These whisky and ginger truffles make an excellent homemade Christmas gift and are pretty easy to make, save from covering yourself in melted chocolate as you roll them into balls! I sadly also found out last week that they are extremely comforting after I had to say goodbye to my faithful feline friend Erin. Her final vets bill will no doubt result in everyone getting homemade gifts for Christmas this year and possibly 2015……..
This apple & walnut chutney was a hit last Christmas and I am very behind with the edible gift preperations this year so it’s making its second appearance in the hampers! I’m not really getting into my usual Christmas spirit but had to get a wriggle on with chutney making so that it had time to mature before the festive season hits. This one is great with cheeses and cold meats too. I will bring you the recipe for the savoury biscuits shortly.
My workmate Selwyn recently wowed everyone in the office with her amazing chocolate macarons; a surprise raspberry hidden in the centre amongst the chocolate ganache. I immediately demanded her recipe and have spent a good few weeks tearing my hair out every time I removed batch upon batch of wrinkly chocolate biscuits from the oven but finally my tenacity paid off and I seem to have cracked it! I’m not entirely sure what ‘it’ is in the mastering of macarons but it seems my oven is uneven in its distribution of heat and so a few crinkles are still evident on the biscuits at far flung corners of the baking trays but they all taste the same.
In my research I found some very useful templates courtesy of http://www.puregourmandise.com to place under your baking parchment to get uniform piped circles. Click here for small 3.5cm templates and here for medium 5cm templates. I discovered these saved time drawing round a shot glass and you can just slip the template out after piping and reuse.
Here is a last post of 2014 before I head to Cornwall for the holidays. This is another good edible gift idea which I like to present in glass jars with a ribbon or great to offer to guests who pop in for a cuppa over the festive period. Lebkuchen are a traditional German soft spiced gingerbread biscuit glazed with icing sugar and water. You can also dip the bottoms in dark chocolate to make them even more yummy.
These Romkugler are not rum truffles in the conventional sense, I guess they are most likely the original cake pop. Created by Danish bakers as a way to use up left over cake, this recipe uses porridge oats instead of cake but you can substitute the oats for cake for a more authentic rum ball. These are quick to whizz together if you have a processor and are easy – if a little messy – to make. This recipe is taken from Signe Johansen’s book Scandilicious Baking.
I have adapted the pastry from this BBC Good Food recipe ‘Unbelievably Easy Mince Pies’ by adding some egg to make it possible to roll out. It is a very short sweet pastry but it is very forgiving. If you have problems with pastry, my method does require some patience when rolling out as it can’t be too cold or too warm and it does have a tendency to crack/stick if not well floured. By all means follow the original recipe which is not meant to be rolled out but formed freehand in the patty tins by pressing a ball of dough into shape which will result in a more rustic looking pie. That method is also great if making these with children.
For anyone not familiar with mince pies, the modern day version we enjoy in the UK does not contain any meat. It is a mixture of brandy soaked dried fruits and you can find the recipe I use here or use a good supermarket mincemeat and stir in a splash of brandy or rum before spooning out into the pies.
Jars at the ready it’s another Christmas jarring recipe……I have scoured the recipe land in search of the perfect mincemeat and a few years ago think I found it! After trying various traditional suet mincemeats, baked mincemeats and veggie mincemeats, Hettie Potter’s suet-free mincemeat from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess has got to be the best. Not least because it contains half a bottle of cider which is always going to win a Cornish girl over but it is the juiciest fruitiest mincemeat going with a satisfying boozy kick.
I use the large glass jars that supermarket own brand golden syrup comes in and find this recipe perfectly fills 3 of these 680g jars. Each jar makes about 2 dozen mince pies.