Personally, I’m a big fan of making and receiving edible gifts. It’s always a wonderful surprise when you unwrap what you presume will be another pair of allegedly comedic socks and discover that it’s actually handmade fudge, made with love.
I find it equally enjoyable to make edible gifts for other people as you can handcraft each chocolate or sweet and make it perfect for your favourite people. Another added bonus of edible gifts, which I would highly recommend, is making slightly too much of whatever decadent treat you are making so you can ensure that your efforts are rewarded by an early Christmas present to yourself!
To promote this unappreciated idea, I thought I should encourage you to spread the joy this year by sharing my favourite recipes for edible gifts- your friends and family can thank me later.
First of all, I’d like to share a recipe for the classic stained-glass biscuit, a mainstay at any Christmas celebration. This recipe is adapted from Good Food and makes 30 biscuits.
Gingerbread stained-glass biscuits
- 175g dark soft brown sugar
- 85g golden syrup
- 100g unsalted butter
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- 350g plain flour
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Clear boiled sweets
- White icing (optional)
You will also need:
- Snowflake biscuit cutters, one 12cm and one 6cm across
- Heat the sugar, golden syrup, and butter in a pan until melted. Mix the ginger and flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the bicarbonate of soda to the melted mixture and stir, then pour into the flour mixture with the egg and stir to combine.
- Chill the mixture for at least an hour until firm enough to roll out.
- Preheat the oven to 170 fan/ 190 degrees.
- Roll out the dough to 2mm thickness on a lightly floured surface, cut into shapes using your larger 12cm snowflake cutter and transfer to a lined baking sheet.
- Cut a window out of each biscuit using your smaller cutter and add a sweet to the centre.
- Bake for 5-6 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown and the sweets have melted.
- Once cool, decorate your biscuits with white icing if you’re feeling fancy and your friends and family have been extra good this year.
Next, I would like to share an incredible recipe I’ve adapted from Carnation for Baileys fudge. This recipe perfectly combines the best parts of Christmas, sugar and alcohol, and is guaranteed to make you very popular at your family gathering!
Baileys Fudge (makes 36 squares)
- 397g Carnation condensed milk
- 150ml Baileys Irish cream liqueur
- 4 tbsp milk
- 450g demerara sugar
- 115g butter
You will also need:
- A 20 cm square tin lined with baking parchment
- Put 100ml of the Baileys liqueur and all the other ingredients into a large non-stick saucepan and melt everything over a low heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Bring to a steady boil for 10-15 minutes, stirring continuously and scraping the base of the pan to prevent it from catching.
- Remove the fudge from the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes, then add the remaining liqueur and mix.
- Beat the mixture until it loses its shine and becomes very thick (this should take about 5-10 minutes). The longer you beat once it starts to thicken, the crumblier your fudge will be.
- Press your mix into the tin and leave to set before cutting into squares.
- Wrap your fudge up in clear cellophane bags tied with ribbon and feel smug as your friends and family gaze in wonderment at your delightful creation.
Finally, for all those savoury lovers out there, I’d like to share a recipe I’ve adapted from Olive Magazine for classic Christmas plum chutney. This chutney looks and tastes delicious, particularly when paired with cheese or cold cuts on Boxing Day lunch. Although I must admit, at first glance, the ingredients list does appear to go on forever, but I promise it’ll be worth it when you can waltz into the Christmas party and appear to be thriving in every aspect of your life as you hand out your delectable handmade gifts.
(Makes 5 x 45g jars of chutney)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 large banana shallots, sliced
- 2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
- 75g dried cranberries
- 1kg plums, stoned and chopped into large chunks
- 250g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- 400ml red wine vinegar
- 250g light muscovado sugar
- 150g golden caster sugar
- ½ an orange, zested and juiced
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan and cook the shallots and red chillies for around minutes until softened.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the orange zest and juice, and slowly bring to the boil.
- Once boiling, turn down the heat so the pan is simmering, and leave to bubble away for about an hour until the mixture has thickened.
- Stir in the orange juice and zest and spoon into sterilised jars whilst the mixture is still warm.
- For maximum flavour, leave for a week before eating. Once opened, keep chilled and eat within a month.