02/12/2014 17:01 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Alternative Christmas Puddings: Christmas Sweet Treats Tried And Tasted


Christmas puds and mince pies aren't to everyone's taste, especially children: younger palates can find them too rich and spicy. So what are the alternatives?

We took a festive trolley dash around some of Britain's biggest supermarkets to sweep up a random selection of festive bakes and cakes – and then got our children to try and taste them.


Keith Kendrick

Store: Widely available

Price: £5.49

Serves: Cuts into around 15 portions

What it says on the box: Chocolate cake covered in Mini Smarties, Little Rolo, Munchies and White Chocolate Stars. Perfect for sharing!

How to serve: Slice up into squares, watch in horror as the kids swoop like vultures, wash their chocolately fudgy faces off with soap and water.

Kids' verdict: 'Mind-blowingly awesome', 'I love you, dad', 'Can we get get it again?'

Parents' verdict: This filled my three children's after-dinner pud needs five days running. They absolutely loved it. A squidgy-tastic tray of gooey chocolately loveliness, topped with their favourite sweets. What's not to like? Heaven in a tray.

Festive treat rating (out of five): 5


Keith Kendrick

Store: Iceland

Price: £1

Serves: About 8 portions

What it says on the box: A soft chocolate flavour sponge with a chocolate flavoured filling and coating.
How to serve: Slice into rounds and serve on napkins because there's quite a lot of cracked chocolate debris from the coating.

Kids' verdict: 'Squidgy', 'Marshmallowy', 'Mmmmm....chocolate'.

Parents' verdict: Astonishingly good value for a quid. A moist light sponge with a smooth chocolate filling. Lovely tea-time treat, though let down aesthetically.

Festive treat rating: 4


Keith kendrick

Store: Tesco

Price: £4.99

Serves: 8 kids

What it says on the box: All you need to decorate a delicious gingerbread house

How to serve: Spend an hour building it, a minute demolishing it.

Kids' verdict: 'I wish we could live in it', 'It's almost too good to eat', 'Don't be ridiculous, let's trash it'

Parents' verdict: Flatpack furniture in biscuit form! The house comes disassembled in the box, with gingerbread walls and roof, ready to be stuck together with icing sugar paste and then decorate with icing and sweets.

It was a brilliant way to keep the kids occupied and amused on a wet and windy afternoon. They happily spent an hour or more taking great pride in building the house and decorating it in such a beautiful way it would make Kirstie Allsop proud.

But child number 2 was right: it did look too good to eat and it seemed like a huge shame when the kids started to hack into it. Ho, ho, NO! The gingerbread itself was crisp and biscuity, although it had a bit of a synthetic taste – not that that bothered the kids one iota.

Festive treat rating: 5


Keith Kendrick

Store: Tesco

Price: £2.50

Serves: 2 Christmas tree shaped cookies

What it says on the box: Create a treat: kit includes 2 tree cookies, 1 icing tube and sprinkles

How to serve: Make it look festive and pretty, eat

Kids' verdict: 'What's the point of decorating it if you're just going to eat it straight away?', 'Do I have to share mine?' 'We should put it on top of our Christmas tree'

Parents' verdict: Child 1 had a point: it took about a minute to decorate and then another minute to eat. I managed to grab a bite before the children devoured it. The taste wasn't gingernutty enough and the texture was on the soft side – more cakey than biscuity. All in all, a bit of a waste of time.

Festive treat rating: 2


Keith Kendrick

Store: Morrisons

Price: £1.39

Serves: 5

What it says on the box: Soft and fruity, with a soft marzipan layer and a splash of rum

How to serve: Open the packet, stand back, watch kids' eyes roll into the back of their heads with pleasure.

Kids' verdict: 'Tastes like ice cream' (they don't). 'I want to cram two into my mouth at the same time' 'Urrgh, I hate marzipan' (you can't please everyone).

Parents' verdict: Moist and more-ish with a very pleasant almond flavour. Good finger-food texture which means they don't break apart when you hold them with one hand – perfect for munching while multi-tasking.

Festive treat rating: 4


Keith Kendrick

Store: Waitrose

Price: £3.50

Serves: 6

What it says on the box: 'Dreaming of a white Christmas? My moreish mince pies come with a sachet of tangerine flavoured sugar for dusting on top'

How to serve: Sprinkle tangerine sugar over the top, warm in the oven, serve on a plate with a dollop of brandy cream.

Kids' verdict: 'OK'. 'Not my favourite'. One was left half-eaten, which I scoffed in a thrice.

Parents' verdict: These feature in this taste test because, even though they're described as mince pies, they are nothing like mince pies we have ever had. They're more like deep, savoury shortcrust biscuits packed with the taste of Christmas. They are beyond moreish. Utterly sublime. My wife and I have sent out for emergency supplies so we can have one every night before they run out.

Festive treat rating: 5+


Keith Kendrick

Store: Lidl

Price: £2.99

Serves: 8-10

What it says on the box: Mit feiner Butter und Mandelm (translation: with Sultanas and Marzipan)

How to serve: Slice like bread and munch.

Kids' verdict: 'I just licked the icing sugar off the top'. 'Can I put butter on it?' 'Urrgh, more raisins'.

Parents' verdict: So-so. Very bready and dry so have to agree with Child 2 – a slathering of butter would have moistened the experience. A bit left field, but this would make a great base for a bread and butter pudding.

Festive treat rating: 2


Keith Kendrick

Store: Marks and Spencer

Price: £4

Serves: 2

What it says on the box: As seen on TV

How to serve: Tap to crack the outer chocolate shell, then stick your spoon in

Kids' verdict: 'Bitter', 'It's sticking to the roof of my mouth', 'I could eat three of these in one go'

Parents' verdict: These chocolate jaffa spheres have been raved about on the telly and in newspapers. Do they justify the hype? They are certainly luxurious - so rich and creamy and unctuous that one was enough to satisfy two of us. The chocolate filling is dark, deep and velvety; the orangey bit in the middle is jammy and gooey and tastes exactly like centre of a jaffa cake. It was too rich for my wife's taste but I thought they were delectable - though only for very rare, special occasions.

Festive treat rating: 4


Keith Kendrick

Store: Aldi

Price: £1.99

Serves: 6

What it says on the box: With juicy raisins, almonds, mixed citrus peel and a delicious marzipan centre.

How to serve: Let the kids raid the box when they get home from school

Kids' verdict: 'Moreish', 'Awesome with a glass of milk', 'More raisins!!!'

Parents' verdict: Great little snack-sized nuggets with a moist, moreish texture that has a delicious almondy vanilla flavour. Fab sweet canapés that will keep your guests happen whle you get on with the turkey.

Festive treat rating: 4


Keith Kendrick

Store: Iceland

Price: £1

Serves: 1-2

What it says on the box: An individual pudding with sultanas, raisins, currants and a toffee sauce.

How to serve: There were no steaming or boiling instructions, and I don't own a microwave as per instructions (cook for just 50 seconds, apparently). I decided to steam mine for an hour, based on the fact that Iceland's £2 Christmas pudding delivered excellent results with this method. Once cooked, plop onto a plate and serve with a dollop of brandy cream

Kids' verdict: 'Sloppy', 'Tastes like Yuck', 'If I see another raisin I'm leaving home'

Parents' verdict: The kids don't lie: this is a mini sloppy horror show. Texture was like gruel: a wet, loose, gloopy sludge of vine fruits overpowered by a totally unnecessary toffee sauce.

Festive treat rating: 1.5 (based on benefit of doubt re: cooking instructions as the consistency may have been improved by using a microwave).