Edible gifts make the best gifts. Especially if the budget is small. You have ten euro to spend on your office kris kringle? Please don’t waste that money on a cheap toiletry set or an impersonal tin of biscuits! Instead buy flour, nuts and mixed spice, and don’t forget to preheat that oven! Below are two fantastically simple, yet delicious recipes that I made at this years Food & Wine show. Here’s some more edible Christmas present from past blog posts too that I love: Tiffin Christmas Puddings, Pistachio & Chocolate Biscotti, White Chocolate, Cranberry and macadamia panetonne. If you want to really impress then here’s the blogpost on my gorgeous Gingerbread Nativity, my favourite gingerbread house ever! Happy festive baking!
150g (5½oz) shelled pistachios (or use mixed nuts)
150g (5½oz) blanched almonds
175g (6oz) dried figs, quartered
100g (3½oz) dates, chopped
1tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½tsp mixed spice
2tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
50g (1oz) plain flour
25g (1oz) butter
150g (5½oz) runny honey (or maple syrup, agave etc.)
150g (5½oz) soft brown sugar
icing sugar, to serve
Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. Grease and line the base of a 20cm (8in) sandwich tin with baking parchment.
Place the pistachios, almonds, figs and dates in a heatproof bowl. Sift over the cinnamon, mixed spice, cocoa and flour and stir to combine.
Put the butter, honey and brown sugar in a pan, over a medium heat, and stir until the mixture has melted together and just comes to the boil.
Pour on top of the dry ingredients, and mix well with a wooden spoon. Transfer to the sandwich tin and press down with the back of the spoon, making the surface level.
Place in the oven for 45 minutes, until it is bubbling slightly. Remove from the oven and leave until completely cool, before removing from the tin, and dusting with icing sugar.
Cranberry & Macadamia Biscotti
110g plain flour
¾ level teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
25g ground almonds
50g macadamia nuts
50g dried cranberries
75g golden caster sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Pre-heat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3
A large baking tray, with greaseproof paper
First sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, then add the ground almonds and whole macadamia nuts, cranberries and sugar. Give it a good mix, then add the egg, mix it together first with a wooden spoon and then using your hands to bring the mixture together to form a smooth dough.
Now place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, using your hands, roll it into a log about 28cm long. Put it on the lined baking sheet and bake it near the centre of the oven for 30 minutes. After that, transfer it to a cooling tray and leave until completely cold.
Then reduce the oven temperature to 150°C, gas mark 2.
Now use a serrated knife to cut the biscotti into slightly diagonal slices about 1cm wide. Then place them back on the lined baking tray and bake for another 30 minutes until pale gold and crisp.
Transfer them to the cooling tray and when cold, store in an airtight container.
Variations: Almond, cointreau & orange zest, Lemon zest & poppy seed or Hazelnut & raisin