THE GOURMET EDIT: Bring a plate this Christmas

December 18, 2015

THE GOURMET EDIT: Bring a plate this Christmas

There is no denying it, Christmas is all about eating. It’s one of those days when you graze all day and often end up with a full belly and a big smile on your face. Whether you’re hosting Christmas lunch or dinner, or are heading out to spend it with your loved ones, it helps share the load by asking everyone to bring a plate or two. To help you this Christmas, here is a collection of some of my favourite recipes.

Christmas cupcakes
Makes 12 regular sized cupcakes or 24 mini cupcakes

Christmas recipe - cupcakesIngredients
(Cupcakes)

  • 90g butter
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • (Frosting)
  • 190g vegetable shortening (or butter)
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 40ml water (or milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • Green food dye
  • Small silver cachous for decoration
  • Small candy canes for decoration

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C and place patty cases into a cupcake tin.
Put the butter, caster sugar, eggs, flour, milk and vanilla essence into a bowl and mix with an electric beater until ingredients are well combined.
Spoon the batter into the patty cases and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes (about 12 minutes for mini cupcakes), or until golden and springy to touch. Turn the cupcakes onto a wire rack to cool.
To make the vanilla buttercream frosting, cream the vegetable shortening (or butter) with an electric mixer until it becomes light and white, then add the sifted icing sugar, water (or milk) and vanilla essence.
Mix until well combined, you may need to add a little more water (or milk) to reach the desired consistency, the frosting should be soft but still able to hold its shape when piped onto the cupcake.
Spoon the frosting into a piping bag and using a star-shaped tip, pipe the frosting onto the cupcake. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can decorate with frosting using a spoon or a butter knife.
Sprinkle with cachous and gently place a candy cane on the top.

Coconut ice

Christmas recipe - coconut ice

  • Ingredients
  • 125g copha (found next to the butter at the supermarket)
  • 250g desiccated coconut
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 2 egg whites, lightly whisked
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pink or red food colouring

Method

Line a square or rectangular cake pan with non-stick baking paper, allowing it to overhang the sides.
Melt the copha in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes or until cooled to room temperature.
Combine the coconut and icing sugar in a large bowl. Add the copha, egg white and vanilla extract, and stir until well combined.
Divide coconut mixture in half. Press half the coconut mixture (white in colour) over the base of the prepared pan. Add the food colouring to the remaining coconut mixture and stir until well combined and evenly coloured. Spread the pink coconut mixture over the mixture in the pan and smooth the surface. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour or until set.
Remove the coconut ice from the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut into small squares to serve.

Reindeer bark
recipe from 4 IngredientsChristmas recipe - reindeer bark

Ingredients

  • 4 peppermint candy canes
  • 250g dark chocolate, chopped

Method

Seal the candy canes in a heavy duty plastic bag, squeeze out all of the air. Wrap the bag in a kitchen towel, place on a hard surface and pound with a rolling pin until the canes are crushed.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate, stirring every 30 seconds until silky. Line a baking tray with baking/parchment paper.
Pour the chocolate onto the baking sheet and spread it about to 1/8th of an inch thick. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane. Set aside for 20 minutes to set in the fridge. Break into pieces to serve or break into equal amounts to wrap as homemade gifts for teachers, friends or family. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to five days.

*My variation

You can also use white or milk chocolate (or marble a combination when pouring onto the tray), to do this pour the first chocolate choice onto the tray and drop spoonfuls of the second chocolate choice randomly onto the tray, then using a toothpick create a marble effect.
I also use small candy canes that come in their own individual packet, so you can crush them using a rolling pin, then cut the ends of the packet and sprinkle onto the chocolate.

Caramel fudge
recipe from www.taste.com.au

Christmas recipe - salted caramel fudge

Ingredients

  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 1 400g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk

Method

Grease a medium sized non-stick slice pan.
Add the sugar, milk, butter and the condensed milk to a large non-stick pan and turn the heat on medium-high.
Using a whisk, keep stirring as the mixture comes to the boil. If you start getting brownish streaks, turn the heat down a little, and keep up stirring, if you get black streaks it’s burnt.
When it begins to boil, turn the heat down low and stir it occasionally to stop it sticking. As you continue to cook the mixture, you will notice it will start to darken in colour. You want to keep cooking the mixture until it starts to thicken slightly (this will take about 20 minutes).
Keep a teaspoon, butter knife and plate nearby. Occasionally take spoonfuls of the mixture and dollop it onto the plate and then spread it out with the knife. If you can see the grooves of the knife remaining in the mixture after you spread it, it’s getting close. Let the mix on the plate cool slightly and taste it, if it’s really chewy then you are pretty much there.
When the mixture is ready, pour it into the pan. You will need to do this very quickly because as soon as you remove it from the heat it will start to set. Try to get as much of the mix out of the pot and into the pan by scraping the pot. Roll the pan from side to side to spread the mix evenly in the pan. Set aside to cool (be careful as it will be VERY hot).
Once the mixture is set, cut into small squares.

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