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Edible Gifts For The Holidays: Sugary Treats

Edible Gifts To Make Yourself!

So now we have a boozy gifts out of the way, it’s time to talk about the sweets! I for one love edible gifts, last year as part of my christmas present from a secret Santa, I got a box of cocktail chocolates, Cassis and Champagne truffles, I’m a big Kir Royale fan I saved them for some downtime with myself. My Mum often puts Chocolate liqueur’s in my stocking as it’s one of my absolute favourite things, they bring me back to one Christmas as a teenager, I attacked the box, watching a movie when Mum was out and got a slight buzz from the whiskey centers, needless to say, I got a telling off for eating the expensive chocolates that were…for the “grown-ups”.

Personally, I LOVE the excitement when someone goes to the trouble of making you something, I once made boxes of brandy truffles for everyone one year and they were a hit! These days you have so many options, there are lots of gorgeous ribbon’s for sale, packaging, flat packed boxes, so many ways of packaging home made gifts.  For example, I know a lady who makes bath bombs, and she keeps egg cartons, fills them with straw and fills them with 6 little assorted bombs, I also read about making hand made lip balms and creams, You can buy tiny pots of Bonne Maman jam ( the French one with the gingham printed lid), I use them for salad dressing at lunch but you could use them to contain home made things from ganache dips, lip balms, lemon curd’s, candles…  Throughout the year, I collect little boxes and Bonne Maman Jars (like pictured below), containers which don’t have logo’s embossed on them that would make gorgeous vessels for tempting treats. Some shops sell these glass yogurt jars with foil lids you just peel off, they look like little milk churns, they make gorgeous present containers too! Before you go spending money on packaging, look around, see what you have!

Every Christmas, I make Blackberry Pavlova’s to take to parties and I’m always left with a bog bowl of egg yolks, I always try and make a custard or something from the mince pies with them…but more often, I make a lemon curd.. it’s one of my most blissfully versatile treats,  spread it on a Madeira sponge, full cupcakes with it, spoon it into yogurt or on scones… and one of my personal favourites, with shortbread biscuits, made with either coconut, white chocolate, lemon, nuts, lavender or even fudge,
When you make your cookies, either stack them up, package them in a cellophane party bag or like this one I found on Pinterest, (using the same flavour but baked different ways), place them in a box with dividers which you can easily make, just by putting folds in card and slotting them into your box. An option you could add is tiny pots (like above) filled with Ganache, or Curd, with their own little slots in the box and perhaps a wooden teaspoon for spreading them onto the cookies.  (lots of cafe’s have these now in forks or spoons, you could nab a few when you order a coffee).
Here are some recipes for sauces to make, don’t forget to sterilise your jars though, wash in soapy water, rinse well and then place in an oven on a baking tray at 110˚C for about 10 minutes. If using jars with rubber seals, take them off and run boiling water from a kettle over them instead.
Via Pinterest

Shortbread Recipe

Imge Credit: Pinterest
What You’ll Need
450g butter
225g castor sugar
450g sifted plain flour
225g rice flour

 

  • Combine dry ingredients and sift three times to get as much air in and lumps out as possible, set aside.
  • Cream Butter and sugar on high speed in a food mixer and then add dry indredients but do not mix too much or you’ll develop the gluten and have bricks rather than cookies.
  • Form into a disc and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4″ thick and cut desired shapes, placing on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Place the baking sheet in the fridge with the cookies placed on it for 10 minutes.
  • Bake at 170˚C for about 15-20 minutes until a light golden colour.


Lemon Curd Recipe 

Recipe by Ruby Tandoh

What You’ll need:

2 large lemons, zest and juice
4 large egg yolks
90g caster sugar
40g chopped butter

  • 1 Place the zest, lemon juice, yolks, sugar and butter together in a large heatproof bowl. Suspend the bowl over pan of simmering water, making sure that the base of the bowl does not touch the water.
  • 2 Now: be patient. Linger over the curd with a wooden spoon, stirring
    continuously. The butter will melt and the sugar will dissolve, and over
    the course of the next 10-15 minutes the mixture will gradually heat up
    and thicken. Keep stirring over the heat until the curd is viscous
    enough to coat the back of the spoon – a yellow layer of curd that will
    hold the track left by a finger swiped through it, not a thin,
    translucent layer of the stuff. It’ll thicken as it cools.
  • 3 Take off the heat, decant into a very clean jam jar (preferably sterilised,
    if you’re planning on storing the curd for any great length of time) and
    lid it. Let it cool to room temperature, then store in the fridge.

  Salted Caramel Sauce

(Amazing with cookies, on pies and warm on ice cream)
  • 150g light brown soft sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 100ml double cream
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • a pinch of crushed sea salt

Place everything in a saucepan and whisk until it’s all shiny,

Another thing I have found is chocolate spoon moulds, you could fill them with belgian chocolate and tie them on to the jars with a paper ribbon, like the one I bought in the IKEA paper  and gift wrap department.  I found these fab chocolate moulds in Heatons €3 for a set of 6, they do little stars too but these are my favourite because you can serve them with hot chocolate too if people want their chocolate a little more chocolatey, stir them in!

And then there are the chocolates and truffles,  if we look back at the entry I did on wedding favours, we’ll see that there are so many options, if you want to make chocolates… at Christmas you can open up your imagination and toast yummy pecans and chop roughly to roll the truffles in… Stuff 4 Cakes stock this fabulous little brand which is so much better than the LorAnn oils, it’s called ‘Foodie Flavours’ and comes in a huge selection, my choice this year would be to use the maple one, Pecan or the mixed spice flavours, simply add a little to your chocolate truffle mixture before you put it in the fridge to harden, there are so many other flavours, just check out the Stuff 4 Cakes website for the full selection.. they do free delivery if your order is over €50.

I visited Stuff 4 Cakes last Saturday on a quick visit to Galway to see my Mum, they’re really impressed me, when they first opened they had a decent selection, after 6 months between visits, they just blew my mind, what an absolute turnaround!!! Cake drums of every colour, dummies in not just the boring round, square or deep…they had bird cages, domes, balls, cones, cooks, pillows, carousels, topsy turvy, princess castle turrets….. every shape and size you could imagine…boxes for cupcakes printed in the most festive of themes, diamante wraps in different colour’s and widths… they also stock Belgian chocolate and in the extra bitter too which is hard to find!! In addition, they have a pretty decent selection of paper straws, not just the plain spiral pattern but ziz-zag/chevron and others..Paper straws can be cut down and stuck into brownie bites, cookie pops, cake pops, cupcakes- like I did for my cherry limeade cupcakes last spring.

Enough about my excited rant about Stuff 4 Cakes, I have to retrain my brain to focus on one thing at a time 😀

We all have someone in our lives that would love to bake something as simple as cookies and hasn’t a clue about where to start, take the first step for them and put all the dry ingredients in a pretty jar with a note for example “Just Add an Egg”…. or “Just Add (x amount) of Water” and brief instructions, then tie a cookie cutter to the jar with a pretty ribbon, perhaps present with a bowl and an oven mitt? Another idea would be a jar with layers of hot chocolate mix and marshmallows and a packet of Costa Syrups, I bought hot drink syrups in a festive gift pack last year, you could take them all out and spread them out for gifts for different people. I have also used these syrups as buttercream flavouring, I kid you not! The gingerbread one went down a treat at a Christmas fair last year, topped with a little gingerbread cookie.

Cookie ingrediets via Pinterest
Costa Coffee syrups, multi purpose, coffee’s chocolate or baking!

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