Corlea and Es's Christmas Baking

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Christmas Baking
Christmas is a time for baking, whether you’re making cookies or other goodies! Make it even sweeter by preparing your own edible gifts! 
Christmas Date Balls
Date Balls
200g package of plain biscuits like Arrowroot or plain tea biscuits
500g regular pitted dates
225g butter
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
Unsweetened coconut to coat
Melt butter, sugar, and vanilla together in a saucepan.
Add dates and simmer until entire mixture is soft – it takes a good 20-30 minutes, even with constant stirring and mushing!
Temper the egg into the mixture and cook together for another few minutes.
Break the biscuits into small pieces (this might involve a hammer or heavy rolling-pin) in a large bowl.
Add the date mixture to the biscuits and mix to combine.
Allow it to cool (I did about 20 minutes in the fridge) and then roll into balls.
Roll each ball in unsweetened coconut to coat.

Christmas Shortbread
500g butter (REAL butter, no margarine) at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1tsp salt, only if using unsalted butter
4 cups flour
Preheat oven to 320°F.
Add butter and icing sugar (and salt, if using) to the mixer and combine.
Add flour one cup at a time and mix very well.
That’s basically it. The dough will be quite stiff.
Press it into a parchment lined baking sheet to flatten and poke holes throughout with a fork.
If you have a baking tray with a cutter, this will work like magic. (We use my biscotti baking tray and cutter)
Bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cut immediately and allow to cool completely before handling.
Let it cool completely before you try to break the shortbread fingers apart.
Can dip into chocolate if you prefer
The flavors really develop over a couple of days, and it keeps well for at least 3 weeks.
This recipe is ideal to make in huge batches.

Easy Microwave Fudge
500g (2.5 cups) Sugar
112g unsalted butter
397 g (1 can) can condensed milk
5 ml (1tsp) mint essence
Place all the ingredients except the vanilla essence in a heat-resistant bowl (it should be large enough to prevent the mixture from boiling over).
Microwave on full power for 4 minutes, remove from microwave and stir well until sugar has melted (important step – do not skip or skimp!)
Microwave on full power for 8 minutes, remove from microwave, add vanilla essence and beat for a few seconds with a wooden spoon until thick and creamy (adjust the times according to your oven – look at the color. Should be the color of fudge.
If too light microwave more. Do not let it get too dark as well!)
Pour into parchment lined square dish (we made a double recipe and used a baking tray with a rimmed edge).
Decorate it before it set with candy cane pieces for a festive twist and added mint flavor.
Once you sprinkle the candy cane, drop the tray a few times for the candy cane to sink in slightly and stick properly.
Allow cooling slightly before cutting it into bite-size pieces.

Chrsitmas Nougat
2 tbsp Butter
500g White Mini Marshmallows
450g White Chocolate Chips
2 cups small Gumdrops (cut with scissors in half)
In a large bowl melt first 3 ingredients in the microwave on med/high stirring at 30-second intervals until all combined
Mix in gumdrops.
Please ensure that you have everything ready as you should not waste any time, as the mixture will start to set and then the gumdrops may fall off.
Spoon out and spread the mixture out on the parchment paper lined 9 x 13-inch pan.
Chill overnight in the fridge.
Cut into squares.
We made a second batch and used craisins and golden raisins/muscats as a variation.

Christmas Chipits Treats
Chipits Skor Treats
1 cup softened butter
1 cup demerara sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 x 200g Hershey’s Skor (toffee bits) Chipits
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F
Beat butter and sugar until fluffy
Beat in egg yolk and vanilla extract
Stir in flour and 1 cup of Chipits until well combined
Press dough evenly into a parchment lined 15 x 1010-inch rimmed baking tray
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown
Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the hot base.
Let it stand for 5 minutes or until chocolate softens
Spread evenly with the back of a teaspoon over the base.
Sprinkle the rest of the bag (1/4 cup) Chipits evenly over the chocolate
Once you sprinkle the Chipits, drop the tray a few times for the candy to sink in slightly and stick to the chocolate.
Cool for 3 hours (or place it in the freezer if in a rush) or until chocolate is hard and set.
Cut into squares and then diagonally to make triangles or however you prefer.
Ensure that the chocolate is properly set before you start to cut the treats.
Store in an airtight container. Can also be kept in the fridge.
I intend to do some bake some more cookies, but this was all done in one day so the rest will have to stand over for another day.
All the above recipes tried and tested by Corlea Smit and Esme Slabs
This is a compilation of our Christmas Baking for 2017.
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