Hello all my lovely readers, even though I didn't post lots in December....um ok try zilch! I still did lots of baking and cooking! So this post will cover some of the stuff I did in that period.
I am obviously not a millionaire and I had a lot of people to get presents for so I decided to do hampers for most of them instead. A nice personal idea and cheaper than buying lots of individual presents!
Firstly I needed hampers.....they are so berluddy expensive!!! I couldn't believe my 20/20 vision eyes! So on a whim I went to my local charity shop and had a scrounge. They had loads! For 10p each! Bargain! Big ones small ones....some as big as your head...um not quite! Anyway I was able to satisfy all my hamper needs in one fell swoop, Gott sei dank (thank god) for charity shops!!
Next stop....Cellophane, £1 a metre from my local florist, they even had special Christmas themed ones, I got some lovely gold cellophane and also some with Christmas trees on.
You can ask your friends/neighbours for all their jars after they've used them. I had a huge stack from last year as I meant to do hampers for Crimbo 2010....but didn't! :O
Contents of my hampers:
Biscotti (Cappuccino and chocolate flavour! Yums!)
Chocolate filled Macaroons
Mulled Wine (£2 each from Asda)
A big bag of mixed nuts (Lidl and Aldi were the cheapest)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of lea and perrins worcestershire sauce
- Toast nuts in a dry frying pan for a few mins to toast them 3-4 mins should do, take care not to burn them
- Add the butter and cook for a min or so until its all melted and the nuts start to darken a little
- Add all the spices/salt and sugar and a dash of water
- Cook for around 5 minutes until all ingredients are well combined, nuts are coated and the sauce begins to thicken.
- Line a baking tray with foil and pour the mixture in, leave to harden in a cool place. Once cool and hard place in an airtight container or your jars. These will keep for around a week or so.
For the chocolate macaroons I used this recipe. It was fab! http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/macaroons_16105
For the Chocolate Truffles I used this recipe (Brilliant too as they are freezable so I made them a week before Christmas, I just stored them in tupperware in the freezer) I also did half coated in Icing Sugar and half coated in Dessicated Coconut. http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8272/melting-middle-truffles
For the shortbread I used this recipe, in my opinion it wasn't sweet or buttery enough so will try a different one next time I think! http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/shortbread_1290
I used this recipe for the Lemon Curd.........amazing!!! So yummy! Will definitely use this one again and again! http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/lemon_curd_68499
And for the Biscotti I used this recipe, it was so easy to make and oh so delicious! http://www.joyofbaking.com/biscotti/CappuccinoBiscotti.html
A bottle of vodka
Sugar (not exact as it all depends on tastes)
- Sterilise your bottles, either use on a very hot wash in a dishwasher or wash in hot soapy water and then put in a 140degree oven upside down for around 10minutes. Leave to cool.
- Pour the vodka in a extremely clean tupperware container, add all of the fruits and a couple of tbsp's of sugar. Stir and leave in a cool dry place. Every day shake the mixture gently, do this for a couple of weeks. After 3-4 weeks decant into two bottles. You can leave the fruits out but I personally like to put them in as I think it looks so beautiful with their jewel like goodness peaking through the glass!
- This is fab for those summer months too, take it as a gift to your friends BBQ and they'll soon be extremely merry and giving you the best steaks off the grill! ;)
With the leftover Shortbread Biscuits I made a few Shortbread 'Christmas Trees'...only small ones and gave them to the ex in-laws, and one for my daughter too of course! :) I just used the same cutters I used for the shortbread to cut out green fondant icing and topped each shortbread star with them. Then dusted with Icing Sugar and wrapped in Cellophane
And here are the finished results of the hampers: