The Dunbrody House’s star chef, Kevin Dundon, shares his favourite recipes
Ingredients (makes 30):
■ 175g soft brown sugar ■ 175g treacle ■ 2 tsp ground ginger ■ ½ tsp ground cinnamon ■ ½ tsp ground cloves ■ 175g butter
■ 1 egg ■ 600g plain flour ■ 2 tsp baking powder ■ 200g royal icing to decorate ■ 1-2 drops food colouring to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. 2. Place the sugar, treacle and spices into a small saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Remove from the heat and add in the butter. 3. Cool slightly and then add in the beaten egg. 4. Stir in the sifted flour and baking powder and combine. 5. Wrap the pastry and rest in the fridge for a couple of hours at the least, but preferably overnight. 6. When you are ready to make the gingerbread men, remove the pastry from the fridge and leave it for 10-15 minutes to come back to room temperature. 7. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. 8. Roll out the pastry to a thickness of approximately ¼ inch. 9. Cut out the biscuits using your gingerbread man cutter and place onto a greased baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes. 10. You can also make bears by pinching the ears of the gingerbread men or folding their hands. 11. Prepare some royal icing in a bowl, following the package instructions, and combine with the food colouring. 12. Using a piping bag with a small nozzle, decorate the biscuits, then add some sweets or chocolate drops. Thread some ribbon through the hole to present as a gift or hang on the Christmas tree.
Ingredients (makes 10-12 trees) ■ 200g dark chocolate ■ 250g butter, softened ■ 250g caster sugar ■ 4 eggs ■ 130g plain flour ■ 100g royal icing to decorate ■ 1-2 drops green food colouring to decorate ■ 2-3 tsp silver sugar pearls to decorate
Method: 1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 22x22cm baking tray with greaseproof paper. 2. Next, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Once nearly melted, add the butter and stir until combined. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes. 3. Place the sugar and eggs in a large bowl and beat using an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. 4. Very carefully, fold the chocolate into the the egg mixture, then sift in the flour. Mix with a spatula until no pockets of flour are left. 5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tray and spread in an even layer. 6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until just soft to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside until fully cooled. 7. Next, prepare some royal icing in a bowl, following the package instructions, and combine with the food colouring. 8. Trim the edge of the brownie to obtain a neat rectangle, then cut into triangles for Christmas trees. Transfer onto a serving platter. 9. Using a piping bag with a small nozzle, decorate the brownies, then add some silver sugar pearls or sprinkles. 10. Leave aside until the icing is set. Store in an airtight container until ready to eat.
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DO you want to be a pro for Chrismas? Well, now you can with my online course. Packed with tutorials — from the best ham and perfect sides, to the most delicious desserts and canapes — I will give you the cooking confidence you need to entertain over the festive season. The course runs automatically, so you can start and stop in your own time. And you can even download and print all the recipes if you prefer to read along as you follow the instructions on the big day. For more info, check out kevindundon.com/courses.