The real spirit of Christmas

xmas-gingerbread

GingerbreadNothing beats handmade gifts where the gift giver has put thought, time and love into creating a gift for you. Give that kind of gift this year with handmade Christmas treats from our festive food ideas.

Try some of our Christmas recipes for great gift giving ideas

Christmas Gingerbread

Ingredients

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup white chocolate melts
  • Silver and red cachous or any Christmas themed edible decorations
  • Christmas themed cookie cutters or traditional gingerbread man shape.

Preparation

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add maple syrup and egg. Beat to combine.
  2. Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon over butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir until just combined and a soft dough forms. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until smooth. Shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
  3. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper. Roll dough between 2 sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Use your cookie cutters to cut shapes from the dough. Re-roll dough scraps and cut to make a total 30 gingerbread shapes. Place, 2cm apart, on prepared trays.
  4. Bake 1 tray at a time for 20 to 25 minutes, or until just firm to touch. Stand on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Recipe makes 30 biscuits.
  5. Place melts in a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium-high (75%) for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or until smooth. Spoon into a small snap-lock bag. Snip off 1 corner. Decorate gingerbread shapes with melted chocolate and cachous. Set aside to set.
  6. Presentation tip: Gift wrap in cellophane or glass sealable jars and decorate with ribbons and other Christmas decorations.

Easy peanut brittle

Ingredients

  • 4 cups unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 4 cups caster sugar
  • 150g butter, chopped

Preparation

  1. Grease two 18cm x 28cm oven trays. Line bases and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides. Place two cups of peanuts, in a single layer in each pan.
  2. Combine sugar and two cups of cold water in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook without boiling, stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to the boil. Allow to boil for 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture turns golden. During cooking brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush regularly to prevent the mixture burning on the sides. Remove from heat.
  4. Working quickly, stir in butter until melted then pour mixture over peanuts in pans. Tap pans gently on bench to remove air bubbles. Set aside for 3 hours or until firm. Using a mallet or the back of a large metal spoon, break brittle into pieces.
  5. Presentation tip: Package peanut brittle into cellophane bags or glass jars with a sheet of baking paper between layers to prevent sticking.

Chunky cranberry relish

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2cm-piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 170g packet dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add onion and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
  2. Add cranberries, sugar, wine, water, vinegar, bay leaf and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the cranberries are soft and the mixture thickens.
  3. Set aside to cool. Transfer the relish into sterilized glass jars and seal. Makes 1 ½ cups.

Presentation tip: add a tag to the jar with the serving suggestion “ Try serving this relish with traditional roast turkey. You can also use it in burgers and sandwiches, or as an accompaniment to roasted, chargrilled or barbecued beef, chicken and lamb.”