treat

Edible Christmas treats and gifts

Today, we have a guest post from Kerrie of Print, decorate & eat, maker of delicious and beautiful cakes (I know, I have tasted a few of them!)

Making edible Christmas treats

Kerrie King, Print, decorate & eat

The weeks leading into Christmas can be stressful with so many parties to plan for, food to prepare and gifts to purchase.

I like to give Christmas edible gifts wherever I can, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be time consuming or involve weeks of preparation or be expensive either.

If your child likes cupcakes, and let’s face it what child doesn’t like cake, and would like nothing more than to take Christmas cupcakes to the class party, there are a number of ways you can “cheat”.  It is perfectly OK to buy cupcakes from your local shop, but you could also have some fun with your kids baking your own cupcakes (from a packet is fine if you prefer or are really tight for time) and buy some Christmas toppers from the supermarket or cake decorating store (including online ones), to take them to the next level.  You’ll have fun, spend quality time with your kids, and have some lovely personalised cupcakes for the class party, Christmas picnic or family get together.

numerous cupcakes topped with a red or green Christmas topper

Another way to give beautifully wrapped edible Christmas gifts is to buy a few packets of fancy biscuits, fudge or even chocolates from your local supermarket, Aldi or Reject Shop and repackage them into Christmas boxes you can buy at the $2 shop along with some matching tissues paper, and you’ll have beautiful Christmas gifts with a personal touch.

If you are a baker, like me as I enjoy whipping up a large batch of gingerbread men, trees or stars, you can bake then package them up in Christmas boxes from the $2 shop along with a personalised card.  This is also a lovely way to say thank you to Teachers , volunteers, friends, the cleaner and perhaps even your neighbours.

So get baking, have fun, eat cake, say thanks and have a lovely Christmas!

Savory Christmas treats ~ recipe

Although I am a sweet  tooth myself, it’s easy to forget that Christmas treats can be savory and yummy, too! So here is another toddler friendly Christmas recipe, and one that will be useful as we head into colder weather, too …

Christmas fritters

1/3 cup flour (plain or self-raising is ok)
1/3 cup wholemeal flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated cheese
2 teaspoons of parsley and/or other fresh herbs (coriander and mint are lovely)
1/8 cup squished peas (or beans sliced into small pieces)
1/8 cup grated zucchini (skin on)
1/4 cup finely chopped red capsicum (or use tomatoes without the seeds and juice)
milk (as needed, maybe 2 tablespoons)
oil or butter (for cooking)

Mix everything up to get a stiff batter – adding just enough milk to hold things together.

Heat the pan, add a little oil/butter then drop in balls of the mixture.

When the fritter is bubbling (like pikelets), flip and cook the other side.

Place on paper towel to drain before serving hot or cold.

If you’re feeling creative…

  • make shapes other than circles – a Christmas tree or star would be really cool!
  • join some balls together to form a snowman
  • try some different ingredients, like spinach/silver beet, grated celery, red cabbage, red potatoes or red kidney beans. Of course, if you move away from red and green, there are many other delicious ingredients to add (carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, beetroot, corn, sweet potato…)
  • add a dipping sauce – satay, coriander, chilli are good ones – or a salsa with it for extra flavour and moisture.

This could be a healthier alternative to leave out for Santa, too!

Make an easy, edible Christmas decoration

Want an easy way to make a cake or cup cakes or dessert platter or whatever look really special?

Simply heat up a candy cane (buy them in whatever size suits the decoration you’re after – they range from tiny to huge!) and gently bend it into a shape to suit.

Adding more of a swirl than the traditional cane shape is more compact so it works better on some designs I find – the long cane just doesn’t fit in and looks stark so this is a nice option.

Reindeer treats

For something a bit different, over the weekend I got my kids to cook some biscuits that reindeer and boomers will like – we will make them again on Christmas Eve but we HAD to test them first of course!

Make your favourite biscuit dough

roll out the dough then cut into carrot shapes (I found a carrot cutter in a local homewares store but you could do it by hand…)

put carrots onto greased trays and into the fridge

after about 20 minutes, put tray in oven to cook (15 minutes at 180 is usually enough but check your recipe)

cool then remove from tray

make some green icing and cover the carrot tops

make some orange icing and put into an icing pipe (or a ziplock bag and cut the corner off)

zigzag the orange icing over the carrots

let the icing set then store in an airtight container (if they last that long – my kids have never eaten carrots so willingly!!!)

 

For icing I mixed 1/2 cup icing sugar with 2 teaspoons of water and 2 – 3 drops of food colour. Add a little more water if needed but make sure it is thick rather than runny.

Nougat Noelle

Another yummy treat we make as inexpensive gifts (put it with the Chrissie caramels in celophane packages – pretty & decadent!) Enjoy!

3 egg whites
3.75 cups white sugar
0.75 cups light corn syrup
150g glace cherries (mix of red & green is ideal for a Christmas look & feel)
2 tsp essence (I love vanilla but my husband prefers peppermint – take your pick!)

Line 2 baking trays with non stick baking paper

Chop up the glace cherries (a very sticky job, but hey!)

Put sugar, corn syrup & water in jug (no lid or cover). Cook in microwave on high for 5 minutes or a bit longer – stirring every minute – til mixture is boiling & sugar has completely dissolved.

Cook for another 5 minutes then check every 30 seconds (take it out of microwave & use a warm sugar thermometer) until syrup reaches 125 C .

Beat egg whites to soft peaks (Did you know this is easier with free range. fresh eggs than horrid cage eggs from shops?)

Slowly pour syrup onto eggs, beating continuously.

Mix in the cherries & essence, and beat until nougat looses shine.

Drop  onto tray by the teaspoonful. Leave to set.

leave your thermometer in warm water to keep  it warm between tests. If you don’t have a thermomoeter (or you manage to break it like I did last Christmas)  drop a little syrup into very cold water as a test – its ready when it forms a firm supple ball.

Add pistachios or slivered almonds for a nutty addition.

Chrissie Caramels

These are yummy – I have to admit I make double batch now as we ‘test’ so many of them we don’t have a lot left to package as gifts let alone leave out for Santa…

45g butter (or marg if you must)

750g soft caramels

3 tablespoons low fat milk

2 cups of unsalted cashews

1 cup unsalted walnuts or almonds

Put the caramels, butter & milk in the microwave (well in a bowl then in the microwave!) and heat on high for 1 minute then stir.

Heat for another minute & stir.

Heat for another minute & stir (see the pattern yet?!)

Mixture should now be smooth – if not, heat for another 30 – 6 seconds and stir.

Stir in the nuts until they’re covered in caramel.

Line a baking tray (foil, baking paper, whatever) then drop teaspoonful of the mix onto the tray.

Once it’s set, drizzle some melted chocolate over the top. If I have time, I use white & brown chocolate for an even nicer effect, but one chocolate or none works well too.

Store in an airtight container if you can resist eating them! Oh, and you can use other sorts of nuts or even mixed nuts if you prefer (mixed nuts makes it a bit cheaper if you’re on a budget but it’s a pretty cheap gift anyway.)

Nuts and Bolts ~ a recipe

Though it’s not a strictly Christmas recipe, it’s original and great fun for the kids.

My aunty made them last Christmas and I just couldn’t stop snacking on them! These addictive little treats are delicious, fun and very, very easy to make.

The ingredients are:

1 x 675 packet of Nutri Grain
1 x 45 grams packet of Cream of Chicken Soup powder
1 x 45 grams packet of French Onion Soup powder
2 teaspoons of mustard powder
1 tablespoon of curry powder
2/3 cup of Canola oil
500 grams of unsalted peanuts

One you have all this the making of Nuts and Bolts is extremely simple…

1. Warm oil in microwave for about 20 seconds
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a lidded container
3. Shake until the Nutri Grain is covered with the dry ingredients
4. Pour and stir in oil and shake some more
5. Keep stored in an air tight container

If the Nutri Grain goes a little soggy, simply heat in a moderate oven until they are crispy again.

If you don’t like peanuts you can change the recipe to cashews or even some mixed nuts. You could even throw in a broken up packet of 2 minute noodles to make Nuts, Bolts and Screws!

Great for a snack as everyone arrives or shares out presents at Christmas, or make little packets of it as gifts.

Glasses and plates of food on a table

Nuts & Bolts can be added to any entertainer’s table.

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