Friday, 16 December 2011

Edible gifts for Christmas

 Gingerbread matryoshka

Bailey's white chocolate caramel fudge 

Chocolate orange marshmallows

Aren't those Russian dolls just the sweetest? I normally go traditional with gingerbread men and angels etc for Christmas, but when I saw these at Lakeland I just couldn't pass them up. Beautifully decorated, maybe, but so they bloody should be when I stayed up til midnight piping tiny polka dots and slightly obscenely placed holly leaves.

The fudge, too, is a labour of love. After two batches made with condensed milk, in rum & raisin and eggnog flavours, I decided it was too grainy to give out and instead let my flatmates have at it. Next stop: boiling cream and sugar together. I know most recipes say not to stir the caramel, but in my experience this leads to an overbubbling pot, me shouting at the sugar thermometer "WHY WON'T YOU GET HOTTER?" and a rather unsightly layer of burnt sugar at the bottom. So I stirred. And transferred to no less than two other saucepans, but it all worked out in the end to make delicious delicious incredibly fattening fudge. 

Love Christmas? Love Christmas music? Then pop over to my music blog, where I've posted a mix of festive indie songs and a giant zip file of my definitive Christmas CD.

Recipes after the break

Gingerbread [Taken from The Homebaking Bible] makes 20-30
450g/1 lb plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground mixed spice
2 tsp baking soda
115g/4 oz butter
100g/3.5 oz golden syrup
115g/4 oz brown sugar
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F. Sift together the flour, ginger, mixed spice and baking soda in a large bowl.
In a saucepan over a low heat, melt together the butter, golden syrup and brown sugar. 

Pour the melted mixture over the flour mixture and stir to combine, adding the egg. The mixture will seem pretty sticky to start off with but when it cools down it will firm up.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to around 3mm thick and cut out your gingerbread shapes. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned, but remember that they will get firmer again as they cool. Ice however you wish.

Baileys White Chocolate Fudge [Taken from Olive magazine]
500g golden or caster sugar
500ml double cream
50ml Baileys Irish cream
150g white chocolate, chopped finely

Butter and line with greasproof paper a 22cm square tin. In a large saucepan bring the sugar, cream and Baileys to a simmer, stirring slowly until the sugar has dissolved.

At this point, turn the temperature up to bring the mixture to a rolling boil, and cook until the mixture reaches 234F, soft ball stage. Stir occasionally to stop the caramel burning at the bottom of the pan.

When it reaches 234F, take the pan off the heat and stir firmly for 5-10 minutes, adding the chocolate, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture has firmed up slightly and is still glossy. Pour into the prepared pan and leave to cool before cutting.


  1. MMH looks sooo good. And let me say, those little Russian dolls are just adorable. If only I had that much patience.