Category Archives: Edible gift

Gingerbreads

ginger biscuits

I had a craving for some ginger biscuits this morning and while Victoire popped out, I decided to rustle up a quick batch of these ginger tea-time treats.

Ingredients

  • 100g softened butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tsp ground ginger

Method
Preheat your oven to 150 degrees C.

Cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Sift in the flour and ginger.

Mix well to bind it all together and form into small balls, about a tablespoon of the mix. This is a fairly dry mix so don’t be alarmed when it’s not too sticky.

Place the balls on a baking sheet (about 15 per tray). The balls flatten out in the cooking process, so space them well apart.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes till lightly browned. They will come out slightly soft to the touch, but will harden when cooling on a wire rack.

Serving suggestion
I did mention that these were a tea-time treat, so get that big pot of tea going, because once you’ve had one of these you’ll be dunking them by the handfulls.

Edible gift: Macadamia and Cranberry Nougat

Who can resist the challenge of making your own nougat? Certainly not me! Well, although this is not a complicated recipe, it proved quite stressful, mostly my worrying about whether I had done everything correctly. In the end everything worked out fine – even though the nougat did lose its shape, melting into a mound of chewyness, it was delicious… and that’s all that counts!

Macadamia cranberry nougat

Lessons learnt:
This recipe calls for several unusual ingredients and utensils, the rice paper you should find at a Chinese store, liquid glucose is not stocked by the supermarkets but I found some at a small baking shop, and a sugar thermometer is quite essential for a variety of edible goodies including sweets and jams.
Make sure that you get the correct rice paper! You will need the thinnest paper you can find, usually found in rectangular sheets. The thick rice paper used for spring rolls is no good for this sweet…
The nougat turned out to be very sticky making it difficult to cut and almost impossible to get out of the tin. I would suggest lining the sides of the pan with rice paper as well to assist with the removal of the sweet.

Recipe source:
Food & Home Entertaining, December 2009

Ingredients:
450 g (2 1/4 cups) sugar
250 ml (1 cup) liquid glucose
80 ml (1/3 cup) honey
2 sheets rice paper (plus extra for lining the sides of the tin)
2 extra-large egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
250 g macadamia nuts, toasted
60 g dried cranberries
cornflour, to serve

Method:
Place the sugar, glucose and honey in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Keep brushing the sides of the pan with extra water to prevent any sugar crystals from clinging.
When the sugar has completely dissolved, increase the heat and bring the syrup to a rapid boil until 140 degrees Celsius is reached on a sugar thermometer.
Line the base of an 18 x 28 cm rectangular cake tin with rice paper (remember the sides as well as the base!)
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until soft peaks form. Add the sugar mixture in a steady stream until it is incorporated and continue beating for about 5 minutes until the mixture is slightly cooled and thickened. Add the macadamia nuts and cranberries, whisking them in by hand.
Pour the mixture onto the rice paper and press gently with a spoon to flatten. Cover with another piece of rice paper and allow to set for a few hours before cutting.
Cut into desired shapes, using a very sharp knife. Dip each piece of nougat in cornflour to give it a very light coating before wrapping in parchment paper or cellophane wrapping.

Edible Gift: Old-fashioned fudge

Nico & I have been meaning to make fudge for ages, so when we decided to make edible gifts this year fudge was definitely on the menu. We found a recipe in the December issue of the Food & Home Entertaining magazine, incorporating glace ginger. Not sure about what the ginger would be like we decided to leave it out, but if you want to try it out just add 80 g finely chopped glace ginger with the vanilla essence and a sliver of ginger on top of each square to decorate.

Lessons learnt:
This recipe seriously bombed out for us, in a good way! Whilst stirring the mixture it started forming small darker bits giving the impression that it was overcooking. We immediately removed the fudge mixture from the stove, stirred in the vanilla essence and poured it into the buttered pan. When it had set what we had was a soft butter toffee and no fudge. Delicious none-the-less!
When we reheated the toffee to use as a sauce over our Christmas ice cream it started going fudgey… So one can make 2 different sweets from this yummy recipe. If yours does turn into toffee you can dip squares into melted chocolate to contain the toffee (it tends to lose its shape when out of the fridge, not runny but not firm either).

Luv Toffee

Recipe source:
Food & Home Entertaining, December 2009

Ingredients:
15 ml (1 tbsp) golden syrup
190 ml (3/4 cup) milk
500 g (2 1/2 cups) sugar
125 g butter
1 x 397 g tin condensed milk
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

Method:
Melt the syrup, milk, sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Add the condensed milk and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until pale golden brown, about 25 minutes
Remove from the heat, add the vanilla and beat for 15 seconds
Pour into a buttered pan and allow to cool and set
Cut into squares and wrap.

Edible gifts

I have been longing to bake for ages, especially since I got married, but haven’t really found the time for it. Well, I decided this holiday was going to be different. Since Nico & I aren’t going away it’s a perfect opportunity for us to embark on the great adventure of homemade edible gifts.

Firstly, what to make? Easy, plenty of magazines touting “edible gifts” articles at this time of year. Not so easy was the task of agreeing on what to make. Nico wanted to make easy stuff, I wanted to make exciting stuff I’ve never tried before. So we went shopping for the exotic ingredients required for my chosen recipes, spiced chocolate and almond macaroons, and macadamia and cranberry nougat. Suffice to say neither were close to easy, in spite of being labeled “a little effort”, and neither turned out the way they were expected to.

Then I decided to make fudge. We had been meaning to make some for quite a bit of time now, so it was high time… This really wasn’t my finest hour.

Find the recipes and lessons learnt here:

Kudos to anyone who attempts this every year – homemade gifts are hard work! Subsequent to my embarking on this journey I have discovered Beth’s variety of chocolate truffles… if only I had discovered this before! Although I am sure the heat wave we’ve been experiencing in sunny South Africa would’ve made truffles a nightmare for me… that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself ;)