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Chocolate Cranberry Scone Wreath

Here is a fun bake I think would be a great centrepiece for a Christmas coffee morning or playdate with friends and family. It is so easy to make but has a really festive look which you could decorate further with drizzled chocolate and red and green sprinkles perhaps. My wreath of chocolate cranberry scones was just decorated with sugar and extra cranberries, and looked quite simple but effective all the same.

Chocolate Cranberry Scone Wreath
Your visitors can grab their own scone from the wreath, so it’s almost like a really simple version of a tear and share loaf. Brilliant for kids and adults alike. Serve with butter, clotted cream and jams on the side for an even tastier treat.

Chocolate Cranberry Scone Wreath
I’ll definitely be making another wreath like this soon, perhaps plain scones with white chocolate, pistachio and dried cranberries for some really festive colours.

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Recipe:

415 g self raising flour
35 g cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
110 g butter
60 g caster sugar
300 ml milk
115 g fresh cranberries
45 g dark chocolate, chopped
More cranberries to go on top of the scones before baking

Method:
Mix together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.
Rub in the butter.
Stir in the sugar then the milk to make a soft dough.
Stir in the cranberries and chocolate chunks.
Knead gently.
Roll out to about an inch thick and cut out rounds. Place the scones in a circle or oval shape on a lined baking tray. Press a few extra cranberries into the top of each scone, and dust with caster sugar.
If you have extra mixture after forming your wreath, you could make a hand-shaped large scone to go on the side.
Bake at 180 degrees for approx 25 minutes or until firm and brown on top.
Allow to cool on the tray, and only try to move the wreath when it is fully cool. Decorate as desired!

Chocolate Cranberry Scone Wreath

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Cranberry and Almond Viennese Whirl Mince Pies

These mince pies were mainly baked so I could take part in the Sunday Baking Club’s Technical Challenge Week last Sunday, which had the theme of Mince Pies. You can find the Sunday Baking Club here and on Twitter @SundayBakeClub.

Cranberry mince pies

Baking fans across the country bake to the theme on a Sunday and then share pictures of their bakes on Twitter. The best ten are chosen by the Sunday Baking Club, and then votes are cast to choose who wins the Golden Spoon!

Cranberry mince pies

I’ve never made Viennese whirl biscuits before but I’ve seen mince pies topped with Viennese whirls and thought they looked great so decided to try them out. The mincemeat I used was Cranberry Mincemeat from the Waitrose Christmas range. It has a lovely red colour and tastes wonderful, and is ideal to give a bit of a twist to your mince pies. I added some French almond extract to the Viennese whirl mixture for a lovely contrast in flavour to the cranberry mincemeat. The pastry I made was a shortcrust pastry that didn’t take long at all.

Cranberry mince pies

Piping the Viennese whirl mixture onto the mince pies was much more fun than topping them with a pastry lid, and didn’t take too much extra time. I’ll definitely be making them again! My children also thought they looked good and weren’t averse to eating a few either… I have frozen the rest for us to enjoy over Christmas!

Cranberry mince pies

Recipe:
For the pastry
200 g plain flour
100 g butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg
If needed, 1 tbsp cold water

For the Viennese whirl topping
150 g butter, softened
40 g icing sugar
150 g plain flour
0.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp almond extract

1 jar (400 g) of cranberry mincemeat

Method:
Rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Stir in the caster sugar, and then pour in the egg. Use your hands to bring the dough together. If needed, add a little cold water to help it come together. Do not over knead, this keeps the pastry short.
Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in clingfilm, and chill it in the fridge for about half an hour.
Next, make the Viennese whirl topping. Using a wooden spoon, beat together the butter and icing sugar until it is very soft and fluffy.
Add the flour, baking powder and almond extract and mix together thoroughly. Spoon into a piping bag with a star nozzle fitted onto it.
Roll out the pastry and use a cutter to cut out circles that fit your mince pie or muffin tin.
Grease each hole in the tin then press in the pastry gently.
Place a couple of teaspoons of the mincemeat in each pastry base.
Pipe the Viennese whirl topping onto the mince pies in swirls, as if you were icing cupcakes.

Cranberry mince pies

Bake at 180 degrees for approximately 25 minutes until the whirls have risen and are golden brown.

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Allow to cool, then serve cold, or warm with cream.

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