So good husband that he is, off he went without complaint to replace them. Two stores later, he arrived home with new fancy, LED lights still cheerful and ready to finally get our Christmas cheer on. Or not. Three of the four strands have lit up the tree beautifully. He tried moving them all around to stretch out the coverage but it there just isn't enough lights so at the moment we have a big dark spot in the centre of the tree. It's too late now to return them for a new set, so the tree decorating will have to resume tomorrow night.
Tree woes aside, I am feeling pretty chuffed with a few of things I whipped up in the kitchen over the weekend. I wanted to test run a few make-ahead recipes that would be perfect for Christmas morning. I'm happy to report that they were successful and deemed blog-worthy by my gang of taste testing elves. This sweet start to your day is festive in appearance and goes well with a cup of coffee or tea. Perfect to enjoy while exchanging gifts on Christmas morning. If you like, you can make it a week before and freeze it until you're ready to bake it. The dough comes together with a fork and a bit of light kneading. And, if you're not fussy on apricot, change it up. How about cherry or strawberry filling instead? It bakes up quickly into an impressive presentation. Nobody needs to know just how easy it really was...that can be our little secret.
Apricot Almond Biscuit Wreath with Orange Glaze
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cold butter, cubed
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup apricot jam
1/2 cup sliced almonds plus more for garnish
For the glaze:
1/3 cup icing sugar
3 tbsp orange juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together, Next, cut in the cubed butter using a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk one of the eggs with the buttermilk and pour over the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until soft, ragged dough is formed. With floured hands, form into ball and turn out onto lightly floured counter. Knead dough about 10 times. Flour rolling pin and proceed to roll dough out into a 16 x 10 rectangle.
Leaving a 1cm border around edge of dough, spread surface with the apricot jam. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the almonds over jam covered dough.
Now, starting at the long side of the dough, proceed to roll up dough, taking care to pinching ends slightly to seal.
Using a serrated knife, slice the dough log into 1 inch thick slices. Arrange the slices, cut side up on the prepared pan, slightly overlapping each piece as you go to create a round wreath. If you're making this ahead, at this point slide tray into freezer until dough is firm. Remove from freezer and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then over-wrap with heavy duty foil. Will keep for one week. When ready to bake, remove wrap and allow to thaw in fridge. Add 10 minutes to baking time.
In small bowl, beat remaining egg and brush over wreath. Bake in centre of oven for 15-20 minutes until golden and puffed.
Meanwhile, whisk icing sugar and orange juice together in small bowl. While the wreath is still warm, drizzle with glaze and scatter almonds on top for garnish.