Rebecca Raisin’s books are full of yumminess so it’s no surprise that her Christmasses are too! In light of today’s competition to win a copy of A Gingerbread Cafe Christmas, plus a Brogdale Hanami Picnic (Japanese celebration of Blossom) worth £125, here’s the author/kitchen whizz herself to tell us all about her fave recipes… and epic fails! (Well, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and eat all those calories again!)
“When I think about Christmas I have to admit close to the top of the list is the foodie aspect! So of course, when I had the idea to write a Christmas novel, I wanted to feature all those lovely festive recipes, and what better way to do that than have the main character own a Gingerbread Café?
I had so much fun researching recipes so I could describe the dishes on the menu, specifically the sweet treats. It goes without saying after spending hours scrolling through so many tempting morsels, I had to bake some myself. I called it “research”. I attempted everything from gingerbread man shaped truffles, to a gingerbread house. Surely any calories consumed in those bake-fests don’t count? I was researching!
After having my little boys, the magic of Christmas weaved its way into our lives more than ever. And writing about it and all the glorious food only added to that. In A Gingerbread Café Christmas the girls make the café a one stop shop for every festive need, and so the Mason jar presents were born. Whatever my fictional best friends did, I wanted to do too! I’d seen a range of Mason jar gifts online and thought they were the cutest idea ever.
I still make these every year for friends and school teachers, and it’s a really cute sweet home-made gift. You can do any combination but I make Gingerbread men in a jar. So all you do is add the dry ingredients for gingerbread men cookies, and on a little note handwrite the recipe, and tie with some festive ribbon and a gingerbread man cookie cutter. I don’t think there’s anything as nice as getting a gift that someone has made especially for you.
The girl from the Gingerbread Cafe manage to keep their cool most of the time in the kitchen, sadly that cannot be said for me. I’ve had some epic baking disasters, usually caused by my inability to follow a recipe. When I attempted to temper chocolate all the steps about checking the heat got a little too mathematical for me, so I just dipped a finger into the gooey mix and deemed it perfect. Sadly it was not. It was as though I could hear CeeCee telling me off, “What you mean you didn’t use the thermometer to test it? You fall off the back of a watermelon truck, or somethin’?” I hung my head, and admitted my folly to my fictional character who was only in the kitchen with me in sprit.
I often think of the girls as if they’re real, and around November start thinking about what they’d be baking in the café in lead up to Christmas. This year Candy Cane Milkshakes are on the menu. So what’s a girl to do except try and make them herself and see if they’re as good as they look… With my sous chefs, Jax and Will, we attempted the following recipe, but made a few tweaks because the mini-chefs claimed you couldn’t have a milkshake without marshmallows, and I had to agree.
But instead of peppermint extract I added chopped candy canes to the mix before I blitzed it, and we also sprinkled crushed candy canes on top of the marshmallows. The mini chefs loved it! And it was simple enough that any tweaks I made didn’t mess it up! I’m sure Lil and CeeCee from the Gingerbread Café would be proud of me.
From our kitchen to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas…
Love Bec xxx”
Thanks Rebecca! Don’t forget, to win a copy of A Gingerbread Cafe Christmas, plus a Brogdale Hanami Picnic (Japanese celebration of Blossom) worth £125, enter today’s 12 Days Of Christmas competition on our Facebook page. Or buy the book here.