Cooking for Christmas - some recipes


CHRISTMAS PUDDING TRUFFLES

Truffles: 300g pitted prunes

2 tbsp brandy

100g dark chocolate, melted

100g walnuts, chopped

Garnish: 6 each red and green cherries, cut into quarters or eighths

100g white chocolate, melted

2 tbsp oil

Chop prunes in a food processor and mix with brandy. Stand for 30 minutes.

Combine with melted dark chocolate and chopped walnuts. Cool for a few minutes. Take tablespoons of mixture and roll into smooth balls. Place on a wax paper-lined tray.

Chill.

Meanwhile, prepare cherries and pat dry with a paper towel. Melt white chocolate and combine with the oil.

Place melted white chocolate in a small plastic bag. Snip off a little plastic from one corner to make a piping bag. Drizzle the white chocolate to look like custard on a Christmas pudding. Top with slivers of red and green cherry. Chill. Makes about 22.

GLUTEN-FREE CHRISTMAS MINCE TARTS


Not all Christmas fruit mincemeat is gluten-free as it may be prepared in the same factory as products containing gluten. However, Barkers has just launched a gluten-free classic fruit mince, perfect for traditional Christmas mince pies.

200g gluten-free flour (I used Simple Wheat & Gluten-Free Baking Mix)

125g chilled butter, diced

1 tbsp icing sugar

1 egg

Extra butter for greasing

400g packet Barker's Gluten-free Classic Fruit Mince

Place flour, butter and icing sugar in a food processor. Pulse until mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs. Add egg and mix until just combined. Roll into a ball, flatten then wrap in plastic film. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 190C. Lightly grease two 12-hole mini-muffin pans.

Roll pastry out between sheets of waxed paper or plastic film until 3mm thick. Using a 5-6cm diameter biscuit cutter, stamp out 24 discs. Gently place in muffin holes.

Pipe fruit mince into unbaked shells. Bake for 15 minutes, until pastry is light brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Makes 24.

SPICED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

250g butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk

3 cups plain flour

2 tsp each: mixed spice, baking powder

500g dark chocolate buttons

Preheat oven to 180C. Line two trays with baking paper.

Cream butter, caster sugar, vanilla essence and sweetened condensed milk until well combined.

Sift in flour, mixed spice and baking powder and mix well. Stir in chocolate buttons.

Roll into balls weighing about 30g each, pressing buttons in firmly. Place on the baking trays. Flatten slightly with a fork.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden, turning trays around halfway through cooking. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Store in airtight containers. Makes about 40.

TURKISH DELIGHT ROCKY ROAD


Use a dark chocolate that is not too sweet. Make your own Turkish Delight or purchase some from your deli.

2 x 70g packets shelled pistachio nuts

250g dark chocolate

250g x 3cm cubes turkish delight

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 16cm x 20cm dish and line with baking paper. Place pistachios on a baking tray.

Bake for five minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool.

Coarsely chop chocolate and place in a microwave-proof bowl. Cook on medium/low (50 per cent) until just melted, about five minutes. Stir well until shiny. Leave to cool slightly.

Halve the turkish delight cubes. Combine with nuts and chocolate. Spoon into dish.

Refrigerate until firm. Cut into pieces and wrap in cellophane.

Makes 10 large pieces.

- Hamilton News

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