitrose contacted me, asking me to put a fun spin on a traditional Christmas cake recipe I just knew I had to bust out the baked bean tins.  

Fig and pistachio Christmas cakes baked in baked bean tins.

All you need to make these little cakes are eight mini bean tins, empty of course.  Any Christmas cake recipe will work for this method but I've included my favorite below.  There's just something about the combination of fig and pistachio that just gets me salivating. 

Fig and pistachio Christmas cakes baked in baked bean tins.

If you'd like to try out any more fun Christmas baking ideas why not check out Waitrose, Christmas puddings with a twist.

Fig & Pistachio Baked Bean Tin Christmas Cakes
(Makes 8)

Ingredients:

For the fruit base:
75g dried apricots, chopped
75g medjool dates, chopped
250g mixed dried fruit & peel
125g dried figs, chopped
100g glace cherries, halved
Zest and juice of an orange
50ml spiced rum

For the cake:
150g unsalted butter, softened
150g dark brown sugar
3tbsp honey
2 large eggs
100g pistachio nuts
225g plain flour
1tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp mixed spice

Method:
The night before you bake your cake prepare the fruit.  Place all of the dried fruits and cherries into a large bowl along with the orange zest, juice and rum.  Give it a quick stir before covering with cling film and setting aside overnight.  By the next day all the liquid should have been absorbed and the fruit nicely plump with booze.

Preheat the oven to 150C and line your mini bean tins with baking parchment, make sure the paper comes a few inches above the rim of the tins.  

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition then pour in the honey.  Mix in the flour and spices followed by the soaked fruit and pistachio nuts until evenly distributed.  Fill each tin to just below the rims and bake for 1hr 30mins until dark brown and firm to the touch.  Allow to cool in the tins.

Once cool tip the little cakes out of their tins, drizzle a teaspoon of spiced rum over each cake before wrapping them in a layer of baking paper followed by a layer of tin foil.  Keep in a dark place, feeding with half a teaspoon of rum per cake until ready to decorate.

To decorate your cakes simply level with a bread knife and top with a thin layer of marzipan and fondant icing.  Jazz them up with some cute Christmas decorations, wrap with cellophane and ribbons and spread the joy.





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Mars Bar Stuffed Cookies

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If there's one thing that owning a bakery has taught me it's that there isn't anything quite as satisfying as stuffing sweet treats inside bigger sweet treats.  It's a madness really, is there anything that won't go inside a cookie? I'm dying to find out.

What better way to indulge your sweet tooth than stuffing a mars bar into a chocolate chip cookie.

If you haven't tried a hot Mars Bar you seriously haven't lived.  When I was young I'd often be found melting the chocolate bars in the microwave and slobbering over a spoon of molten caramel and nougat.  I've never forgotten how utterly amazing it tasted and since I no longer own a microwave I figured stuffing them into cookies and eating hot from the oven is the next best thing.

What better way to indulge your sweet tooth than stuffing a mars bar into a chocolate chip cookie.

Now I've gone and rammed a chocolate bar into a cookie, my brain is working overtime on new combinations.  Snickers in a peanut butter cookie, a brownie in a chocolate cookie.  The possibilities for me getting fatter are endless. 

What better way to indulge your sweet tooth than stuffing a mars bar into a chocolate chip cookie.

Mars Bar Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 12

Ingredients:
275g unsalted butter, softened
225g light brown sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
250g plain flour
200g chocolate chips
3 Mars Bars chopped into quarters

Method:
Preheat oven to 175C and line two baking sheets with parchment.

In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract, mixing well between each addition.  Add the flour and mix until combined, stir through the chocolate chips.

Roll the cookie dough into 24 equal balls, around the size of a walnut.  Press a piece of Mars Bar into one of the balls, top with another ball and encase the Mars Bar in dough.  Flatten sightly and place on the prepared baking sheet, do the same with the remaining dough ensuring to leave enough room between the cookies to allow for spreading.

Bake for 15 - 18 minutes until starting to turn brown around the edges.  Allow to cool for five minute before pouring yourself a glass of milk and digging in.

What better way to indulge your sweet tooth than stuffing a Mars Bar into a chocolate chip cookie

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