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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Last minute edible Christsmas gifts

These three recipes are my savior in moments of panic when I've forgotten to get someone a gift. Great for friends, neighbours, teachers or anyone else that you need to whip up a quick pressie for.  I've been known to combine all three in a hamper with some Lightly Spiced Christmas Cookies as a low faff last minute gift solution.

Russian Fudge

This is a favourite in our house, I normally make several batches so that there is some left to give away, so we don't eat it all.  Easy to package up in gift boxes or cellophane with pretty ribbon.

3 1/2 cups white sugar

125g butter

3 Tblsp golden syrup

125ml milk

1/2 tsp salt

200g or 1/2 tin sweetened condensed milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients, apart from the vanilla extract, into a heavy based saucepan (I use my preserving pan). Warm the ingredients over a gentle heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a soft-ball stage.

Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixer until the fudge is thick, creamy, and is no longer glossy. Pour into a greased, 20cm cake tin. Cool for 10 mins, then score the top with a sharp knife.  Break into pieces when completely cooled.


Apricot Balls

These are vegan, vegetarian, dairyfree and should also be gluten free (if you buy the right dried apricots and coconut) so are great for those with special dietary needs.

250g dried apricots (I use organic ones)

1/4 cup white sugar

finely grated zest of an orange

2 Tbsp orange juice (freshly squeezed from the zested orange)

1/2 cup dessicated coconut, and some extra for rolling the balls in

Chop the apricots roughly, then put them in a food processor with the sugar, orange zest and orange juice. Process until chopped really finely. Then add the coconut and process until mixture starts to firm up.  Roll into small balls then roll in the extra coconut. Refridgerate them until they're firm.


Chocolate Brownies in a Jar

You can use any jar you may have handy. This is a fab pressie for someone that perhaps needs a gentle introduction to baking.  These are really easy to make and the cooked chocolate brownies taste delicious!

Layer the following ingredients in a jar:

1 ½ cups plain flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ cup good quality cocoa powder

2/3 cup caster sugar

½ cup chocolate chips or chunks

2/3 cup light soft brown sugar

Write on the gift tag, or label attached to the neck of the jar:

Add the following ingredients:

1/2 cup cooking oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 free range eggs

125ml milk

Pour all of the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Mix the above wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until well combined. Pour into a greased 20cm round cake tin. Bake at 180C for approximately half an hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool before you cut them into squares.


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