5 more sleeps to Christmas!!! *squeal* Excitement levels are running high in our house right now and there's nothing better than little ones at this time of year to remind you about the magic of Christmas and the build-up to the day when the big man finally makes his appearance.
Christmas gifting often gets kind of crazy. The shops started their sales yesterday and I was feeling relieved that I was nowhere near them. Maybe some people will think I'm bah humbug but I like to steer well clear of the shops and order most of my presents online of late. London gets pretty frantic at this time of year.
Edible food gifts are kind of special. You can make the yummiest creations, tailor-made for everyone and you know exactly what's going in them. When I was little, my mum and I used to make marzipan petit-fours fruits for my great-grandma. We were reminded of them recently and I decided that I'd make some for my dad's birthday. They are so simple to make and as soon as you open a box of them, the scent instantly transports me back to my childhood Christmas days.
All you need is a pack of marzipan (home-made or shop bought), cloves and food colouring (colours dependent on the fruit you decide to make). I use gel colours as I have them available in my drawer from baking celebration cakes, but when I was little we used to use the little bottles of food colouring from the supermarket and they worked just as well. For these, I used green, red, yellow, brown and orange. Each fruit was around 15-20G but you can make them as small or large as you like.
When making them, here are a few tricks that help: to make the oranges use the raised side of a cheese grater to create the dimpled pattern by rolling the marzipan ball all over the surface, then adding a clove in the top; for the cherries, make two smaller balls and then I used some florist wire to create the stalks; the apples have a clove at the top and bottom - the bottom clove has the stem part pushed into the apple and then the top clove has the stem protruding like a little stalk; finally, the banana has some brown streaks painted on its skin and brown on either end. Pop them finished into mini cupcake cases and then present them in a box.
It's been a busy week of playdates and parties to keep me sane as the boys started their four week break from school. Apart from my final birthday cake of the year and a couple of Christmas cakes (more pics to follow next week), here are three more ideas that you might like for Christmas.
Hope you're all enjoying your festive seasons and are (almost) all ready for the big day!!! xoxo
Hot Chocolate Gift Jar
Inspired by Donna Hay, she's the queen of creating beautiful gifts in the festive season. Lovely edible treats like brownie, cookie and gingerbread men mixes all presented in glass jars are but a few. I'm not a fan of giving a gift where the recipient needs to then go shopping to get other ingredients to make their treat so this glass of hot chocolate mix really appealed - just add milk!
1/2 cup icing sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, 1 tsp cinnamon & 3/4 malted powder
Adorned with whatever decorations you like! In this case, marshmallows and candy canes :)
These little cookies are wonderfully moreish, gluten free and make lovely gifts.
1 cup powdered pistachio (shelled pistachios blitzed in the blender), 3/4 cup icing sugar, 1 cup grated coconut and 1 egg white (40G liquid egg white)
Combine all the ingredients and then chill for 2 hours. Roll them into little balls and bake them at 170 degrees on a lined baking tray for 8-10 mins.
Seriously delicious, you need to package them up quickly before you eat them all!
Festive Chocolate Bars
I wanted to give some friends' children little chocolate bars but jazz them up. I had 2 bars of Green & Blacks chocolate (one white, one milk) and two tupperware containers a little smaller than the bar itself.
I lined the container with olive oil and a strip of greaseproof paper (so I could remove it easily when set). I melted each chocolate bar and poured it into the container. Whilst unset, add your toppings.
We have Haribo Minions and sprinkles. And then Malteser reindeer sprayed gold, Milky Way Magic Stars sprayed gold, Crunchy Rocks and Smarties.
But the best bit is choosing your own favourites :)