I am about to get on with a big mountain of present wrapping. This year I have made a few home-made edible gifts too, so thought I would share them with you.
First up, Christmas pudding fudge. Do not be scared of making fudge! A sugar thermometer makes it easier, but if not you can test that the sugar has reaches the soft ball stage by putting a little bit in cold water, and seeing what the texture is like.
I just add in a bought pudding (as they are cooked), but you could add your own mixture of dried fruit, nuts and spices.
Last week I made some candy cane fudge.
This was the same basic fudge recipe- 100g butter, 450g light brown sugar and a tin of light condensed milk, melted together in a pan to 113C.
Then I added 100g dark chocolate and a drop of peppermint extract, and then beat with an electric whisk. It went crumbly very quickly- the chocolate must change the texture. I then poured it into a lined brownie pan.
I crushed up some peppermint candy canes (think they were from Sainsbury’s) and some chocolate, and sprinkled this over the top while the fudge was warm.
The chocolate melted and then stuck the candy cane pieces to the fudge. It looked so pretty!
Spiced nuts are always a favourite of mine too. Last year I made some gorgeous spiced nuts with cranberries and coconut. This year I tried out a new recipe from The Pink Whisk, for honey roasted nuts, but I think I prefer the other recipe (I did add in some cinnamon). These had to bake for 45 minutes in total, which seems a long time for nuts I think. I tried a few and they are still tasty.
You can’t see the nuts that well as the tags are in the way- oops!
Last night I spent some time making some Christmas chocolates. I saw that Laura made some chocolate coated figs, and I had some figs in the fridge. Although I missed off the salt in the end.
On Sunday I was down in Southampton while Andy was at the football. I only wanted to pick up some candles in Ikea for my parents, but I ended up picking up a few treats too. Those little flower things are tea infusers- they are meant to float in your cup.I also bought some cute little spotty bowls, marzipan oat rolls (just to try them), and some marzipan and chocolate alongside a recipe card for marzipan treats. And Dime bars. I was very excited to see these back again, as the last few times I have been to Ikea they only had their own brand ones which were not as good (we tried them). Oh, and mince pie filling from Holland and Barrett! Anyway, the point of that is that I did the marzipan and figs together.
I melted the chocolate to dip the figs in, and then had a bit of fun with my chocolate mould tray making little marzipan sweets.
I melted the chocolate, put some in the mould, then added a little bit of marzipan (and sometimes a dried cherry too) and then topped with more chocolate.
The figs are on the left- baking paper on a table mat for them to harden on.
I added a little white chocolate star to them too, just to make them look more festive. And I had a little bit of marzipan left so just made them into balls to dip into the last bit of chocolate.
They popped out of the mould really easily too.
Yum- looking forward to having some of these as a snack later when I watch The Snowman- my favourite Christmas Eve tradition. (I will take some for my parents too- they are not all for us!)
Finally, I made a gingerbread house!
Er, it didn’t go quite as planned. I think the icing was too runny, so the first time I put the roof on it fell off.
Then the front sort of caved in a little bit, but I don’t think you can tell!
This is really a present for Andy, as he loves gingerbread.
Literally right after I finished this, I watched the Bake off Christmas special, and they made a gingerbread house. I have never thought of it before, but they decorated it before they put it together. No drippy icing troubles. I shall have to remember that for next year!
Note to self- it is not a good idea to get out the Christmas table cloth right before getting royal icing all over it…
One year I made some gorgeous apple and mango jam too- no time this year so will save that for another time. It was a good flavour to go for as I have not seen it in shops so it made a change.
Right, after being cooped up inside all of yesterday I am going to head off on a run as the rain seems to have stopped. I went for a gentle one on Saturday and it seemed to go OK, so I am easing back in gently, and doing my stretches too.
Have a lovely Christmas Eve!
What home-made presents do you like to give or receive?