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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

I recently wanted to make a present for one of my friends… I wasn’t able to get out to buy one, so I thought the best option was an EDIBLE GIFT. I wracked my brain and decided… I’d never made peppermint creams before, why not use Anna as my guinea-pig?! (My poor friends rarely get tried and perfected edible gifts!)

Luckily, they were a success! And this recipe I am about to provide you with, makes a TONNE of them! So would be perfect for Christmas or any time where you need to make a massive batch… like a Monday when you need a sugar fix!

(The amounts for the icing sugar will vary a bit….. so if it’s too sticky when you’ve used all the icing sugar, you will just need to add a bit more until you get the right consistency!)

Ingredients:

(approx) 200 g Icing sugar,

28 g Butter (softened),

2 tsp Peppermint extract (Extract not flavouring…….. you can use flavouring instead but it just wont be as good…),

2 tbsp Double Cream,

290 g Good quality dark chocolate (I’m a huge Green and Blacks fan, but use whatever kind you love… 70% is best!),

Beat the Butter, peppermint, and cream together in a bowl… You can do it by hand or use an electric mixer, either way make it creamy, then add the icing sugar and mix mix mix! You want it to be soft so it’s malleable, but not too sticky. It’s a hard medium, but you’ll know it when you get there!

Now this is the only slightly complicated part of the whole thing… and this isn’t even that complicated! Ha.

Grab a long piece of clingfilm, and lay it on a spacious table top! Chuck the peppermint icing mush onto the clingfilm, and roll it out into a long sausage and wrap it in the clingfilm. Once it’s in the clingfilm you can roll it to make it smooth. If you want to keep the shape well, then it’s good to put old toilet or kitchen rolls around it to keep it circular in the fridge. If you’re not bothered about them being a circular/oval shape, then don’t worry! (I should have taken a picture of these stages. Doh. I’ll try and remember next time and update it!)

Pop the ‘sausage, toilet roll, icing, peppermint, butter mush, clingfilm’ stuff into the fridge for about an hour.  

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over  a pan of boiling water (make sure the water isn’t touching the bottom of the chocolate bowl!) then leave it for a couple of minutes to cool, so it’s not burning hot! Dip your finger, and if it doesn’t burn you it’s fine! (Of course you’ll have to check a couple of times because it’s necessary, and don’t waste it, so make sure to lick your finger clean! ;))

When the peppermint stuff is chilled and solid take it out and cut it into chunks. It’s totally up to you how fat you want them to be! But don’t make them too thin because they wont hold up in the chocolate dipping stage.

Grab a tray and line it with grease proof paper…. Then grab a big fork. I found my easiest method, see what works for you, but this is what I did…. drop a piece of peppermint stuff into the chocolate, flip with the fork to cover it completely, then lift it out with the fork and shimmy it onto the tray. Do this until all are covered like this….

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Don’t worry about their tails, you can chop them off! I’m a fan of the rustic look, so mine were a bit jagged-y. You can trim them down to be really neat though if you can be bothered!

If you have time to leave them over night, then do that! To keep them shiny, don’t put them in the fridge, but if you’re like me, and impatient/not got enough time, you can put them in the fridge, but don’t be sad when they’re not shiny, ’cause I did warn you… 

And this is the end result….

IMG_20130426_191926 (1) IMG_20130426_223052

 

I’m not going to lie… They were FIT. If I wouldn’t get incredibly fat, i’d eat them every day………………

Enjoy! And let me know how they turn out for you!

K.

 

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As I mentioned in my last post, this Christmas just gone, was very heavy on the homemade gifts. 

I made some little hamper type gifts and a cup cake in a jar was part of the gang. I’d seen a picture of one on Pinterest and thought it was a brilliant idea. So I made it myself!

I rummaged through Mum’s cupboard of random tupperware and other such things, and found some old jars. (Nice one Mummy!) Then I made some cupcakes to fill them! In the picture I saw, they were red velvet cupcakes, I didn’t fancy that… but since the friends they were going to was a girly girl and girly boy, pink seemed to fit the bill!) The cupcakes were just my simple cupcake recipe that lives in my head… i’ll share it with you, but it’s really not that exciting…

Ingredients: 

6 oz sifted SR flour,

6 oz butter,

6 oz caster sugar,

3 eggs,

1 tsp vanilla extract,

1-2 tbs milk

( pink food colouring)

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4.

Beat the butter with a wooden spoon (or in the mixer if you prefer!) until creamy, add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and flour alternately (so it doesn’t curdle…) and beat again until all is combined! Add the vanilla extract, milk and food colouring (use as much or as little as you like to get the colour you want!) and mix lightly until combined. (I say 1-2tbs of milk because it will depend on the mixture… you need to just judge it).

Line muffin tins with cases and distribute the mixture evenly. You want them quite full!

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Until cooked through really. Stick a skewer in the middle of one to be sure! If the skewer comes out clean you’re there!

Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before putting them onto a wire rack to cool properly.

 

I then made up the butter icing.

Again, it’s just the simple one that’s in my head already…

Ingredients: 

5 oz butter,

10 oz icing sugar,

1-2 tbs milk,

Food colouring

Beat the butter with a wooden spoon (or mixer again….) until creamy, gradually add the icing sugar and milk. It’s quite a work out for your arms but I prefer to do it manually than in a mixer, don’t ask me why. Add more milk if you need to. I find that butter icing is just a total judgement call. If you add too much milk, add a bit more icing sugar and vise versa. You want it to be thick enough to be able to pipe and hold it’s shape, but not too thick because it will set a little too!

 

So then, I split the cupcakes into halves, kind of like making mini Victoria sponges. (depending on the height of your jars, I ended up using one and a half cupcakes in each jar, 2 bottoms and 1 top!) Put the bottom in the jar, pipe some icing in, add another  bottom, pipe more, then add a top, and pipe a nice little swirl on top. You can sprinkle some edible glitter or nuts on top if you want!

Bob’s your uncle, cup cake in a jar: done.

I attached a spoon to the jar too so they can eat it!

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Enjoy. 

K.

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So Christmas 2012 ended up being a ‘Handmade Christmas’ for most of my gifts… Being ill makes Christmas shopping hard! Pretty much meant if I couldn’t get it on Amazon, or make it myself, it wasn’t given!

I made a mixture of things, which included my first batch of homemade chocolate truffles!

This is how it went…

I decided that as it was my first attempt, and one of my friends is allergic to alcohol, I went with plain, but next time, I definitely will experiment with other flavours!

I made dark chocolate, and white chocolate

 

Dark chocolate ingredients (makes approx 50): 

300g of good quality dark chocolate (preferably 70% cocoa, and I went for green and blacks because it’s my favourite!)

300mls of whipping cream.

Heat the cream in a saucepan on a low heat. Don’t let it boil! Break up the chocolate and put it into a heat proof bowl. Once the cream has heated pour over the chocolate in a slow and steady stream. Leave for a few minutes for the chocolate to melt. Stir gently. Leave for a few more minutes to thicken (10-15 should do it). Stir again. Don’t over stir because it will separate. Then leave it in a cool place to set.

 

White chocolate ingredients (makes approx 30) (I wanted less white chocolate truffles than dark chocolate! Depends on how many you want to make… you can half, double, triple the quantities to make as many as you want!):

175g of good quality white chocolate (again, I used green and blacks. It was very vanilla-y so I would probably try a different brand next time, depends on your taste!)

125g of whipping cream

50g of unsalted butter

Similarly to the dark chocolate ones… Heat the cream but with the butter in this one, in a saucepan on a low heat. Don’t let it boil. Break up the chocolate and put into a heat proof bowl. Once the butter has melted and the mixture is heated, pour over the chocolate in a slow and steady stream. Leave for a few minutes for the chocolate to melt. Stir gently, leave for a few more minutes to thicken (10-15 minutes…) and stir again, but as before, don’t over stir because you don’t want it to separate. Leave it in a cold place to set.

Once the chocolate mixture has set, wash your hand, it’s time to get messy!

Now… It depends what you want to dust your truffles in as to how the next bit goes… I used cocoa powder for the dark chocolate ones, and grated dark chocolate for the white chocolate ones. You could use ground nuts, grated white chocolate… really, anything you like that is down to a fine-ish powder.

Get a plate ready with your dusting, and a chilled plate to put them on… (I say plate, singular… probably will need more than one…)

Use a teaspoon, or melon baller to get a nice size of truffle (I wanted them to look homemade, so I wasn’t worried about making sure they were all the same size!) then roll the mixture in your hands to form a ball. Do it as quickly as possible so it doesn’t melt.  Then roll them in whatever you’ve chosen, and pop them on the chilled plate.

They’ll need to sit in a cold place for a couple of hours before serving, or wrapping them up to give away. And they should last 2 weeks in the fridge. (If you haven’t eaten them all already).

These are the dark chocolate ones... I forgot to take a picture of the white chocolate ones! Sorry!

These are the dark chocolate ones… I forgot to take a picture of the white chocolate ones! Sorry!

Happy Truffling! 

K. 

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Christmas of 2011 I made my first gingerbread biscuits! So this Christmas just gone, I wanted to get the recipe perfect… it turned out pretty well… So, i’ll share. (It’s a bit of a mish mosh of a random selection of recipes that I tested and adapted.)

Ingredients

350g plain flour,

1tbs ground ginger,

1tsp ground cinnamon,

1/2 tsp ground mixed spice,

1tsp bicarb,

175g butter,

150g brown sugar,

4tbs golden syrup.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4….

Sift all the dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl.

Put the butter, sugar, and syrup into a large saucepan. Heat over a low flame until it’s all melted together. Remove from the heat and add the dry ingredients. Mix well with a wooden spoon to make a dough.

Tip onto a floured worktop and leave to cool until it’s cool enough to handle. Gently knead to make a neat ball. Leave until cold before rolling out. (You can wrap in clingfilm and cool in the fridge if you want!)

Roll out to about a pound coin thickness. Cut into whatever shapes you want! (I find if you dip the cutters into flour before cutting, it stops them sticking!) I did some trad’ men, and some regular biscuits, and some little gingerbread bites. And I also added chocolate chips for half of them. If you want to use chocolate  chips put them on now, before you bake!

Grease and line baking trays. Don’t put them too close together, because they grow!

Bake for 8-10 mins until a little bit browner. But they’re going to be really spongy until they’re cooled, so don’t worry! I like my gingerbread chewy, so if you’re more of a snappy gingerbread person, just leave them slightly longer. Leave them on the tray to cool completely! And… enjoy! You can decorate with a royal icing if you like! (I’m not a huge fan, so it’s your choice!)

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K.

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