I love making edible gifts at Christmas. It doesn’t matter how busy I am or how little time I seemingly have in the run up to the big day, I still always manage to cram in some festive gift making. Last year we moved house less than 3 weeks before Christmas and I had several cake orders to complete as soon as we got the keys to the new place. I really did think that this might be the first year that I didn’t get to make my edible gifts.
As if I would ever let that happen! Even if I was considering toning down my festive makes, there was no chance that my two children would let that go. They have grown up surrounded by tonnes of art, craft and baking paraphernalia and they are both completely accomplished in the kitchen. Saying that, Elsie does occasionally need to be promoted to read an entire recipe rather than skipping crucial stages! And Ted is always Mr Enthusiastic until it comes to waiting for things to set, chill or bake.
Last year, in less than 3 weeks, I decorated the house for Christmas, completed 4 detailed cake orders, delivered a cupcake decorating class to a group of local business ladies, made Christmas decorations, made my first batch of chicken and pistachio pate and then there were the sweet treats like sticky toffee pudding pots, pretzel caramel bark, tiffin and peanut crunchie squares. Phew!
This year I have orders and classes throughout the festive period but I still have a list of things I want to make. Top of that list is bacon jam. Yep you heard it…Bacon. Jam!
I had my first taste of bacon jam just before Christmas 2 years ago when I met the owner of Syms Pantry at a local festive food fair. His bacon products are incredible (assuming you love bacon as much as I do), as well as various jams he also has a bacon mayonnaise which is out of this world. I bought various jars and gift sets from Syms Pantry to give as Christmas presents to my family.
This year whilst doing some serious business on Pinterest (or loosing several hours of my life getting sidetracked by gorgeousness!) I came across a recipe for bacon jam by Blackberry Babe.
I made a batch of this wondrous stuff at the weekend and it tastes great! It was easy to make but cooks down considerably so that I only ended up with 2 small jars and one tiny jar. My intention is to give it as Christmas presents but whether it makes it as far as gifts for others will be a supreme test of my willpower.
I used the kilner jars that come with 2 part lids which allowed me to customise the look by adding a circle of pretty festive wrapping paper. I also used a strip of the same paper to decorate a plain tag.
If you can’t be bothered to make your own and still want to sample the delight that is Bacon Jam, I urge you to follow this link and buy some from Syms https://www.symspantry.com/ You won’t regret it.
Package it pretty!
I’ve just spent the day making and decorating gingerbread biscuits for festive orders. Packaging, particularly at this time of year is so important and it is also one of my favourite parts of working on festive orders. For many of my edible gifts I use brown takeaway cartons that I buy from my wholesaler. These are food safe and I add a lining of parchment paper as additional protection (plus it looks nice).
I usually tie the boxes up with butchers twine or ribbon and add a little clue as to the contents. For my pretzel caramel bark I add a pretzel shaped like a star or Christmas tree. While making my gingerbread cookies, I cut out some extra little stars with holes to add to some raffia to tie round the boxes as decoration.
I also made some extra little stars with holes and created an edible garland by knotting it onto some lovely butchers twine. This was a gift for my best friend who had made me a beautiful star garland made from vintage book pages (see above), it kind of fitted that I also created a star garland.
Crunchie Peanut Squares
The recipe I use for the aforementioned Crunchie Peanut Squares is from one of Nigella’s Christmas shows.
I shall just mention right here and now that I am a massive fan of Nigella Lawson. I love her sultry looks to the camera, her daft set ups eating brownies and pork chops in the middle of the night wearing a silky dressing gown and I don’t care what anyone says, avocado on toast is blooming delicious and totally worth a mention on TV. Her Christmas show is something I look forward to every year.
Another lovely, posh and slightly daft lady who has a Christmas show is Kirstie Allsopp. I love Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas. Admittedly some of the crafts are not my thing and some are available only to those who can afford to take part in expensive classes, however I love watching the variety of activities she covers. Kirstie is relentlessly enthusiastic and her love for all things handmade and vintage is infectious.
At the time of writing this, I’ve only seen episode 1 of the latest series but already I’ve added the little dipped treats to this year’s making list. I plan on altering the recipe to include some different flavours and if successful I will add the recipe and results here later.
Back to the crunchie squares. The basic recipe I use is not available direct from Nigella online, it is in her book Kitchen which I don’t actually have. I wrote the recipe down from the TV.
However a google search reveals that loads of other people have got her recipe on various blogs and here is one of them: http://aspoonfulofsugarblog.com/2013/01/09/nigellas-sweet-salty-crunchy-nuts-bars/
I have altered it as time has gone by by reducing the quantity of butter to 100g and by adding Reeses Peanut Butter Cups chopped up.
Even more chocolate!
I recently made some epic Terry’s Chocolate Orange Cheesecake Brownies and filmed the process. However I forgot to add the text and my video editing skills are very limited so I don’t know how to add it now.
Here’s the little video and if you’d like the recipe, join my newsletter (don’t worry, I won’t spam you, I’m notoriously bad at remembering to get in touch!) and you’ll receive a printable recipe sheet straight to your inbox.
Wishing you good health, happiness and a super yummy Christmas!