Impress your friends and family with some of these simple Christmas treats and ideas.
What a gorgeous idea to bake some Christmas cookies and attach to a bottle of milk, jar of homemade jam as a gift, hang on your Christmas tree or use as a napkin holder tied with ribbon. Simply use a basic biscuit recipe and pierce a hole with a thick skewer prior to baking.
Homemade mince pies taste so good and can also be used as part of your place settings on Christmas Day or as small gifts.
- 250g raisins
- 250g sultanas
- 250g currants
- 65g mixed peel
- 125g butter, softened
- 250g peeled and finely chopped granny smith apples
- 250g brown sugar
- grated rind of 1/2 lemon
- grated rind of 1/2 orange
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch each of nutmeg and allspice
- 1 cup (250ml) brandy
- 125g self raising flour
- 125g plain flour
- 125g butter
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- Finely chop all the dried fruit so it is around the same size. In a large bowl, mix all the fruit, chopped apples, butter, rind and spices together till well combined. Dissolve the sugar in the brandy and pour it over the mixture.
- Give it a mix then let it stand overnight.
- The next day stir the mixture again then place in clean dry jars – you can find these at Kitchen Warehouse and then leave them for a month before using to get the best results.
- To make the pastry: sift the flours and then either rub in the butter or combine in a food processor. Add the sifted icing sugar and then stir in the egg yolk and water and mix it all to a dough. Work into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, then put in the fridge for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and grease a 12 hole muffin tin.
- To assemble: roll out the dough on a floured surface till about 2mm thick. Cut out shapes to fit the muffin holes, fill each tart with a generous teaspoon of mince (but don’t overfill) and cover the top of each tart with a star – you can find these at Kitchen Warehouse.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes then remove to a rack to cool off.
- 2 cups caster sugar
- 1 1/2 cups liquid glucose (or corn syrup)
- honey (optional – decrease the liquid glucose in equal amounts for the honey that you add, I add just 1 tablespoon this is just for flavour)
- 2 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups nuts of your choice. Pistachios work well at Christmas time because of the colour
- 1 1/2 cups mixed dried fruit. If you prefer nuts over dried fruit alter the recipe accordingly
- It is suggested that you have all your items pre weighed and ready to go.
- Place your egg whites into the bowl of an electric stand mixer ready to go – KitchenAid is what we recommend for the best results.
- Line a tray with non-stick baking paper, put some water into a cup with your pastry brush and have your candy thermometer ready.
- Place the sugar, glucose syrup and honey into a saucepan and stir until the sugar was dissolved. Wash down the sides of the pan using a pastry brush.
- Turn on the beater and whip the egg whites to soft peaks.
- Using a candy thermometer monitor the sugar syrup temperature until it reaches 120 degrees C. Remove from the heat, turn on the mixer and add three soup ladles of the syrup and put into the egg whites.
- Leave the mixer running and return the pan to the heat. Continue to heat until 150 degrees C, then immediately pour into the egg white mixture in a steady stream. It will start to get very thick, add the fruit and nuts and quickly pour onto the lined baking tray.
- If you want flatter torrone place another sheet of non-stick baking paper over the top and use rolling pin to smooth out. Once it is cold, turn out and peel off the paper. Using a sharp knife cut through the torrone.
- Store in an airtight container with non-stick paper on the base and between the layers of nougat.
- These Torrones can be packaged up in boxes or jars as gifts. Tip: invest in some gorgeous Christmas ribbons and tags.