Friday, 23 December 2011

Xmas bags, Gingerbread biscuits and chocolate hazelnut splats!

See, I don't blog for ages and then they all come along like the No 37 bus.

In the run up to Christmas my sewing machine goes into over-drive.  Throughout the year I like to make jam, jellies and chutneys for my own consumption, as well as to give away for Xmas gifts.  Rather than wrap them up in paper or cellophane I tend to clothe them in little fabric bags.  They are so simple to make.  Simply get a rectangle of fabric that will go around the jar and allow about 2" extra for seams at the side and bottom and about an extra 5" on the top for the fabric to fan out.  Fold a small seam over along the top edge to tidy it up and sew (unless you want the rustic look!).  Then fold the fabric in half, right-sides facing together and sew down the side and along the bottom.  Turn the right way out, pop your jar in, tie up with some ribbon, add a card, bells or whatever jazz you like and voila..........

nearly as quick as wrapping it with paper.......honest!

The cookie cutters also come out and I like to make lots of gingerbread biscuits which get taken off to be munched in various places.  I have been using a really simple recipe I cut out of a magazine a few years ago.
Preheat an oven to 170c and line baking trays with baking parchment or Bake-o-Glide.  Melt 125g unsalted butter, 100g dark muscovado sugar (although I use whatever is in the cupboard of the brown sugar variety) and 4 tbsp of golden syrup until dissolved.  Take off the heat.  Sieve 325g plain flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 2 tsp of ground ginger into a bowl.  Stir in the melted ingredients to make a stiff dough.  Tip out onto a floured surface, roll out to about 5mm thickness and then start cutting out with your favourite festive shaped cutters. Keep balling and rolling the dough out until you have used it all up.  Place on the baking trays and bake in batches for about 9-10 minutes until light golden brown. 

The recipe will make 30 - 40 biscuits depending on the size of your cutters.  This year I made snowflakes and angels.  Allow to cool on a rack and then consume.  They will last in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks......unlikely.

I also tried some hazelnut biscuits from a recipe given to me by a lovely lady I know of Swiss origins.  It comes from a book called Tante Heidi's Swiss Kitchen.  Lets just say the first batch tasted great, but went a little splat like.  They have been compared to a biscuit version of a Ferrero Rocher!  Not a bad complement, just need to make them hold their shape a tad better.  Would you believe they went into the oven as Angels and Stars!!

 More recipe info when they are a little more perfected......

Happy Christmas, Joyeux Noel,  Frohliche Weihnachten........ and all that malarkey

1 comment:

  1. I'm spending Christmas with you next year!