Festive winter picnic recipes

Mince pies
Rustle up some mince pies and take them on your festive picnic (Photo: iStock.com/john shepherd)

These scrummy festive treats are perfect to pack for your winter picnic - or even for a Boxing Day walk.

Mini mince pies

Christmas just isn’t Christmas without some mince pies. And they’re easy to make –especially if you cheat a bit!

You will need:

  • ready-rolled short crust pastry
  • jar of mincemeat
  • pastry cutter, and a set of small Christmas-themed cutters
  • icing sugar to sprinkle
  • a mini tartlet baking tin.

1. Heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.

2. Cut out the pie bases and line the holes in the tin.

3. Fill each about ¾ full of mincemeat.

4. Use the left-over pastry to cut out some Christmas shapes to decorate the pies.

5. Bake until the pastry is golden and the mincemeat is bubbling.

6. Sprinkle them with icing sugar for a frosty effect.

No-bake Christmas cake bites (makes 8-10 bites)

These mini cakes are delicious and easy-peasy to make.

You will need:

  • 200g dried fruit mix
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 50g crystallised ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • the grated rind and juice of an orange.

For the topping:

  • ready-to-roll marzipan
  • ready-to-roll fondant icing
  • coloured icing pens (depending on how you want to decorate your cakes)
  • coloured balls.

Put all the ingredients, apart from the orange juice, into a food processor and get your grown-up to whizz it up for you. If the mixture seems too dry to clump together, add a little of the orange juice. Then shape it into small cakes.

Now you can go to town on the decoration! As well as the traditional topping of a layer of marzipan and a layer of icing, you could add some festive designs. Perhaps draw a holly leaf with a green icing pen and add a couple of red balls for berries, make a star shape with silver balls, or draw a snowflake with a pale blue icing pen.

Christmas biscuit recipes

Christmas tree biscuits and snowflake biscuits
Create some Christmas biccies! (Photo: iStock.com/pilipphoto)

Biscuits are a perfect snack for a winter walk so why not try our easy Christmas biscuit recipes too? We've got loads of tasty ideas - from robin-shaped snacks to 3D Christmas tree party showstoppers - so there's something for everyone.

Plus, these super simple ideas are fun to decorate, and they make great presents too! A perfect stocking filler for mum, dad, gran, grandad... You could even leave one out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve...

Melted snowman cakes

Preparing snowmen cakes
Whip up these melted snowman cakes (Photo: iStock.com/ThitareeSarmkasat)

These little snowmen are almost too cute to eat. They’re really yummy though, so you won’t be able to resist!

You will need:

  • 175g softened butter
  • 175g sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2tsp vanilla essence
  • 12 fairy cake cases

To decorate:

  • 400g icing sugar
  • white marshmallows
  • black icing pen
  • strawberry laces

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.

2. Mix the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with a fork or hand mixer until light and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs and vanilla slowly, mixing all the time.

4. Fold in the flour.

5. Half fill the cases with the mixture and bake for 20 minutes, or until they are golden. Then let them cool down.

To decorate, mix the icing sugar with a little water to make a paste and spread it over the cakes. It doesn’t matter if it’s messy as the snowmen are meant to be melting so let it run over the sides a bit. Draw eyes and a mouth on the marshmallow with the icing pen and stick it onto the cake before the icing sets. Then draw a line of buttons on the icing. Finally, wrap round a strawberry lace to make a scarf.

We’d love to see some pictures of the festive snacks you’ve made. And you could share your favourite Christmas recipes by using #NatureDetectives.

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