Festive Flapjacks

So called because the festive season calls for an added layer of luxury in terms of ingredients, and I CBA to melt two different types of chocolate to decorate them at any other time of the year 😉 Beware, these flapjacks are addictive and FULL OF CALORIES! But that’s why they taste so good 😉

For 12-16 bars you need
(sorry can only remember this recipe in imperial measurements!)
6oz butter
6oz sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
10oz rolled oats (not cheap ones, proper scottish decent ones but not jumbo ones)
1/4 cup sultanas
1/4 glace cherries
100g each milk and white chocolate, melted

Begin by placing everything apart from the oats and chocolate in a large pan and letting the butter melt. Meanwhile, line a swiss roll tin with baking paper. Once the butter et al is melted, add the oats and mix well. Press into the lined tin and bake in a moderate (180 degree) oven for 15-20 mins until bubbling and golden brown. Take care not to overbake or the edges and sides will become brittle and too crunchy when it’s cooled.

Remove from the oven once cooked and leave to cool for 30 mins or so before sliding out of the tin. Leave on the baking paper to cool totally. Drizzle/spread over the melted chocolate in any pattern you like and then cut into bars once the chocolate has set. Deeeelishous!!!

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Vegan Peppermint Creams (v)

This recipe replaces dried egg White with liquid glucose so is effectively peppermint fondant icing. Cut in to whatever shapes you fancy.

For 30 or so shapes you need:
250g sifted icing sugar
2 tsp peppermint extract (or to taste)
2 tsp lemon juice
A little water if necessary
2 tsp liquid glucose

Mix everything together until it forms a soft dough. Add more water if needed. Roll out to the thickness of a £1 coin and then cut into shapes. Leave to firm on a cling film lined tray till dry. Scoff. Dip in plain chocolate if you fancy.

Coconut Ice Snowmen

These are cute and easy and go down well with teachers!

For about 20 snowmen you need:
200g condensed milk
250g sifted icing sugar
200g desiccated coconut
Petit four cases

Sift the icing sugar in to a bowl and add the milk. Mix well and stir in the coconut. Roll into balls, placing a slightly larger one in the base of the petit four case and top it with a smaller ball. Leave to set and then deliver to coos of delight.

White Chocolate, Cardamon and Rum Truffles

***warning*** these are addictive and seriously calorific. But make them anyway 🙂 They are the perfect counter to the dark chocolate and orange truffles I am making for Christmas petit fours.

For about 12 you need:
seeds from 7 cardamom pods
200g good quality white chocolate, broken into pieces
25g unsalted butter
150ml double cream
1 tbsp white rum
50g icing sugar

Grind the cardamon seeds to a powder. Heat the cream till just about boiling. Pour over the chocolate, rum, cardamon and butter. Whisk with an electric whisk until ribbons form (about 5 mins). Once smooth, chill till starting to harden. Roll in to balls and then roll these in the icing sugar.

Redcurrant Jelly

I have never made jelly before. Well, not the type you bottle and keep that is. I have a jelly bag, purchased some time ago and then lost in the loft! But the decluttering for the move found it, and our red currant bushes have gone into overdrive this year so we attempted our first ever batch of red currant jelly a la River Cottage.

For 2 (yes TWO!!) small jars you need:
800g redcurrants
400ml water

Pick over the redcurrants and wash them. Place in a pan with the water and slowly bring to the boil. Simmer for about 45 mins till the juices have run out and then strain through a jelly bag for about 3-4 hours. Reboil the currants with another 400ml water and repeat the straining.

For every 600ml juice, add 450g preserving sugar. Place the strained juice in a preserving pan and bring to the boil. Add the sugar, stirring to dissolve. Once it’s all dissolved boil RAPIDLY for about 8 mins and then pour into sterilised jars. Weep that you only managed to get 2 and a bit jars worth of jelly from all that effort…

Mini Xmas Cakes

My poor team! I am too tight to buy them each a present, so I make things. This year I’ve made mini xmas cakes, a la bubble and bake recipe from Good Food. They worked really well and look pretty too (well I think they do!).

You need
# 200g dark muscovado sugar
# 175g butter , chopped
# 700g luxury mixed dried fruits (I used a mix of currants, raisins and sultanas and added some chopped mixed peel too)
# 50g glacé cherries
# 2 tsp grated fresh root ginger
# zest and juice 1 orange
# 100ml brandy
# 85g roughly chopped almonds
# 3 large eggs , beaten
# 85g ground almonds
# 200g plain flour
# ½ tsp baking powder
# 1 tsp mixed spice
# 1 tsp cinnamon
# 250g pack marzipan
# icing sugar
# 2 tbsp warmed apricot jam
# 1 tub pre-made royal icing
# jelly diamond to decorate

Place the sugar, butter, dried fruit, cherries, ginger, brandy, orange zest and juice into a large pan. Heat and slowly bring to the boil. Reduce heat and bubble gently, uncovered for 10 mins, stirring every now and again to make sure the mixture doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. Leave to cool.

Add all the other cake ingredients to the pan and stir well. Spoon into 24 muffin cases and then bake at about 150 for 35 mins or so. Leave to cool.

Paint apricot jam on to the tops then add circles of marzipan. Leave to dry. Top with royal icing and a jelly diamond. Give to people and stand back for the oooooh and ahhhhhhhs.

Chocolate and Brandy Truffles

These are grown up truffles, so eat in moderation if you can!!

Recipe is taken from the January Delicious magazine.

You need:
300ml double cream
400g dark choc broken in to teeny tiny pieces
2 tbsp brandy or cointreau or other booze
Cocoa powder

Place the broken chocolate into a bowl. Bring the cream to the boil, then pour over the chocolate. Mix well till combined and the choc is melted then add the booze. Stir again then tip into a lined tin to set. Leave for at least 4 hours in a cool place (but not the fridge). Then cut into squares, dust with cocoa and place into petit fours cases. Scoff. Simples.

Peppermint and Orange Cremes

Christmas is coming… and so it’s time to make lots of yummy sweet things.

These cremes are very easy and are destined for the present hampers we’re doing this year. Assuming Lex and I don’t eat them all first that is!

You need:

250g sifted icing sugar. It’s really REALLY important to sift it so don’t be lazy like I was one year or you’ll end up with lumpy, bumpy nice tasting gloop.
2 1/2 tsp egg white made with dried egg powder
2 tsp lemon juice (or orange juice for the orange cremes)
1 tsp orange or peppermint flavouring
some food colouring if you wish

Begin by sifting the icing sugar in to a bowl. Then make a well in the middle and add the wet stuff. Mix thoroughly. Don’t be tempted to add more liquid as it is enough. Knead a little until soft (you’re basically making a flavoured, coloured fondant icing). Then roll to about the thickness of a £1 coin. Stamp out shapes and leave them somewhere cool (but not the fridge or they will sweat) to harden a bit. Best tip is to leave them on a cling film lined board.

Florentines

I absolutely adore the Florentines that Betty’s sells. OMG they are seriously divine, but seriously expensive! So when I found a recipe for florentines in Good Food this month I thought I’d give them a go. I couldn’t believe how easy they were, or how good they taste.

The original recipe can be found on the BBC Good Food website but in case they remove it it’s below too…

You need
* 140g light muscovado sugar
* 100g clear honey
* 200g salted butter
* 100g desiccated coconut
* 140g flaked almonds
* 300g glacé cherries , sliced
* 4 tbsp plain flour
* 250g dark, milk or white chocolate , or a mix

Melt the sugar, honey and butter in a pan. Meanwhile slice the cherries. Once the butter mix has melted, add everything other than the chocolate to it and then pour into a lined tin (30x40cms) and bake at 180 for 12 mins (it needs to be golden and bubbly all over). Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Whilst it’s cooling melt the chocolate. Turn the cooked and cooled florentines on to a board lined with more baking paper and then spread the melted chocolate on the back. Leave to set. Then cut into shapes and scoff. Then go to the gym. Lots.

Next time I make them I will omit the coconut I think and add some peel to make them more like Bettys ones. But these are pretty good!