oliveoilandlemon

recipes for healthy living

Tag: gifts

Dark Chocolate Mendiants & Other Edible Christmas Presents

 

I love making edible Christmas Presents especially for somewhere like work if you have a big gang to think of. Here are a few lovely easy ideas for presents which you can tuck into cellophane  bags and give away.

Chocolate Mendiants – Easy to make and delicious for a sweet treat or edible Christmas Present, You can use any selection of toppings you like- I also love to use dried raspberries and crystallized ginger.

200g of 70% dark chocolate, chopped very finely
20g of pistachio nuts, chopped finely
25g dried cranberries
15g desiccated coconut
sea salt flakes, optional

I used a macaron silicone mat for making these but you can simple draw circles onto a sheet of parchment paper and flip it over so you don’t place the chocolate onto the pen or pencil marks!
A simple method to temper chocolate is to very gently melt 90% if your amount of chocolate (in this case 180g) over a very low heat on a bain marie. Take off the heat and stir in the remaining amount (20g in this case) and stir until it has melted.
Working quickly, spoon the chocolate onto your circle marks and spread evenly using the back of a teaspoon, sprinkle over your nuts cranberries and coconuts plus the sea salt if using.
Leave to set then gently peel off and store in an airtight tin in a cool place (Not the fridge) or into small cellophane bags to give away.

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Baci Di Dama – Ladies kisses

Makes 40 (20 pairs)
Zest of 1 orange
150g butter at room temperature
150g rice flour or plain flour
150g almonds or ground almonds
Pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
100g caster sugar
Oven at 170C
Grind the Almonds with the sugar until light and floury

If you are using ground almonds then simply mix them mix together
Add to bowl with rice flour, salt, rub in the butter
Grate in the zest of an orange and add the vanilla essence
Work the pastry until it comes together, wrap in cling and chill for an hour or more. Roll into small balls (about 10gr ea).
Gently press them to flatten and bake for about 20 mins until light golden.
Sandwich together with chocolate ganache from here or melted chocolate.

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Chocolate Nut Biscotti
250gr plain Flour
250gr golden castor Sugar
5 Eggs beaten lightly
240g Chocolate drops
50g shelled pistachio or other nuts if you prefer
1tsp each espresso powder and vanilla essence
15 gr Confit orange zest (Optional but lovely!)

Oven at 180C
Line two baking trays with parchment paper;
Combine flour, espresso powder, baking powder and sugar.
Make a well in the center, add the eggs and vanilla essence and stir until combined.
Stir in the chocolate, the pistachios, and orange zest if using. Use your hands to knead the dough until it comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using cold, wet hands, divide dough into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a log. Place logs a few inches apart on prepared baking sheets; flatten logs slightly then bake for 25 minutes or until firm and light brown. Remove from oven and cool for about 15 minutes.
Use a very sharp serrated knife to cut each log diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on to baking trays and bake for 15 minutes more or until crisp and golden brown. Cool and enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container or cellophane bags at room temperature for up to a month.

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Christmas Biscuit Presents

BAci Di Dama

Biscotti

Baci Di Dama Tin

Biscotti Arranged

DIY presents can be great in theory but a disaster in reality unless you are talented at arts and crafts. Biscuits are the exception – these are easy to make, fill the house with lovely Christmas smells and are popular both for the thought that goes into them and the enjoyment you get out of them. I made a triple batch of each and brought some into work which always goes down well. My little one helped which she enjoyed, but for her the highlight was the gingerbread house, not the bikkies.

Baci Di Dama – ladies kisses from Piedmont
Makes 40 (20 pairs)
Zest of 1 orange
150gr butter at room temperature
150 gr rice flour
150gr almonds
Pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
110 gr sugar

Grind the Almonds with the sugar until light and floury
Add to bowl with rice flour, salt, rub in the butter
Grate in the zest of an orange and add the vanilla essence
Work the pastry until it comes together, wrap in cling and chill for an hour or more.
Roll into small balls (about 10gr ea).
Gently press them to flatten and bake for 20 mins.
Sandwich together with chocolate ganache or melted chocolate.

Choclate Nut Biscotti
250gr plain Flour
250gr golden castor Sugar
5 Eggs beaten lightly
240gr Chocolate drops
50gr shelled pistachio or other nuts if you prefer
1 tsp Vanilla essence
15 gr Confit orange zest (Optional but lovely!)

Oven at 180
Line two extra-large baking sheets with parchment paper;
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and sugar.
Make a well in the center, add the eggs and vanilla essence and stir until combined.
Stir in the chocolate, the pistachios, and orange zest if using. (The dough will be crumbly). Use your hands to knead the dough until it comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using cold, wet hands, divide dough into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a 14-inch-long log. Place logs about 5 inches apart on prepared baking sheets; flatten logs slightly until about 1-1/4 inches wide.
Bake for 25 minutes or until firm and light brown. Remove from oven and cool for about 15 minutes.
Transfer logs to a cutting board.
Use a very sharp serrated knife to cut each roll diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes more or until crisp and golden brown. Cool and enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.

Baci di Dama Close

Row of Biscotti

Gerard Coleman Brownies

Peanut Butter Brownie BitesThe house is quiet but because my 2 nieces are coming for a sleepover with my daughter, I’m taking the opportunity to get some food prepared while there is a bit of peace. A simple sausage casserole is prepared very quickly which all of us will have and I also have some spicy cauliflower curry over from yesterday so that will do for us grown ups.

Because it is a ‘special casion’ the kids will have ice cream and I have made some brownies to enjoy later.The recipe comes from Gerard Coleman of Artisan du chocolat in London who is an extraordinarily talented chocolate maker. Have a look at his site as there are many other yummy looking recipes. including one for Biscotti I think I will make next. His brownie recipe was given to me on my course in Dublin Cookery School and as I have mentioned this is a fantastic place where I have enjoyed developing my cookery skills and finding new recipes as well as meeting an amazing bunch of people. For brownies or most chocolate cooking I use Callebaut chocolate drops. Just make sure you use good quality chocolate otherwise you are really wasting a great recipe.

For 1/2 kg of brownies to be shared among lots of people….
100g dark chocolate
75g butter at room temperature
55g castor sugar
25g Honey (Optional, I left out today as I had none)
75gr whole eggs (about 2 but 3 if they are small)
75gr of chopped chocolate or chocolate drops
75gr of chopped pecans or nuts of choice- make sure to chop finely so they dont drop to the bottom of the tin… Actually today I used macadamia’s
25g self raising flour, sifted – use gluten free if preferred, you will get a slightly flatter result but lovely still.

Oven 160’C. Cook for about 15-20 mins.

9″ springform pan or equivalent tin lined with parchment paper

Melt the bigger quantity of chocolate gently over pot of hot water. Stir in the butter until the butter melts. Take off the heat.
Beat the eggs and sugar until white and light.
Fold this into the melted chocolate mix. Add the sifted flour and chopped chocolate and nuts.
Pour into baking tin.
Bake for about 20 mins until the middle does not wobble but should still be a little gooey. Loosen around the edge of the tin while still warm and leave to cool before cutting.

PS – Check out the christmas gifts on Gerard’s site…. I like the idea of cocoa rehab… 6 months for me please!…

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