Turkish Delight

turkish delightTurkish Delight is always a favourite at Christmas, and this versatile recipe can be made in minutes. Try different flavours such as lemon, crème de menthe and orange and vary the colours accordingly.

Ingredients:
450g / 1 lb / 2 cups granulated sugar
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups water
25g / 1oz / 2 tblsp powdered gelatine
2.5ml / ½ tsp tartaric acid
30ml / 2 tblsp rose water
Pink food colouring
25g / 1oz / 3 tblsp icing sugar, sifted
15ml / 1 tblsp cornflour

Makes 450g / 1 lb

Step One : Wet the insides of 2 x 18cm (7in) shallow square tins with water. Place the sugar and all but 60ml (4 tblsp) of water into a heavy-based saucepan. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.

Step Two : Blend the gelatine and remaining water in a small bowl and place over a saucepan of hot water. Stir occasionally until dissolved. Bring the sugar syrup to the boil and boil steadily for about 8 minutes, or until the syrup registers 127oC / 260oF on a sugar thermometer. Stir the tartaric acid into the gelatine, then pour into the boiling syrup and stir until well blended. Remove from the heat.

Step Three : Add the rose water and a few drops of pink food colouring and stir, adding a few more drops, as necessary, to tint the mixture pale pink. Pour the mixture into the prepared tins and allow to set for several hours or overnight.

Step Four : Dust a sheet of greaseproof paper with some of the icing sugar and cornflour. Dip the base of the tins in bot water and invert on to the paper. Cut the Turkish Delight into 2.5cm (1 in) squares, using an oiled knife. Toss the squares in icing sugar to coat evenly.

Recipe taken from The Ultimate Christmas Cookbook

Coffee and Cardamom Toffee

Recipe taken from Gifts from the Kitchen: 100 irresistible homemade presents for every occasion by Annie Rigg and courtesy of Easy Living Magazine.

Makes about 20 pieces

There is something quite nostalgic and old-fashioned about toffee, but here it is given a contemporary twist with coffee and a hint of cardamom.

Cardamom Toffee (2)Ingredients:-
Sunflower oil, for brushing the tin
125g (4oz) unsalted butter, diced
200g (6 ½ oz) caster sugar
75g molasses sugar
2 ruonded tblsp golden syrup
2 tsp instant coffee granules
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
5-6 cardamom pods

Step One : Brush the inside of a 17cm (7in) square baking tin with sunflower oil.

Step Two : Place all the ingredients except the cardamom pods in a medium-sized pan and add 75ml (2 ½ fl oz) water. Crack the cardamom pods using a pestle and mortar; remove the green husks and finely grind the little black seeds. Add to the pan and place over a low to medium heat. Stir to melt the butter and completely dissolve the sugars.

Step Three : When the sugars have dissolved, raise the heat slightly and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring from time to time. Continue to cook steadily until the toffee registers 126oC / 260oF (hard ball stage) on a sugar thermometer.

Step Four : Remove the pan from the heat, give the toffee a quick whisk and pour into the greased baking tin. Leave to cool and harden before breaking into pieces and packaging in waxed paper.

Step Five : Stored in an airtight container, the toffee will keep for about a week.

Link to book containing recipe can be found here …

Stained Glass Snowflake Cookies

Recipe taken from Gifts from the Kitchen: 100 irresistible homemade presents for every occasion by Annie Rigg and courtesy of Easy Living Magazine.

Makes: 8-12 Cookies

Festive snowflake cutters are used for these cookies, but the same idea works just as well for almost any shape. They look beautiful hanging at a window, allowing the light to shine through the ‘stained glass’. Or you could give one cookie to each guest as a place setting or table gift for the Christmas dinner table.

Stained glass.jpgIngredients:-
225g (7oz) unsalted butter, softened
150g (5oz) icing sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
350g (11oz) plain flour, plus extra for rolling
Pinch of salt
Assorted flavoured and coloured boiled sweets

Step One : You will need a selection of snowflake cookie cutters. Cream the softened butter and icing sugar together until pale and light. Add the whole egg and vanilla extract and mix again until thoroughly combined. Sift the flour with the sale, add to the bowl and mixed again until smooth.

Step Two : Gather the dough into a ball, flatten into a disc and wrap in clingfilm. Chill for a couple of hours, or until firm. Meanwhile divide the boiled sweets into separate colours, place in freezer bags and crush using a rolling pin.

Step Three : Heat the oven to 180oC (Gas Mark 4) and line two solid baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment.

Step Four : Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll out the dough until it is roughly 3mm ( 1/8 in) thick. Using the snowflake cutters, stamp out snowflakes in assorted sizes and arrange on the prepared baking sheets. Carefully and neatly fill the holes in the snowflakes with the crushed boiled sweets.

Step Five : Bake in batches on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 12 minutes, until the cookies are pale golden and the boiled sweets have melted and filled the holes.

Step Six : Cool the cookies on the trays until hardened, and package into boxes lined with greaseproof or waxed paper once completely cold. These will keep for four to five days in an airtight box.

Link to book containing recipe can be found here …

Raw Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cups

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Summer 2017)

The heavenly combination of peanut butter and chocolate is always decadent, and the unprocessed versions of both ingredients are wonderfully nutritious, say Melissa Sharp and Lindsay Stark in Modern Baker: A New Way To Bake (Ebury Press, £26).  This is their take on the peanut butter cup – and they make fab individual desserts, too.

Makes 12 standard cups or 24 mini cups

For the Peanut Butter Base:-

200g peanut butter
180g pitted dates
100g oats
100g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tblsp coconut oil

For the chocolate topping:-

100g coconut oil
30g raw cacao powder
2 tbsp date syrup

Step One: Grease 2 x 12 hole mini-muffin trays or a 12-hole standard muffin try with a neutral flavoured oil, such as sunflower oil (not coconut oil as this will go solid and won’t prevent the mixture from sticking).

Step Two:  In a food processor, blend together all the peanut butter base ingredients until they come together in a smooth mass, with no lumps of date.

Step Three:  Divide the mixture evenly among the holes in the tray and press down firmly.  Place the tray in the freezer while you make the topping.

Step Four:  For the chocolate topping, place all the ingredients in a small pan and warm over a gentle heat until the coconut oil is melted.  The date syrup can sink to the bottom, so make sure that you stir the mixture well.

Step Five:  Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter mix and return the tray to the freezer for at least 1 hour.  These lovely cups keep really well in the freezer for up to a month, or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  Defrost for 1-2 hours in the fridge before eating.

Nutrition note:  Dates are rich in minerals, vitamins and fibre.  The humble peanut is often eclipsed these days by more ‘fashionable’ nuts, but it can punch its nutritional weight alongside all of them.