Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas goodies.

Bit late getting this post out there, better late than never maybe? As homemade bakes always find their way into our Christmas gifts, I thought I might compile a post of some of the sweet treats that I seem to make year after year. I tend to favour those homemade goodies that are fairly easy to make and keep for at least a week beforehand, recipes that I know will work out well. Christmas is no time for trying to be healthy! The kids (and Mr CH) look forward to the fudge especially, I don't make much in the way of sweet treats any other time (mean mum).

Have included a couple of easy bickies as well, they keep for two weeks at least. I'm an Aussie so I call biscuits, biscuits/bickies, seems everyone's calling them cookies these days? Don't get me started on patty cakes cupcakes!

White rocky road
 This is a popular recipe that has been doing the rounds for a few years now at Christmas because it's too easy not to make. We make this instead of White Christmas. One of those treats where you can substitute ingredients depending on taste.
2/3 cup of craisins (dried, sweetened cranberries)
1/2 cup chopped toasted pistachios
2/3 cup shredded coconut
3 cups chopped marshmallows
1 375gram pack of white chocolate melts (Nestle brand)
Combine craisins, pistachios, coconut and marshmallows in a bowl and stir to mix.
Melt chocolate in a microwave or double boiler or over simmering water being careful not to overheat chocolate.
 Pour over craisin mixture and stir to combine, spoon into a greaseproof paper lined tray 30cm x 21 cm (12 x 8 inch)
Harden in fridge and cut into squares, store in fridge.

Strawberry Oreo fudge

125 g butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons glucose syrup ( no substitute, you need this to stop the sugar crystallising)
1  395g can condensed milk
200g dark chocolate
7 strawberry Oreo biscuits, roughly broken into chunks (you could use any cream biscuits)
Place butter, sugar, syrup and condensed milk in saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring until you feel the sugar dissolve. Takes about 10 mins and should be glossy.
Increase heat to a simmer and cook stirring to prevent sticking to bottom of saucepan.
Stir until mixture starts to pull away from the side of the saucepan. About 8 minutes depending on your stove, less for gas.
Remove from heat, stir in chocolate and then biscuits  and working fairly quickly before it sets, Pour into greaseproof paper lined tray 27 x 17cm
Allow to set, cut into squares and store in fridge.
Apricot Cointreau balls

200 grams dried apricots
20mls (1 tablespoon) Cointreau (or Triple sec, Grand Marnier or orange juice)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
5 wheat breakfast cereal biscuits - crushed ( VitaBrits, WeetBix or other crushed cereal)
substitute crushed biscuits if you like, you need 90 grams worth. I find the VitaBrits give a nice not-too-dense texture.
 1/2 of one 395gram tin of condensed milk
 Chop or process apricots finely (I like to chop mine by hand)
Add Cointreau or juice etc. and mix.
Add coconut and crushed cereal biscuits and mix well with your hands.
Pop in the fridge for half an hour to harden slightly and then roll in extra coconut.
Store in the fridge, makes 25 balls or double the recipe if you like.
Rocky road fudge
125g butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons glucose syrup
1  395g can condensed milk
200g milk chocolate melts, chopped
1/3 cup chopped nuts
 1 1/2 cups chopped marshmallows
1/3 cup raspberry jubes/ glace cherries or sultanas, chopped.

Line a 27 x17 cm tray with greaseproof paper.
Place butter, brown sugar, glucose syrup and condensed milk into a heavy based saucepan over low heat.
Stir continuously until sugar has dissolved.
Increase heat to medium and stir continuously until mixture starts to thicken and pull away slightly from the sides.
Stir in chocolate, nuts, marshmallows and cherries etc stirring until chocolate has melted.
Quickly pour into greaseproof paper lined tray and set in the fridge.
Cut when firm and store in the fridge.

Chocolate nut squares
120g milk chocolate melts
120g dark chocolate melts
2/3 cup chopped nuts
4 tablespoons cocoa
2/3 cup coconut
2/3 cup condensed milk
 Melt chocolate in bowl over simmering water being careful not to overheat.
Add nuts, cocoa, coconut and condensed milk and stir to combine.
 Press into greaseproof paper lined tin/dish approx. 27 x 17 cm tray
Harden in fridge ,cut and store in fridge.
Rum balls
 Every family has their own favourite recipe for these, some using cake crumbs, some crushed biscuits, this is the recipe (think it's a CWA recipe) my Nanna would make and has become the only recipe we use.
 10 VitaBrits or Weetbix (we're a VitaBrit family) breakfast cereal biscuits
I cup sultanas
1/2 cup coconut
2 tablespoons cocoa
1  395g can condensed milk 
good splash of rum or rum essence
 Extra coconut for rolling

Crush VitaBrits into sizeable crumbs, add sultanas, coconut, cocoa and mix.
Add condensed milk and rum and mix until well combined.
 Put in fridge for 20 mins to firm up slightly.
Press mixture into firm balls and roll in coconut.
Store in fridge.

1/2 of a 395 gram tin of condensed milk  200grams
3 tablespoons butter 60 grams
2 tablespoons golden syrup 40 mls
1/2 cup caster sugar
 Place all ingredients except vanilla in a heavy based saucepan and stir over low heat to dissolve sugar. Increase heat and allow to simmer while stirring continually for ten minutes or until mixture thickens and becomes glossy and starts to hold together.
If you like firm caramels cook longer.
Add vanilla and pour into greaseproof paper lined tray and cool in fridge.
 Have read in places that some people have trouble cooking caramels, can be tricky to get perfect, depending how firm you like to eat them. I always read comments when reading other recipes. Some people have mentioned having to throw out saucepans/ thermometers etc. Just a tip if you do overcook any sugar related syrup such as toffees (or savoury sauce). And find that your utensils have stuck together.
 Fill your saucepan with water and bring to the boil, the water lifts any burnt/stuck sugar from your utensils and saves from having to throw anything out. Never occurred to me that others out there don't know this, just thought I'd mention.

Almond bread
Always make a few loaves of almond bread for Christmas, one for us and some to gift. Quick and easy and can be made ahead of time. Crispy wafer-like.

3 egg whites (60g)
1/2 caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
1 cup of raw almonds
 Beat egg whites until stiff.
Add sugar gradually, beating well to dissolve all sugar. Meringue texture.
Sift flour and fold into egg/sugar mix.
Add almonds.
Spoon mixture into greaseproof paper lined loaf tin ( 
Bake in mod oven (180c/ 356f) until firm to touch.
Approx. 30 minutes.
Remove from tin , allow to cool, then wrap (still in greaseproof paper) in cling wrap and set aside for two days to harden slightly (not in fridge).
Then cut into thin slices, arrange on baking tray and allow to dry in a slow oven (120c/248f).
Check and turn until wafers are crisp but not brown.
Store in airtight container for two weeks+.
 Caramel biscuits
A sweet, rich biscuit. Bake at own risk!

1 cup brown sugar/200gms
1 egg (59 grams)
1/2 cup oil/125mls
1 cup plain flour/150gms
1/2 cup self-raising flour/75gms
1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice/70gms
1 cup of caramel bits/190gms
Preheat oven to 180 c/356 f
In a bowl beat egg, oil and brown sugar with an electric mixer until somewhat thicker and fluffy.
Sift flours together and add to oil/egg/sugar mixture, add nuts and caramel bits and mix until combined.
Roll heaped teaspoons of mixture into rough balls and press down slightly on a baking papered tray.
Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating trays and check to avoid over browning.
Perfect gift for Dads.
Chocolate chunk biscuits
  Our favourite chocolate biscuit, a good all rounder. Who doesn't love choc-chip biscuits?
125 grams butter
1 1/4 cups of brown sugar firmly packed
1 egg
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup self raising flour
1 teaspoon of bicarb soda
1 cup chopped milk or dark chocolate melts
1/4 cup chopped white chocolate melts (or mini m&m's)
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (or sultanas)
Beat butter and sugar together until creamed.
 Add egg and vanilla and mix to combine.
Sift flours, cocoa and bicarb together and stir into butter mixture to combine.
Add chocolate and nuts and stir well.
Drop a tablespoons worth onto a paper lined baking tray and bake in a mod oven for 10 mins.
Cool on racks so biscuits stay crunchy.
 Have posted this recipe before, so here's the link
Some goodies not listed here that we sometimes make include, coconut ice, truffles, coloured meringues, chocolate dipped marshmallows, chocolate covered pretzels (well liked for the last few Christmas'es), Anything Goes Rocky Road.
 What is that one thing that you must have each Christmas?
For us it's Rumballs (and Pavlova!).


  1. Thank you for sharing all these recipes.
    The rocky road one caught my eye. I tried the most delicious version this year- white choc, marshmallow, Turkish delight, dried fig, pistachio and cashew.

  2. I love your home bake recipes, our Christmas treat is a steamed chocolate melt in the middle pudding! I home bake almost everything and my kids consider it a huge treat to have a shop bought artificial tasting cake!!

  3. Wow - making several of these for after dessert on Christmas Day and to enjoy over summer!

  4. Hi Simmone,
    I am going to make your white choc Rocky Road - just scribbling ingredients down...
    I love the last pic of your Gingernuts - so pretty.

  5. Hi Simmone, your Christmas goodies look so yummy, and so beautifully photographed! My mouth is watering now! Wishing you a lovely Christmas and New Year!


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