Friday, 21 December 2012

Foodie Friday: fudge & fancy gingerbread

Last night I shared my bed with two chaps and there wasn't a lot of sleeping involved.  Before you jump to 'three in the bed romp' conclusions it was my snoring Hubbie and my poorly son - who it turns out has tonsillitis - who kept me from a graceful slumber. What it does mean is that today I'm fairly good for nothing other than mooching around the house mainlining cups of tea to keep me awake and being grateful that I don't have to go to work.

homemade peanut butter fudge
I am so pleased I had the foresight to do my baking earlier this week. If I'd left it until today I'd be in a lot of trouble. Instead I have managed to bake and box up the second batch of peanut butter fudge which is nothing like the first. I have concluded that I didn't boil the mixture for long enough or at a high enough heat the first time so it was gritty and a bit too soft, but it stands alone as a great sweet fix if not an accomplished fudge. This batch is darker, more solid and has the texture of indian mithai with the buttery taste and mouth feel that appeals so much. I also managed to score some fabulous kilner jars to put the fudge into (which I'm tempted to keep for myself actually) so that I don't have to resort to using those take away plastic boxes that always smell vaguely of chinese or indian food even after many washes.

gingerbread tree decorations - not seventies glam shades iced gingerbread star biscuitsThe other less successful bit of baking I did was the long awaited gingerbread kit from Waitrose. The mix was pre-made which required kneading to make it soft enough to roll out, but it was still too dry and kept breaking up. We did manage to get enough stars out of the mixture for my son's nursery party and some to decorate the tree with so it was sort of worth the effort. Once baked though the icing part was the next trial. There were two pre-filled icing bags and a small bag of 'edible glitter,' but the icing was too thick to pipe and did not 'smooth over the top' as the pack claimed. I'm particularly disappointed as this was a pricey £3.30 (and that was on special offer) and rather than being a fun activity to do with my boy it was just a bit too fussy so I won't be getting it again.

mincemeat palmiers alternative to mince pies The surprise of the week was how well the festive palmiers turned out that I had sort of come up with as a way to use up the remainder of mincemeat and some puff pastry I'd bought to experiment with. I popped some in a jar to give as a gift and I think they make a suitably light alternative to traditional mince pies. They're light and just the right size to have with a cup of tea - which for me is the sign of a good snack.

fudge and christmas biscuits in glass jarsSo that's almost all of my Christmas baking done. Once it's over I'm going to feel bereft so I was delighted to receive a call telling me that the boy and I have a place on the 'Baking Bears' course at our local children's centre. It's a course of classes teaching children some basic cooking skills and is always over-subscribed so it's taken us a while to get a place. As we're starting in January it gives us something fun and foodie to look forward to.

That and the boot camp I've signed up to do in January to counteract all the overindulgence !!

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