Holiday baking for edible gifts
Is it just me or is the end of 2013 approaching at a breakneck speed? It’s time for end of year school concerts, prize givings and finding enough for the kids to do so they don’t drive everyone bonkers by the end of their 6 weeks of school holidays.
Then there’s the Christmas preparations and presents that need to be bought as well as parties and holiday braais that are crying out for RSVP’s to the point where you think your calendar could not possibly get any fuller and you will need a holiday or a trip to a mental institution by the end of it. That sentence probably made you just as tired and overwhelmed as I am currently feeling. Sorry about that.
Holiday baking for edible gifts
I’ve been thinking of making as many presents as possible this year and so I decided that you might also benefit from a few one stop shop recipes that will not only fill your own cookie jar for the descending hoards but maybe lighten the burden a bit when it comes to thinking about presents for all and sundry. I have listed a few things that can be made in advance but keep and package well and also added a recipe I posted when I will still blogging at Food24. This recipe can be tweaked to your hearts content, makes about 90 cookies and tastes like Eet Sum Mores when you use Nomu Vanilla paste.
Top 10 Holiday Treats
10. Lemon Curd
And here is a special bonus just for you… The promised Butter Shortbread cookies that taste like Eet Sum Mores
Basic Butter Biscuit Recipe
500g unsalted butter (room temperature)
400ml castor sugar
2 extra large egg yolks
10ml vanilla extract or 5 pumps of Nomu vanilla paste
5 x 250ml cake flour
75g glazed cherries, halved or 100g dark chocolate, melted
Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add small quantities of castor sugar while beating constantly. Add egg yolks one by one beating well after each addition. Add vanilla essence and beat. Sift in corn flour (Maizena) and beat until well blended. Sift in small quantities of cake flour and salt while blending thoroughly with your free hand to make stiff dough. Press dough into a ball and wrap in cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each part into a long thin roll about 4cm in diameter and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour until the rolls have hardened.
Preheat 180. Spray a large baking sheet with non stick spray. Cut cookie dough into 7mm slices and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Decorate each cookie if preferred. Bake for 15 minutes or until cookie turns straw coloured (pale gold).
Cool on baking sheet and store in air tight containers. Makes 90 cookies.
Chocolate centered cookies: Additional ingredients – 4 x 100g milk, dark or white chocolate. Make a batch of cookie dough and, after chilling for an hour, halve the dough and roll out to 5mm thick. Line prepared cookie sheet with the rolled dough. Break chocolate into squares and arrange on top of the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the remaining dough until 5mm thick and place on top of the chocolate squares. Firmly press dough down aling the sides of the pan, taking care that the chocolate squares don’t pierce the dough. Bake for 50 minutes at 160 until the dough is pale gold in colour and allow to cool before cutting into squares. Makes 80 squares.
Orange sandwich cookies: Additional ingredients – 125g soft butter, 375ml sifted icing sugar, 5ml orange essence, grated rind of 1 orange. Roll out cookie dough until 3mm thick. Cut out shapes with cookies cutters (since these are sandwich cookies, you will need to ensure that you have a pair of each shape) and place on a prepared cookie sheet (these biscuits do spread so leave enough space between each cookie). Bake for 15 minutes at 160 until light gold in colour. Allow to cool on baking sheet before transferring onto a cooling rack. While you are waiting for the cookies to cool, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add small quantities of icing sugar while beating continously. Add orange essence and grated orange rind. You will have a lemon cream type filling. Sandwich cookies together with icing. Makes about 75 sandwiched cookies (depending on size of cookie cutters used)
Almond cookies: Additional ingredients – 500ml finely chopped almonds, 80g glazed cherries cut in quarters. Add chopped nuts to basic cookie dough and mix well. Divide dough into 4 equal parts and roll each part into a long, thin roll about 4cm in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour until the rolls have hardened. Cut into 7mm slices and arrange on prepared cookie sheet. Decorate each cookie with a cherry and bake for 15 minutes at 180. Cool on baking sheet and store in air tight containers. Makes 90 cookies.
These cookies make great edible gifts and only need to be packaged in lovely bottle with some pretty ribbon ;o)