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christmas cooking feature

Last minute edible Christmas presents

Molly McLaughlin

Left your gift shopping to the last minute?

These sweet treats make the perfect gift because food is the way to everyone’s heart! Just wrap your creations in baking paper and cellophane or brown paper and tie with a Christmas ribbon for a cute, delicious and economical pressie.

Moreish Choc Walnut Fudge

christmas fudge feature

Makes 32 pieces

Ingredients :

  • 395g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons glucose syrup (also known as liquid glucose. It can be found in the health food or baking sections of supermarkets)
  • 200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Method:

1.) Grease a rectangular cake tin and line it with baking paper, allowing overhang along both long sides so you can easily remove the fudge later. Put the condensed milk, sugar, butter and glucose syrup in a heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 8 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

2.) Increase the heat slightly. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the mixture is thick and caramel-coloured then remove it from the heat. Add the chocolate and walnuts and stir it all to combine.

3.) Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and set aside for 15 minutes. Then cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or until set.

4.) Remove the fudge from pan and place on a board. Cut into squares and its ready to eat or wrap. The fudge will keep refrigerated for up to two weeks in a container.

Easy-Peasy Christmas Slice

Makes 16 pieces

Ingredients:

  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 200 g good quality dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 2 ½ cups cornflakes
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 200 g red glace cherries, halved
  • ½ cup chopped dates
  • 395 g can sweetened condensed milk

Method:

1.) Grease a rectangular cake tin with melted butter and line with foil. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water to melt, stirring until smooth. Spread the chocolate over the base of the prepared tin and set aside until set, about 40 minutes.

2.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Put cornflakes, almonds, sultanas, cherries and dates in a bowl and pour over the condensed milk. Stir the mixture well.

3.) Spoon the mixture onto the set chocolate base. Spread evenly and press down with the spoon, then bake for around 15 minutes or until golden. Let cool then transfer onto a board to cut and wrap. The slice will keep for up to 5 days in a container.

Mum’s Apricot Jam

apricot jam feature

Makes 5-6 medium jars

Ingredients:

  • 5kg apricots (anywhere from just ripe to soft)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 5kg sugar

Method:

1.) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Wash the apricots and halve or quarter them and remove the stones.
2.) Wrap half the stones in a napkin and crack them with any heavy implement you’ve got lying around. Extract the kernels and set aside and throw out the rest of the stones.
3.) Put fruit, water and lemon juice into a stainless steel saucepan (or copper preserving pan, if you have one) and bring slowly to a boil. Simmer until the fruit is just tender, around 20 minutes, or longer if you prefer smoother jam.
4.) Meanwhile, put sugar into a clean cast-iron casserole or baking dish and warm it in the oven til it is warm to the touch.
5.) Add warmed sugar and reserved kernels to the pan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then boil rapidly for about 15 minutes or until setting stage is reached (drop a small amount onto a chilled saucer for 30 seconds, run finger through the mixture and if it wrinkles it has reached its setting point).
6.) Ladle into hot, sterilised jars, distributing the kernels evenly, seal and let cool. Then decorate the jars, pass them on to friends and wait for the compliments to roll in!

Images of ‘traditional chocolate fudge‘, ‘glass with apricot jam‘ and ‘christmas cookies…‘ via Shutterstock.

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Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin is new to Canberra and is attempting to prove to her friends that the capital city can be cool. This mostly involves frequently going out for brunch and then posting about it on social media, along with trekking up hills and around art galleries. She is half way through her uni degree but spends most of her time reading, writing and planning her next adventure. More about the Author

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