Day 24: The Gingerbread House

On the 24th day of the Christmas Countdown we successfully made a gingerbread house!

Last year’s was a total disaster! I had to make this year’s work. I started with my own gingerbread shapes…rather than IKEA’s broken ones! I used a recipe from my favourite site…taste.com.au…that had received fantastic reviews. I found some templates and some great tips here, and got to work.

The secret to a successful gingerbread house…as my mother told me last year (and I ignored!) – don’t rush it. You need to take good breaks between each step to let the house set and strengthen, particularly before adding all the sweets.

I’m looking forward to giving this a go again next year – and if you haven’t made one before I’d recommend you do too. Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Day 23: The Very Late Fruit Cake

On the 23rd day of the Christmas Countdown the Christmas Fruit Cake was final put in the oven. For the week leading up to this the fruit had been soaking in Brandy!

I have one recipe I use every year…but this year I decided to try something a little different from taste.com.au. I’m not sure it’s my favourite but it worked out quite nicely. My preference is the darker, richer taste that comes from a boiled fruit cake, like Jill Dupleix’s baby fruit cakes.  Here is this year’s attempt, looking very un-glamorous!

Day 21: Gift Labels

On the 21st day of the Christmas Countdown…we made labels for the anticipated gifts using old Christmas Cards.

In the past we have used photos of the family to indicate who the gift was intended for, but this year I decided to try something a little different.  I have piles of Christmas cards I have received that I’ve been very tempted to toss when cleaning out the drawers.  I thought this was a great in-between step…convert them into something useful.

I simply printed each of our initials using a large Arial Black font. Fortunately our names all start with a different letter. I then cut out the letter and traced the reverse side on to the inside left hand side of the Christmas card. I then cut this out, punched a hole, strung through some ribbon and stuck it to the gifts.  Voile….and easily identifiable gift!

Day 19: It’s Not Christmas!

On the 19th day of the Christmas Countdown…Christmas festivities were put on hold for my birthday!  Unfortunately there were no birthday cakes this year!  Last year’s was rather special…maybe next year (hint – hint!).

We had a lovely day together – movies and lunch with my young boys.  Lots of lovely presents – and tomorrow Christmas festivities will resume!

Day 17: Apricot Balls

More Christmas treats…and this time I decided to get creative. I’ve made Apricot Balls many times, infact one of the top hits on this blog is for Hamish’s Apricot Balls.  But today when I went to make them I didn’t have all the ingredients so I decided to make up a recipe using what I had, and they worked out really well.

Here’s the recipe.

Apricot Balls

350g dried apricots
1/4 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup roasted (unsalted) peanuts
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
10 sweet biscuits
1 can condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup extra desiccated coconut

Add apricots and peanuts to the food processor and process until finely chopped.  Transfer to a bowl. Process biscuits until finely crushed. Transfer this to the bowl too.

Add chopped marshmallows, white chocolate chips, coconut. Stir to combine and then add condensed milk and vanilla essence.  Mix until well combined. Roll a tablespoon of the mixture into a ball and then roll in coconut, repeat. The peanuts add a great crunch and fantastic savoury taste to the sweet apricot and white chocolate mix.