Simple Christmas Baking and Treat Recipes

“Christmas is a tonic for our souls. It moves us to think of others rather than of ourselves. It directs our thoughts to giving.” B.C. Forbes

 

It’s less than a month until Christmas, but there is still plenty of time to whip up a tasty treat or two to share with friends, to gift, or to make your own Christmas a little more yummy.

One of the things I love about food as a gift at Christmas is that it is something almost everyone appreciates, and it is a consumable so it won’t add to the growing mountain of plastic waste, pointless gag gifts and credit card debt.

When you share your gifts think about using wrapping and packaging that won’t cost the earth. Go find an old tin or some pretty old china at the Thrift Store, or wash and reuse glass jars with a circle of bright fabric or paper tied over the lid to make it festive. Cardboard, paper, ribbon, string, fabirc, waxed cotton and flowers from the garden all make great packaging and decoration too.

Here are some of my favorourite Christmas cooking ideas. All of them are easy, quick and well-tested by at least one of my Christmas Elves (Ben, Rufous, Cafe Dog, the neighbours or the staff of the Bangalow Post Office!) and me. Just click on the link to go to the recipe.

Macadamia Shortbread Recipe

 

Easy Fruit Cake Rum Balls

 

Festive Fudge Recipe

 

Heavenly Chocolate Brownies

 

Gluten-Free No Bake Yummy Slice

 

Last-Minute Christmas Cake Recipe

Five Minute Fudge

 

Easy Peach and Vanilla Jam Recipe

 

Prize-Winning Coconut Ice

 

Green Goji Bliss Balls (Healthy but AMAZINGLY GOOD!)

Much love, Nicole  xx

 

 

Easy Fruitcake Rum Ball Recipe for Christmas

“You little beauty! I wait all year for these Rum Balls!” ~ Michael the Tractor Man

 

We live on a farm, as members of a small regional community here in the Byron Bay Shire. Each year we use the same services, eat at the same cafes, shop at the same markets. Over time the people who staff these places have become friends – people whose names we know and whose lives have become intertwined with our own.

So at Christmas time we love to share gifts with the people who have served and supported us throughout the year.

I’m planning to make my Festive Fudge, shortbread and Christmas cakes to give as gifts. But I’ve been in bed for most of the past month so my preparation is behind and today Ben will be seeing the man who services our mowers and chainsaws, and the man who repairs and services our tractors. So we need rumballs, stat! With Bundaberg Rum, of course, because that’s how we roll in this household. It’s tradition!

These rumballs are one of the fastest and easiest recipes I know. And oh my goodness, they are DELICIOUS!!! Fudgey and flavoursome, great texture, and not too sweet. I whipped up these Easy Fruitcake Rum Balls last night, in about twenty minutes from start to finish.

If you don’t like the taste of rum try brandy, Frangelico, Kahlua, Tia Maria or even Grand Marnier. Need it alcohol-free? Substitute rum flavoured essence, vanilla or hazelnut syrup or even a coffee essence.

And if you live somewhere hot at Christmas time make sure to keep the finished rum balls in the fridge. In fact if it’s meltingly hot where you are you may need to chill the mixture first before rolling it.

Happy making, lots of love, Nicole xx

Ingredients:

  • 1.2kg of fruitcake (Buy two x 800 gram dark fruitcakes and use one and one half cakes)
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) of dark rum
  • 3 x 200g blocks of dark chocolate
  • 3 to 4 cups of unsweetened desiccated coconut (Note – you could substitute chocolate sprinkles for some or all of the coconut if you prefer)

Method:

  1. Choose a large bowl. Break the cake into tiny crumbs in the bowl and then sprinkle the rum over the cake. Mix well and leave to stand for five minutes.
  2. If you have a  microwave melt the chocolate by breaking the first 200g block of chocolate into pieces in a heatproof bowl. Melt on medium for one minute. Stir and then melt on medium for another 30 seconds. Stir and if all melted add chocolate to cake mixture. Stir well.
  3. Repeat process for remaining two blocks of chocolate, melting and mixing one block at a time.
  4. If you don’t have a microwave use a double boiler  – break all of the chocolate into a large bowl and place the bowl over simmering water. Stir until melted. Add the chocolate to the fruitcake mix in thirds, stirring well after each addition.
  5. Take heaped teaspoons of mixture and roll into balls using your hands. If it’s boiling hot in your kitchen chill the mixture a little first to make it easier to roll. Toss the balls in coconut to cover. You should get upwards of 80 balls. (Results vary depending on how much you eat while making!)
  6. Place on a tray or in a container in one layer and refrigerate until firm. After the balls are hard you can stack them on top of each other, but wait until they are set or they will lose their shape.

Here is the recipe and the taste test in pictures for you (and you’ll notice that Rufous Dog has managed to sneak into yet another food pic) 🙂

 

An Important Message from Santa’s Reindeers

reindeers

“I’d just never get the job done without my trusty Reindogs I mean Reindeer – they deserve something tasty after all that hard work!” ~ Santa

Hello People!

This is an important Christmas Eve Message about Santa and his Reindeer from Reindeer Bert and Reindeer Harry…

It is very thoughtful for you to leave a little snack out for Santa. Christmas Eve is a big night for him, and he needs to keep his energy up to get all of those presents delivered.

But Reindeer need snacks too.

Please don’t feed them grass. Grass makes Reindogs Reindeer fart, which is not a good thing unless you are the lucky front Reindeers.

Image from pt for wallpaper

Image from pt for wallpaper

Hay is no good. Carrots and apples are bad too.

What Reindeer like is dog snacks. Or biscuits. Or cat treats.

And a nice big bowl of water.

Image from petsugar.com

Image from petsugar.com

Thank you for caring for Santa’s Reindeers!

Merry Christmas!!!

Woof 🙂

Reindeer Dogs by Ursus Arctos

Reindeer Dogs by Ursus Arctos

Misty Morning Pre-Christmas Happiness

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“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”
~ Lemony Snicket, The Blank Book

Saturday morning, 22 December, 2012.  The world hasn’t ended.

Instead Harry the pup woke me up, and after a cuddle the dogs and I went for an early walk to pick frangipani to decorate the house. I’ve only been home since yesterday, after another round of doctors visits and such up in Brisbane, and our little cottage needs some fresh blooms and Christmas spirit.

The farm was shrouded in light mist, but it soon lifted and we were treated to an early morning balloon fly-over.

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Today, it’s beginning to feel like Christmas. Until yesterday I wasn’t even sure how this year’s Christmas might look… I’ve been mostly away from my precious farm, thinking more about health things than celebration.

But now it’s shaping up nicely. Today we’re going into the Farmers Markets in Bangalow to pick up some supplies, and we’ll meet friends for coffee.

Then after a few hours work for me today it’s tree and decoration time. (Nothing subdued about that around here – our place at Christmas always looks like a team of sugar-high five year olds were let loose with too much tinsel.)

I am a firm believer that Christmas is what you make of it.  It can be a difficult day for many, who are on their own, far from home, or estranged from family and friends.  We’ve always had an open-door policy for Christmas. For me the spirit of Christmas is all about inclusiveness and love.

I invited a few friends around to share our day. My girlfriend wanted to contribute something and rang me, needing to know what our theme was.

Theme?

Oh my, how that brought back memories of my mother’s over-the-top Christmas Extravaganzas with eleborate menus and colour co-ordinated place settings.

Theme?  Tropical! I decided.  Why not? Let’s ‘theme’ Christmas.

And then something magical happened. Another friend with nowhere to go, and then a few more… “Oh, yes,” I kept saying, “do come. It’s a ‘Tropical’ theme!” Everyone became engaged.  A Tropical theme? Pina Coladas. Hawaiian shirts, floral leis, shorts and sarongs and flowers in your hair. Perfect for an Australian summer Christmas. (Yes folks from the other side of the planet – we don’t do snow at Christmas time – we do prawns (shrimp) on the Barbie (barbeque) with mangoes and watermelon and refreshing fruit drinks. I would think the world was ending if we had snow here at Christmas.)

I am getting excited now. I am planning menus and decor.  OMG – I have turned into my mother!!!  (I am trying not to think to hard on that last statement. LOL!)

So this morning Bert’s busy collecting wood for the evening bonfire…

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Harry is busy sleeping after running around like a demented pixie…

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Ben and I are getting ready for a Tropical Themed Christmas – quite fitting for Byron Bay.

I’d better get the rum and fruit cake ready for Santa and leave out some dog biscuits? for his Kangaroos.