Christmas Recipes: Edible Gifts

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[tab title=”Florentines”]

Now you can bring home the “wow” factor with these four simple edible gifts. OK, yes, they’re cookie recipes. But when in doubt, there’s probably no one who doesn’t appreciate getting a box of homemade cookies as a host or hostess gift.

And talk about Brownie points when it comes to the in-laws!

1. Florentines

  • Christmas recipe makes: 12
  • Calories per biscuit: 170
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 8-10 minutes
  • Not suitable for freezing

Christmas recipe ingredients:

  • cherries, 25 g (1 oz)
  • almonds, flaked 40 g (1.5 oz)
  • butter, unsalted 60 g (2.5 oz)
  • sugar, caster 50 g (2 oz)
  • cream, double 30 ml (2 tbsp)
  • sunflower seeds, 25 g (1 oz)
  • mixed peel, chopped 20 g (0.75 oz)
  • sultanas, 20 g (0.75 oz)
  • flour, plain white 15 g (0.5 oz)
  • chocolate, dark plain pieces 125 g (4 oz)

Christmas recipe instructions:

  1. Take the almonds and crush slightly. Prepare roughly cut pieces of cherries.
  2. Prepare a solution of sugar in the butter and bring to the boil. Away from the heat, mix in flour, almonds, cherries, sultanas, mixed peel, sunflower seeds and cream.
  3. Grease a sheet of baking paper and place heaped teaspoonful amounts of the mixture from step 2 onto it ensuring there is enough room for expansion during cooking.
  4. Bake till the edges are golden brown. 180 degrees centigrade (gas mark 4, 350 F). About 7 minutes. Take out of the oven and use a plain large metal biscuit cutter to make rounds by pushing into the biscuits. Bake again until golden brown.
  5. Cool for a couple of minutes before removing to a wire rack for complete cooling.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 for the remaining mixture from step 2.
  7. Prepare melted chocolate by heating in a bowl over water at boiling point. Then take each biscuit and dip it into the choclate so all the edge is covered. Place on non-stick paper till cooled.

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[tab title=”Shortbread”]

Traditional Scottish recipe and ideal in a box or tin for a Christmas gift.

  • Christmas recipe makes: 2 to 3 dozen
  • Calories per biscuit: 180-270
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes
  • Not suitable for freezing

Christmas recipe ingredients:

  • butter, 450 g (1 lb)
  • sugar, caster 225 g (8 oz)
  • flour, plain white 450 g (1 lb)
  • rice, ground or flour 225 g (8 oz)
  • salt, pinch
  • sugar, colored granulated or golden
  • sugar, caster for sprinkling
  • All these recipe ingredients must be at room temperature.

Christmas recipe instructions:

  1. Mix the sugar and butter until a creamy and fluffy consistency. Mix together the salt, rice flour and flour. Now blend with the creamy mixture and mix until it is breadcrumb like.
  2. Take some mixture in your hand and form a ball shape that can be rolled into a 2-3 inch (5-7.5 cm) tube shape. Enclose in cling film and cool till hard.
  3. Cut the tube of dough into half inch slices (10 mm) and coat the edges with the golden or granulated sugar. Bake until slightly golden at 190 degrees centigrade(gas mark 5, 375 F) for about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with caster sugar after removing from the oven.
  4. After 10 minutes transfer to a wire rack for complete cooling.

Changes you can make to the recipe:

  • Add a spice such as ‘mixed spice’ to the flours to make a Spiced Shortbread.
  • To make a Ginger Shortbread add ground ginger to the flours and crystallized ginger to the dough from step 1.
  • For Chocolate Chip Shortbread blend chocolate pieces into the dough.
  • For Lavender Shortbread, add half a dozen lavender flower tops into the dough. This time roll the dough into thin pieces, cut intobiscuit shape and bake for about quarter of an hour.
  • For Rosemary Shortbread, just replace the lavender with fresh chopped rosemary and carry on as above.

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[tab title=”Gingerbread Decorations”]

  • Christmas recipe makes: 2 dozen
  • Calories per biscuit: 125
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes
  • Suitable for freezing at end of step 5.

Christmas recipe ingredients:

  • flour, plain white 350 g (12 oz)
  • bicarbonate of soda, 5 ml (1 tsp)
  • ginger, ground 30 ml (2 tbsp)
  • cinnamon, ground 15 ml (1 tbsp)
  • cloves, ground 2.5 ml (0.5 tsp)
  • butter, 125 g (4 oz)
  • sugar, soft light brown 175 g (6 oz)
  • golden syrup 60 ml (4 tbsp)
  • egg, 1

icing:

  • egg white, 1
  • icing sugar, sifted
  • food coloring

Christmas recipe instructions:

  1. Blend the butter with a mixture of the spices, bicarbonate of soda and flour. Do this until it is breadcrumb like and then mix in the sugar.
  2. Beat an egg into slightly warmed syrup and pour into the mixture from step 1, mixing till it becomes a soft dough. Then knead until smooth.
  3. Make a 5mm (? inch) thick dough layer on a floured surface and cut out biscuit shapes using vaious cutters. Pierce a hole in each one for putting ribbon through later on , for hanging.
  4. Put two non-stick baking sheets on two baking trays.
  5. Place the various shaped cut outs onto the baking sheets and bake at 190 degrees centigrade (375 F) until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool and harden for about 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack till cold.
  6. For the icing add sifted icing sugar to a beaten egg until stiff enough for piping. Add colorings if necessary to brighten up the decorations.
  7. Put icing patterns of your choice on the biscuits. After allowing the biscuits to dry, put ribbons through the biscuit holes, ready for hanging on a christmas tree.

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[tab title=”Chocolate Truffles”]

  • Calories per truffle: 65
  • Preparation time: 30 ? 60 minutes
  • Cooking time: 0 minutes
  • Suitable for freezing

Christmas recipe ingredients:

Truffle Mixture:

  • chocolate, bitter, plain or milk 225g (8 oz)
  • double cream, 75 ml (3 fl oz)
  • brandy, 75 ml (3 fl oz)
  • or rum,orange liqueur, coffee liqueur, coconut liqueur

Rolled Truffles:

  • cocoa powder
  • chopped nuts
  • coconut, dessicated or grated
  • chocolate vermicelli or grated choclate for rolling

Dipped Truffles:

  • chocolate, plain, milk or white (350 g (12 oz)
  • or mixture of all three

Christmas recipe instructions:

  1. Truffle Mixture: Add the cream to grated chocolate and melt in a bowl over water at boiling point, stirring until smooth. Allow to cool and thicken.
  2. Add your alcohol of choice and whisk until the mixture is strong enough to stay ‘up’ when a strand of mixture is pulled up by the whisk. Then put the mixture into a shallow tin (covered) and cool till firm.
  3. Rolled Truffles: Place teaspoonful size amounts of truffle mixture onto a tray sprinkled with cocoa powder and roll into ball shapes. Alternatively you can substitute the cocoa with grated chocolate, chopped nuts, coconut, or chocolate vermicelli. Cool in a refrigerator for at least two hours.
  4. Dipped Truffles: Roll the truffle mixture into 2.5 cm (1 inch) size balls and freeze overnight until rock hard. [If you wish you could push some edible decor into the balls before cooling, such as nuts, ginger or cherries.]
  5. Prepare some melted chocolate over water at boiling point. If you can, check the temperature is in the range 46-49 degrees centigrade (115-120 F) or for white chocolate, 43 degrees centigrade.
  6. Taking two or three truffles at a time, use cocktail sticks to dip them into the melted chocolate before placing them on non-stick paper. Transfer to a refrigerator for cooling for at least two hours to harden. Repeat for the remaining truffles.
  7. Present the truffles in paper cases and store in boxes. Keep in a refrigerator for up to ten days.

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