Christmas pudding is highly offensive in my book, so I always come up with an alternative to serve up after the main course on Christmas Day. There’s enough to think about when you’re juggling a large roast dinner, so a make-ahead dessert is crucial.
In my role as a Sainsbury’s Christmas Ambassador I’ve got a winning Christmas dessert for all you Christmas Pudding haters out there! It involves chocolate, naturally, is topped with ultra festive looking gold leaf and has some cheeky crunchy home made almond cookies on the side for dunking purposes.
It looks stunning but is dead simple to make – vital qualities in a dessert that needs to impress on a special occasion. And if you’re really pushed for time you could always buy some posh shortbread shapes instead of making my cookies (shhhhh I didn’t really say that)
Chocolate cinnamon pots with almond star cookies
For the chocolate cinnamon pots
285ml double cream
25g caster sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon extract
200g chocolate, broken into pieces (milk or dark or mix of both)
2 eggs, separated
gold leaf to decorate
For the almond star cookies
50g butter, softened
50g caster sugar
100g plain flour
2 tbsp ground almonds
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Icing sugar, to dust
1. To make the chocolate pots: pour the cream, caster sugar and cinnamon extract into a saucepan and heat gently, giving it the odd stir, until just about to boil. Remove from the heat.
2. Tip the chocolate pieces into the hot cream mixture and stir until melted. Then beat in the egg yolks, followed by the butter until your mixture is smooth and glossy.
3. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until fluffy and peaks form, then pour in the chocolate mixture and fold together with a large metal spoon until thoroughly combined. You don’t want any bits of egg white lurking.
4. Pour into four pretty containers of your choice – tea cups and espresso cups work well with saucers to put your cookies on when you serve them – and then put in the fridge to chill for 3-4 hours until firm.
5. To make the almond star cookies: cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until smooth and pale. Add the flour, almonds, egg and vanilla and mix until your cookie dough forms. If it’s too sticky add a little more flour. Form into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 45-60 mins.
6. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Take the cookie dough out of the fridge, flour a work surface and then roll out to a 3mm thickness. Stamp out star shapes – in a mixture of sizes if you like – then carefully place on a lined baking sheet using a palette knife. Put the tray in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up the cookie dough again and ensure they keep their shape when cooking.
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden, then cool on a wire rack. Keep in a sealed container if you’re prepping this dessert in advance.
8. Take the chocolate cinnamon pots out of the fridge 30 minutes before you want to serve them so they can come to room temperature and decorate with a little gold leaf. Dust the cookies with a little icing sugar then place a couple on each saucer and serve.
Head over to Sainsbury’s Live Well For Less Christmas Days website for some more brilliant recipes, tips and ideas.