Recipe Talk: Festive Edition

Christmas Cookies
What better way to get into the festive spirit than to spend some quality time with the kids in the kitchen whipping up some Christmassy treats? These tasty, seasonal cookies are just perfect for little hands. There’s plenty they can do to help, from rolling out the dough to cutting out the cookie shapes. And, not forgetting the really fun part, the decorating! Why not encourage them to get really creative with the icing designs? Yum!

For the cookies (makes approximately 15 cookies)
  • 150 g of unsalted butter, softened
  • 70 g of caster sugar
  • 150 g of wheat flour
  • 75 g of rice or potato flour
For the frosting
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2/3 cups of powdered sugar
Food colouring
You’ll also need a Christmas tree-shaped – or similarly festive – cookie cutter!
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and caster sugar together until they’re well combined. Add the flour through a sieve (to avoid any lumps!) and mix everything together. Cover the bowl in foil and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out to ½ cm thickness on a floured surface. Using your cookie cutter, cut out as many Christmas tree shapes as you can. Place each tree on a baking tray, lined with buttered baking paper, being careful that no shapes touch.
  • Place the cookies into the middle of your preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then increase the temperature to 180ºC and bake for a further 5-8 minutes, or until the cookies have taken on a beautiful, lightly golden colour.
  • Take the cookies out of the oven and leave to cool on a baking rack.
  • To make the icing, mix the lemon juice and powdered sugar until the mixture has achieved a thick paste-like consistency – be careful not to add too much lemon juice or the icing will be too liquidy. Add a few drops of food colouring, if the fancy takes you, at this point.
  • Decorate the cookies using icing, candy and sprinkles. (You could always cheat and use ready-prepared icing off the shelf – we won’t tell anybody!)
Recipe contributed by FIELDS (, your online grocery store for safe food in China. You can find the ingredients for above recipe and all seasonal Christmas goodies like Chocolate Santas, Christmas trees and decorations on their website.
Christmas Fruitcake
This season, Chef Terry, from The Peninsula Shanghai, is passing on his Grandmother’s famous fruitcake recipe. This artisanal Christmas fruitcake is made from handpicked dried fruits soaked in Cognac and is based on a British family recipe passed down through generations. Lucky us!
For the fruit
  • 180 ml brandy
  • 240 ml pineapple juice
  • 1 kg currants
  • 500 g golden raisins
  • 500 g raisins
  • 500 g citron
  • 250 g dates (chopped)
  • 250 g orange peel
  • 500 g tart cherries
For the cake
  • 2 cups broken pecans
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 12 egg whites
  • 500 g butter
  • 240 ml buttermilk (or 120 milk and 120 yogurt)
  • 240ml molasses or black treacle
  • 500 g flour
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup red or black currant jelly
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Mix the fruit with the brandy and pineapple juice. Let the mixture soak at least overnight If not, longer.
  • Sift dry ingredients 3 times and set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer, and then add the yolks and molasses. Beat well after each addition.
  • Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk in thirds. Mix until combined and set aside.
  • Using your hands, mix the currant jelly into the marinated fruit mixture until combined.
  • Add the broken pecans into the marinated fruit mixture.
  • Fold in the cake batter, with your hands, until well combined.
  • Whip the egg whites into stiff peaks and fold into the fruitcake batter.
  • Pour mixture into paper lined loaf pans.
  • Preheat oven to 120 ºC. Place a pan of water into the bottom of the oven to help stop the cake from drying out.
  • Bake for about 2 to 3 hours, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Recipe contributed by The Peninsula Shanghai ( The hotel is sharing the festive family spirit with a memorable menu of Yuletide events and promotions to celebrate the joy of giving during the Christmas period.