I finished work on Wednesday and so have been indulging my Christmassy urges in the kitchen. Making these sweets is the strongest Christmas memory I have, we used to make these with my mum every year (and still do), all of us on stools in the kitchen so we could reach the counter top and my mum making huge batches of pastry, truffles, peppermint creams and the house smelling of sugar and spice and baking.
Got to be the easiest sweets to make ever! Here’s the recipe I used. You don’t need to use a mini cookie cutter though, just roll them into balls and flatten them out. In addition I melted some chocolate and half dipped them in it, it makes them much tastier!
I rang my mum for the recipe for these as all the ones online seem to want you to do the really complicated ganache making ones. Absolutely no need, these are yumarama and much easier.
6oz cake crumbs (I prefer plain madeira)
4oz icing sugar
5oz choc melted
rum or rum flavouring (an undisclosed amount, this would account for the varying alcoholic-ness of them when mum used to let us add the rum…)
cream the marg and sugar together, stir in the melted chocolate, cake crumbs and ‘some’ rum, shape into balls and roll in chocolate vermicelli, cocoa powder or dessicated coconut.
My sister feels VERY strongly that cocoa is a bad idea, to the point where she has written a diatribe about it in the recipe book, I have to agree it’s not the best.
The first batch of fudge I made was too runny, partly because I don’t have a sugar thermometer (who does!) and partly because I’m impatient, oh and I didn’t want plain vanilla so I added 100g raisins and 50ml rum :). I used this recipe from UKTV food, very easy and a good basic. Lots of recipes use condensed milk which seems easier but a bit like cheating to me.
So as the first batch was still runny the next day I did what’s known in our family as an ‘ange’ and ‘whacked it back in the pan’, I boiled it for another 5 mins and it was fine so don’t worry if you have to do this.
I then made a plain vanilla batch after all using the same recipe and used a different recipe from Dan Lepard in the Guardian to make some chocolate fudge. This one uses half double cream, half milk and it really makes it a difference, it was much creamier, I didn’t add the rum and raisins and it didn’t seem to make any difference.
I don’t think I need to go into the details of how to make gingerbread after the mammoth wedding post on the subject but I did try (on my mum’s recommendation) the ‘stained glass window effect’, basically you take the gingerbread out of the oven halfway through cooking, make a hole in the middle and fill it with crushed up boiled sweets.
Put them back in the oven and they melt and attach themselves to the biscuits and look a bit like stained glass. I have to say I’m not convinced by this, mum did it with the cubs so I think her expectations were rather lower than mine but it’s just too messy for my liking, I think if I spent more time and effort on them they would look better but I still prefer them plain, tied up with pretty ribbon.
Gingerbread Latte Syrup
If you, like me, become obsessed every winter with Starbucks gingerbread latte, this is for you. I am addicted, I’m not ashamed. So to my delight I found this recipe for the syrup.
I converted the measurements to the following: 12oz sugar, 470ml water and I used 4 teaspoons of the syrup in my delicious latte. Why would you buy it from Starbucks when it’s this easy to make, and it makes your house smell like Christmas?! I think this would be a lovely prezzie if you made the syrup and put it in a nice bottle and tied instructions of how to make the latte to the neck with ribbon, written on nice paper/card. Too late now though, maybe next year…
All these goodies are going to be given away to various lucky relatives, I got some nice boxes from various places, Sainsbos were very cheap and I also saved boxes from the chocolates that we got sent at work for christmas – far too good to throw away.