What's for tea tonight?

Edible Christmas Cards

 

We all know that throwing away Christmas cards is very, very naughty. Email Christmas cards are probably not something Granny will ever truly appreciate – who in their right mind would want email over a homemade card?

So you could recycle, OR (much more fun in my view) make some tasty edible Christmas cards.

This is an easy biscuit recipe, that creates a stiff dough perfect for lots of different designs so the children can get really creative.

What you will need :

  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp golden syrup. You could even try maple syrup for an alternative flavour.
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 200g butter
  • 1 egg
  • selection of hard fruit sweets. Foxes Fruits work well

The Decoration bits

You can use whatever you fancy, but in our Christmas Cooking class we used the following:

  • Rice paper. (actually made from potato this can be bought in some supermarkets and pretty much any cake shop)
  • Edible ink pens
  • Icing sugar, food colouring, edible glitter to decorate!
  • Metallic food sprays

 

What to do:

Mix the bicarb into the flour. Add the butter and rub together until the mix resembles bread crumbs.

Add the sugar and spices.

Whisk the egg with the golden syrup and add to the dry ingredients.

Work the ingredients together with your hands until you have a thick smooth dough.

Roll the dough flat until it is about 5mm thick. Use any cutters that you fancy. By making a hole in the centre and adding a fruit sweet you can make ‘stained glass’ effect with the coloured glass panel. This is the perfect setting for a personal message. Place the cookie you have cut out onto a lightly greased tray. Write on the rice paper and add the paper slip into the hole in the cookie – cover with a hard sweet. The sweet will melt in the heat of the oven and will ‘capture’ the message in the biscuit.

If you would like to hang on the tree – use a drinking straw to make a hole in the top of the biscuit shape.

Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes at 180 degrees.

This is important: Do not attempt the remove the cooked biscuit from the tray until it is completely cool. Use a palette knife to slide from the tray. This will prevent the biscuit cracking when the sugar in the ‘glass’ is still warm.

Now the fun bit – cover the biscuit is icing sugar paste mixed with food colouring, sprinkle with edible glitter and spray with metallic food sprays.

By now, you should have a fantastically creative, original and very tasty Christmas card which anyone would love to receive – and eat!

 

Hawthorn Berry Biscuits

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Ok – so this is not a quick recipe but more something that you can easily spend the afternoon preparing and making as a family! Hunting down haws (berries from the hawthorn) is definitely at the easier end of the foraging scale. Don’t expect the juicy plump deliciousness of a blackberry – these are limited in terms of fruity flesh but they are abundant, relatively easy to identify and satisfying to collect with the children.

boy picking hawthorn berriesHawthorn is considered by many herbalists to be a great heart tonic.  I will struggle to promote any health benefits of this recipe with a pure conscious because it does contain quite a bit of sugar…however these biscuits are a really tasty way to use your berries and easy to make.

Hawthorn is very common in hedgerows and the South Downs is full of them. Invest a fiver in a good book like ‘Food for Free’ and make sure that you identify clearly before picking and supervise young children carefully. Look for the distinctive shaped leaves, thorned branches and shiny red berries. The berries contain a large stone which is why it is best to boil and separate the flesh before adding to any recipe.

Incidentally, I think this would also work well with rosehips. Both are high in vitamin c and can be found ripe around this time of year so keep an eye out!

 

What you will need :

  • 300g haw berries (estimate 5 adult handfulls) + water
  • 80g wholemeal flour
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 80g butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cinnamon

 

What to do:

Heat the oven to about 180 degrees Celsius. Grease baking trays well.

Wash and remove the leaves and most of the stalks from the berries. Add to a saucepan with enough water to just cover them, bring to boil and then simmer until they are soft and split. Mash with a potato masher to break them into a pulp.

Mix the butter and sugar to a creamy paste. Add the other dry ingredients and mix.

Using a fine sieve or a metal tea-strainer push the berry pulp through and discard the seeds and skin. Keep the sieved pulp and add to the biscuit mixture.

Plop a spoonful of the mixture onto the baking tray. Keep a distance of about 5cm between them because they will spread out during cooking. Cook into the oven for around 10 minutes until they go lightly brown.

Leave to cool and when ready – munch away!

 

2 thoughts on “What's for tea tonight?

  1. mmmm, youve made that soup for us before, with goats cheese and roasted redpepper brushettery things. very lovely. think we should come for dinner more often!

  2. Having a real ‘thing’ for goats cheese at the moment. We should have a cheese tasting day at that cheese cave in town! yyuummmy!

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