gingerbread cupcakes

i'm not going to lie, i'm a little bit obsessed with gingerbread yet i never seem to find a reason to make it, but... cue christmas, the time of year when indulging your hearts desires is perfectly normal. so, i had an idea the other day to whip up a gingerbread house completely from scratch, because i've always wanted to make one myself and you know - two birds, one stone. but as life would have it, making a gingerbread house from scratch is much easier said than done, so as i stood looking at my completely miserable attempt at 2am i decided gingerbread houses just aren't my forte. 

then came the next idea, a much more practical one if i do say myself, a fusion between two of my obsessions - gingerbread and cupcakes. these cupcakes are super delicous, moist, pack a punch of flaour and best of all they look adorable! if you're craving gingerbread this holiday season too, i hope you'll give these guys a go - they won't disappoint.

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the recipe

recipe makes 12 cupcakes

cupcakes

preheat the oven to 160oC / 140oC fan-forced. in a microwave safe bowl, melt together the butter, chocolate, sugar, milk, vanilla and syrup in 30 second intervals stirring between each burst until smooth. cool for 15 minutes. once cooled, add in the egg and whisk to combine. in a separate mixing bowl, combine the two flours and two spices. add the combined wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in thirds, incorporating slowly and gently, you want to do this by hand as you don’t want to incorporate any air into the mixture. once the mixture is prepared, divide it amongst 12 cupcake liners filling each one two-thirds full. place the cupcakes on the bottom shelf of the oven, and bake for 30-40 minutes rotating the trays halfway through. cool completely before frosting.

frosting

in a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and cream in 30 second intervals, stirring thoroughly between each burst to make a ganache. set in the fridge to cool for 30minutes, or until thick and creamy. whip the butter for 5 minutes or until pale in colour. slowly incorporate the icing sugar until you have a thick buttercream. add the the cooled ganache and whip until soft and smooth. use a piping bag and nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes, add some sprinkles for extra interest. chill cupcakes before serving, top with a gingerbread cookie and enjoy.

i'd love to see your creations, if you make these delicious cupcakes share them with me by using  the hashtag #mrtimothyjames on social media.

are you obsessed with gingerbread too? have you ever tried to make a gingerbread house from scratch? leave me a comment below!

love and cupcakes timothy xx

white christmas trees

there's not a lot to say about this recipe really, it's probably the most simple thing you could ever throw together and yet it tastes fantastic and with this clever little idea of turning it into a tree it looks even better. i'm a big fan of white christmas, i like to think of it as an adult version of chocolate crackles (not that chocolate crackles can't be enjoyed by adults, but you get me... they're a bit daggy) with this flavour combo of turkish delight, pistachios and craisins - it couldn't be more festive.

this recipe is perfect for christmas gifting, you can whip up a mix or two in no time at all and the cute cone trees make a delicious little gift perfect for a friend or colleague. picture them wrapped up in cellophane or displayed on a dessert table or even down the centre of the christmas table as an after dinner treat.

the recipe

recipe makes 5 trees

white christmas

in a large bowl, combine the dry ‘mix’ ingredients and stir to evenly distribute.

in a microwave safe jug, melt the copha and white chocolate in 30 second bursts, stirring thoroughly after each burst until fully melted. allow to cool.

create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the melted chocolate mix, stir to combine.

pack the mixture into the ‘tree’ cones, tapping the sides of the cone gently to ensure the mixture reaches the tip. place the cones tip down into drinking glasses and refrigerate overnight.

alternatively you can spoon the mixture into cupcake papers to create individual serving portions.


i hope these visuals help you when you're making these cute little trees, i promise you it's not difficult and the result is totally worth it. grab the recipe card and template below and give it a go yourself!

ever made white christmas? what's your go-to christmas treat you like to bake? tell me all the things in the comments below!

with love, timothy x

#thatgivingfeeling

it's no secret that while many of us look forward to the extravagance of christmas and all that it offers, there are others within our communities that are less fortunate than us. for many, christmas is a time of giving and sharing, of joy and laughter and happy memories; unfortunately that isn't the case in every family. some just aren't as blessed as we are and for them christmas can be lonely, that's why it's so important to remember others during this festive time and if we can - give back to them. enter the kmart wishing tree appeal, a chance to give back and show others that they are not alone this christmas. 

the idea behind the appeal is that gifts are purchased or made by those who are able, to be given to those in need. at this time of year there is always a need to spread more joy and cheer and the kmart wishing tree is an easy way to do just that - bring a little more magic into the world. 

how you can participate.

you can make a financial contribution - online and in-store.

you can give a gift - by simply attaching a wishing tree tag to a gift and placing under the tree in any kmart store.

you can purchase a bauble gift tag - for a $1 donation to the appeal you can purchase a stylish gift tag to add to your gifts this year. not only do they look fab, but they add a little magic to your gift because your recipient will know you made a donation on their behalf.

you can host a fundraiser - organise your own event such as a gold coin donation morning tea at your workplace or school and donate the proceeds to the appeal.

how distribution works. 

the funds raised from cash donations and coin collections are given to the kmart wishing tree charity partners 'the salvation army' and 'mission australia' to fund such things as christmas lunch, basic necessities, education expenses and shelter.

the gifts received in kmart stores are collected by the charity partners and then distributed to less fortunate families. parents are given the choice to select from the gift pool the items which will best suits their families needs this christmas. 

how to give a gift.

kmart on behalf of their charity partners, accept any new gifts for donation - they can be purchased from any retailer or handmade. all gifts are checked for suitability by the charity partners before being passed on for donation, so it's best to donate an unwrapped gift or consider a gift box or bag for easy re-wrapping.

step one - take your gift to your local kmart store

step two - take a tag from wishing tree, fill it out, attach one half to your gift - keep the other to hang on your tree, and place the gift under the tree or in the drop off sleigh.

step three - share that giving feeling with others by sharing a pic or your story on social media using the hashtags #kmartwishingtree and/or #thatgivingfeeling

the wishing tree is an awesome way to teach kids about the importance of giving, and the wishing tree tags are designed to help them understand that they really have helped someone else. the tags are designed to tear away to two parts - one for the gift and one for your tree. the idea behind this is much like a best friend locket, in the fact that on christmas day both you and the person who receives your gift will be looking at one half of the same tag.

do you have a christmas tradition for giving back? what's your favourite thing to do to get that giving feeling? tell me all of the things in the comments below.

timothy x