17 December - Make your own edible gifts

An alternative advent calendar


If you are anything like me, there are times you just don't know what to buy someone and end up buying something for the sake of it. We should reduce the 'things' we have as we often fill our lived with things that we don't really want or need.


However...who would say no to nibbles or alcohol?!?


Making our own gifts can save money, can be adapted to personal tastes and use organic / more sustainable ingredients.


They can also reduce packaging by using jam jars and bottles that we would otherwise be thrown away along with personalised festive paper tags.


Below are 4 really quick ideas (all <30 mins to make)

1. Christmas Jar Truffles

2. Vegan Baileys

3. Sweet, salty, spicy nuts

4.Mincemeat filled amaretti biscuits


1. Christmas Jar Truffles

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons cacao

  • 1 cup desiccated coconut

  • 1½ cup dried dates

  • 1 cup raw almonds

  • ½ cup dried cranberries

  • 2 tablespoon cacao (for dusting)

  • 3 tablespoons of liquid (rum, juice etc)

Method

Place the first four ingredients in the food processor and blitz until it resembles a fine crumble.

  1. Add the liquid and combine in food processor.

  2. Add the cranberries to the mixture keeping them chunky.

  3. Roll the mixture into 20 truffles and lightly dust with cacao using a fine sieve.

  4. Place in the fridge to set and enjoy!

Use jars, ribbon and paper tag as practical packaging

2. Vegan Baileys

This is significantly healthier than the original and can be made in less than 5 minutes!


Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup whiskey (75 ml)

  • 1/4 cup coffee (50 ml)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

  • 13.5 Fl Oz coconut milk (400 ml)

  • 4 tablespoons agave syrup

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender for about 1 or 2 minutes until smooth.

  2. Store in the refrigerator and shake well before using.

Cute, festive and...it's alcoholic!

3. Sweet, Salty, Spicy Party Nuts

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 cup untoasted walnut halves

  • 1 cup untoasted pecan halves

  • 1 cup unsalted, dry roasted almonds

  • 1 cup unsalted, dry roasted cashews

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ½ cup white sugar

  • ¼ cup water

  • 1 tablespoon butter

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

  • Combine walnut halves, pecan halves, almonds, and cashews in a large bowl. Add salt, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper; toss to coat.

  • Heat sugar, water, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted. Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat. Slowly pour butter mixture over the bowl of nuts and stir to coat.

  • Transfer nuts to the prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer.

  • Bake nuts in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Stir nuts until the warm syrup coats every nut. Spread into a single layer, return to the oven, and bake until nuts are sticky and roasted, about 6 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

There's those jars again!

4. Christmas Amaretti Biscuits - they are filled with mincemeat!!

Ingredients

  • 2 large egg whites

  • 200 g ground almonds

  • 185 g caster sugar

  • 1½ tsp ground mixed spice

  • 50 g walnut pieces

  • 1 tbsp brandy

  • 65 g mincemeat

  • 3 tbsp caster sugar – to roll the biscuits in before baking

  • 3 tbsp icing sugar – to roll the biscuits in before baking


Method

  • Pre-heat your oven to 170°C/150°C fan. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper or a reusable baking liner.

  • Finely chop your walnuts (50g).

  • Whip your egg whites (2 large) until they form stiff peaks.

  • In a different bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (200g ground almonds,185g caster sugar, 1½ tsp ground mixed spice and 50g chopped walnuts).

  • Add the whipped egg whites to the dry ingredients and fold them together until combined.

  • Add the brandy (1 tbsp) and mix until combined.

  • Divide the mixture into 18 equal-sized balls. Split each ball into two seperate balls (⅓ in one ball and ⅔ in the other). Make a well in the middle of each of the large balls and add ½ tsp on mincemeat into the hole. Flatten out the each smaller ball and carefully press it over the mincemeat the seal the biscuit. Carefully roll each ball between the palms of your hands to form it into a round ball.

  • Put the caster sugar (3 tbsp) in a shallow dish and the icing sugar (3 tbsp) in a different shallow dish. Roll each biscuit first in the caster sugar and then in the icing sugar. Place them on to the prepared baking sheet.

  • Bake your biscuits for 15 minutes, until they look like the ones in the pictures.

  • Once baked, remove your biscuits from the oven. Leave them to cool for a few minutes on the baking tray before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mincemeat filled amaretti biscuits

All links to the original recipes can be found in the names.

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