Shhh, it is not many weeks until Christmas will be upon us.
With that in mind, Sainsbury’s asked for some ideas of pretty edible gifts that people could make, so here are my two.
First up, Marzipan Chocolates, because it isn’t Christmas without marzipan.
All you need for this is some chocolate- I used 200g dark chocolate, and some marzipan- around 50g.
Melt the chocolate (I do it in the microwave, but you can do it over a pan of boiling water if you prefer), and chop the marzipan into little pieces.
I have a chocolate mould from Lakeland, but you can use little cupcake cases instead.
Spoon a small amount of chocolate into each mould/ case, and leave to set for a few minutes.
Roll the marzipan into balls, and put one ball in each case.
Then top with the rest of the melted chocolate, and leave to harden.
Sorry for the picture- it was no longer daylight when I did this!
Then you can pop them out of the cases (or leave them in if you used paper cases) and put into little bags ready for giving away.
I got these little bags from ebay- check that they are suitable for food use when you buy them, as some are not.
I have also made these before and added in a dried cherry with the marzipan, or you could add in a whole almond to amp up the nut factor.
Next up, the king of edible sweets, Christmas Pudding Fudge.
I first made this a few years ago after seeing the idea of adding the pudding on The Pink Whisk website, although I use a different fudge recipe. It has become a festive regular for me as it is so lovely to give as a gift.
You will need:
1 tin of light condensed milk
450g dark brown soft sugar
1 small (100g) ready-to-eat Christmas pudding
You will also need a sugar thermometer, and an electric whisk.
But, the key to this is in the preparation.
Put the butter, sugar and condensed milk in a pan.
Chop up the pudding (it does not need to be small pieces as the beating later on will blitz it down), line a brownie pan with baking paper, and get your electric whisk ready.
I also like to have a side plate ready to catch drips from the beaters.
Then, and only then, begin to make the fudge. Patience is also key here. Gently heat the mixture and stir frequently.
It will darken quite quickly, but don’t worry.
Keep stirring. Don’t worry about the bubbling around the edges, just keep stirring.
A few minutes more….
I have an electric thermometer, and I prefer to keep it on the F setting, as the C setting is not as accurate I don’t think. So the mixture needs to be heated until it reaches 235F (or 113C, or the soft ball stage if you don’t have one). Then take it off the heat, remove the thermometer and spatula (I put them on the side plate so they don’t stick to the work surface) and carefully add in the chopped up Christmas pudding.
I have turned off the heat here but it still bubbles a lot so be careful when you put the pudding in, as if it splashes on you it will really burn.
Then, get your beaters going.
This can take a while. It will go from very easy to mix, to feeling stiffer and leaving trails for longer in the mixture.
The longer you beat it, the crumblier it will be, but I prefer it to be softer, rather than crumbly like Scottish tablet, so you can always put a bit on the plate, leave to cool for a minute and see if it is the texture you like. If not, keep on beating.
I tend to stop when it leaves thick trails in the mixture, and when you stop some of it still clings to the beaters.
The stalactites stay there on the beaters as a cooks perk!
Then pour it into the lined pan, and leave to cool. The pan will be very hot, so make sure it is on a heat resistant surface when you leave it.
Leave overnight to cool, at room temperature, before slicing into small squares and bagging up ready for gifts.
I do sometimes use ribbon, but these bags came with little ties.
What edible gifts do you like to make/ receive?