Here are some recipes for sweets that make really great Christmas gifts. Wrap them in cellophane bags tied with ribbon, parchment paper and string or boxes filled with tissue (old wooden Turkish delight boxes work well for this)
CHOCOLATE ORANGE TRUFFLES
These are actually quite a healthy treat (the main ingredients are dates and walnuts). They are also really quick and easy to make.
2 cups of walnuts
2 cups of dried medjool dates
1 1/2 tablespoons of good quality cocoa powder
The grated zest and rind of 1 large orange
100g melted dark chocolate (70% or more)
Before you begin place some parchment paper onto a baking try.
Put the walnuts and dates in a blender or food processor and blitz until the walnuts and dates are well combined, sticky and almost smooth in texture. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and add the cocoa powder and orange zest and rind.
Roll the mixture into balls (around the size of a walnut) and dip into the melted chocolate then place onto the parchment paper. Leave these to cool in the fridge until the chocolate has set.
This is the easiest fudge recipe. You can use a milk or dark chocolate, I used a 75% dark chocolate which made a really nice rich fudge. You could also add some stem ginger or walnuts…
200g dark chocolate
200g condensed milk
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
Line a 7inch square cake tin with parchment paper
Place the chocolate and condensed milk in a heatproof bowl over the top of a small saucepan of simmering water. Keep stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Take the bowl off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. The mixture will start to become stiff -transfer straight into the lined tin and leave to cool. Store in the fridge.
It has taken a while but I have finally found a vanilla fudge recipe that works! I have had lots of disasters with non-setting fudge, but this one works every time. Thank you to Hello Fallow for the recipe.
3 1/2 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
200g or 1/2 tin sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla essence
Place all ingredients (except for the vanilla extract) into a heavy saucepan. Warm over a gentle heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, stirring frequently to avoid bottom burning. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a soft-ball stage (you can check this here)
Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract. Beat with a whisk until the fudge is thick, creamy and has lost its gloss. The mixture will start to harden so pour into a greased, 20cm cake pan. Cool for 10 mins, then score the top and break into pieces when completely cooled.
CHOCOLATE AND FIG PANFORTE
This is slightly different to the usual Italian style panforte but the chocolate makes it nice and rich plus it is a lot easier to make.
100g dark chocolate
150g caster sugar
250g dried figs
200g roughly chopped blanched almonds
160g plain flour
4 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
grease and flour an 8 inch cake tin
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, when melted set aside. In a separate saucepan heat the caster sugar and honey for around 10mins until the sugar has dissolved.
In a bowl mix the almonds and figs, then add the flour, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Pour the melted chocolate into the dry mixture followed by the honey and sugar mixture. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined (the mixture will start to become quite stiff at this stage)
Transfer the mixture into the cake tin and use a spatula covered with a little oil (this stops the mixture sticking) to smooth the mixture down into the tin. Bake at 180c for 25mins. Allow the cake to cool before slicing. Store in the fridge.