Christmas Countdown 7: Candy Cane Truffles

title truffles

In case you were wondering what I did with the rest of the giant packet of candy canes, here’s what I used them for: white chocolate and candy cane truffles.

The original recipe is from Your Cup of Cake, but as it is my nature to meddle with things and ignore instructions, I made some changes, which I think turned out pretty well.

making trufflesI followed the original recipe for the most part, but instead of immediately rolling the truffles in the candy cane pieces, I chilled the centres and dipped them in an additional layer of white chocolate before sprinkling with the crushed pieces of candy cane.

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Once I ran out of the melted white chocolate I began to make the truffles as the original instructions suggested.  Although these look much more professional (they actually stayed round), I have to say I do prefer the ones dipped in chocolate.  I also think it might be a fun idea of experiment by dipping these centres in dark or milk chocolate as well.

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Christmas Countdown 6: Candy Cane Gift Wrapping

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I’ve always been a fan of the little personal touches, and seeing as I’ve already shared my decorated brown paper wrapping, I figured I would share how I’ve added a personal touch to my cards as well.  For the cards that I’ve handed out in person I attached a candy cane to each brown paper envelope using a bit of gold string.  Very simple, but festive and pretty.

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Christmas Countdown 5: DIY Reindeer Six-Pack

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I’m a bit wary of posting gifts that I’m going to be giving to people this year in case they see it on here before they get the chance to open them, so I’m sharing something else I made last year.  I got the inspiration for this cute little gift from Life of a Modern Mom where Kim dressed up six-packs of rootbeer and beer for her family.  I thought this was the cutest idea and just had to make them myself.

I made mine a little differently.  Instead of wrapping the pipe cleaner around the top of the bottle, I cut up the pipe cleaners and made antlers by glueing the pieces together with a hot glue gun.  I then glued the antlers to the bottle caps, so they wouldn’t get in the way while trying to drink from them.  I used smaller stick on eyes and sparkly pom poms for the noses.  I also used some extra wrapping paper to wrap the box in order to make it seem more festive.  I think these turned out really well, and I would be making them again this year if I didn’t think my dad would get bored of receiving the same gift two years in a row!

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Christmas Countdown 4: Homemade Mince Pies

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It doesn’t feel like December until my mum has made her mince pies.  Apparently some people aren’t familiar with mince pies in the States, some of my friends actually thought they had meat in them.  Basically, mincemeat is a mixture of dried fruit, alcohol and spices.  It smells amazing and you get to make a wish when you stir it.  This is always a family thing, but I figured I would share my mum’s recipe with you.  It is loosely based on a mincemeat recipe from Delia Smith’s Christmas recipe book and the pastry is store-bought, but you could make your own if you can be bothered.

Here’s what you need:

supplies for mince pies

225 g Bramley apples (chopped into small pieces)

112 g vegetarian suet

400 g dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants)

120 g dried apricots (cut into smaller pieces)

175 g soft dark brown sugar

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon

25g pecans (chopped)

2 teaspoons mixed ground spice

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Nutmeg (grated)

3 tablespoons brandy

Ready rolled sweet pastry

Mincemeat:

1.  Combine all ingredients (apart from the brandy) in a large bowl and mix them together.

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2.  Cover bowl with a cloth and leave in a cool place overnight.

3.  Pre-heat oven to 120 c, cover the bowl with foil and put in the oven for 3 hours.

4.  Stir occasionally as the mixture cools down.

5. When cool, add the brandy and stir.

6.  Store mincemeat somewhere cool if not using it immediately – it should keep for a long time.

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Mince Pies:

1.  Roll out pastry and using a cookie cutter cut out circles for the bases and stars for the tops.

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2.  Grease muffin tin and press the pastry bases to fit.

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3.  Add a couple of spoonfuls of mincemeat (make sure not to overfill them).

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4.  Cover with pastry stars.

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5.  Separate an egg and brush the yolk over the tops.

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6.  Bake in a 200 c oven for about 15 minutes or until the tops are golden.

7.  Sprinkle with icing sugar.

These taste especially yummy if you eat them warm with a dollop of cream.

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Christmas Countdown 1: Primrose Bakery Maple Pecan Cupcakes

I love the holidays, but as I’m now living in Scotland I don’t get to properly celebrate Thanksgiving anymore.  To get in the spirit, I decided to do a bit of baking.  These Maple Pecan Cupcakes with maple syrup buttercream icing and caramelised nuts are another recipe from the Primrose Bakery (see the vanilla ones I made here) and are amazingly tasty.  Definitely a good replacement for traditional pecan pie.  The recipe was the winner of a competition to raise money for the bakery’s Wellbeing of Women charity and you can find it here.