As the rest of the country is recovering from Black Friday fever, here at WeFiFo HQ we are heading to the kitchen (any excuse!) to treat ourselves to some good old-fashioned Christmas cooking magic. Instead of logging on and clicking for your Christmas presents, why not roll up your sleeves and make something yourself? We don’t mean harking back to the bad old days of home-made loo roll holders covered in cotton wool, but rather something altogether more pleasing and tasty. We have been talking about the most memorable Christmas presents we have received and there are some very particular memories of being given a bottle of dark, sumptuous damson gin or a box of velvety smooth chocolate truffles – so here is our take on a few quick and easy presents that you can make, with not a whiff of panic buying in sight!
You can happily give these gifts to friends and family, safe in the knowledge that they will taste delicious and were made with love. However, if you think you might find it hard to give them away, you could always make double and keep some for yourself… or even invite your neighbours over to share some festive food with you!
SPICED CHRISTMAS BISCUITS (makes 36)
200g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
275g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Stir in the egg a little at a time until it’s fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
Sift in the flour, spices and baking powder, then stir to form a soft dough. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/Gas 4. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 5mm thick
Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place them on a lightly greased baking tray, leaving a little space between each.
(If you have time, it’s always good to let these sit in the freezer for half an hour before you bake them)
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden.
Cool on a wire rack then decorate as desired.
When they are totally cool, put them in an airtight jar where they should keep for a week or so.
**If you want to use these as Christmas tree decorations, make a hole in them before you put them in the oven and then thread a piece of twine or ribbon through the hole once they are completely cool.
SAVOURY OAT BISCUITS FOR CHEESE (makes 24)
175g wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking flour
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
100g cold unsalted butter, diced
3 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Mix the oatmeal, wholemeal flour, baking flour, salt and caster sugar in a large bowl.
Rub in cold unsalted butter, diced, then add the milk and knead lightly to form a dough. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Roll out on a floured surface to 3mm thickness. Cut into squares or rounds and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Prick with a fork and bake for 12 minutes until golden.
Allow to cool before storing in an airtight jar. Again, these should keep for at least a week.
6 unwaxed lemons
Zest all the lemons into fine strips, taking care not to include any white pith. Put the zest in a large clean jar and pour over the vodka. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and leave for a week, shaking the jar each day.
Put the sugar in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the vodka and peels and leave for a further week, shaking the jar regularly.
Strain into decorative bottles, adding a few strips of lemon zest to each bottle.
These would all be lovely given as gifts on their own, but if you’re feeling extravagant, or have a special person you want to spoil, why not put them together in a small box with some other festive goodies? We will have some more recipes to follow in the run up to Christmas so keep an eye on the blog!