Saturday, 7 January 2012

New Year Hamper

A very Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!
I wish you a healthy body and a healthy mind!
I wish you positive energy and spirit!
I wish you strength to get you through turbulent times!
I wish you love and friendship to keep you warm!
And as I would love to say…

‘Feed your tummy…feed your soul!’

Well, that’s what I love my blog to be about, food for the tummy/ palate and food for the spirit.

In keeping with the above theme, I decided to give New Year hampers to family. I’ve always wanted to do festival hampers and am sooo happy I did it finally…there’s some more to go. I really couldn’t spend enough time on the photos, as I would have like to.

I tucked some of my fruit cake, cherry biscuits and chocolate fudge in the boxes. We had a few unexpected guests , so had to make another batch of fudge (Who’s complaining?!! Tee…heee). I came across a recipe in the 'Joy of baking' website called Icebox cookies (I like to call them cherry cookies). For the fudge, I followed Nigella Lawson's recipe.

Icebox Cookies (Cherry Cookies)

What you need
1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups (345 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (175 ml) candied red cherries, chopped

Here's how
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and then add to the butter and egg mixture. Mix just until a dough forms. Stir in the cherries until evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Divide the dough into thirds. Place each third of dough on a large piece of parchment or wax paper. Smooth and shape the dough into an evenly shaped rectangle that is about 7 inches (18 cm) long. **
Then thoroughly wrap the shaped logs in the parchment or wax paper, twists the ends of the paper to seal the logs, and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least three hours, or up to three days. (The logs can also be frozen for about one month. If freezing, it is best to let the logs stand at room temperature about 15-20 minutes before slicing.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) with the rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a thin bladed knife, slice the logs into 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick slices.Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Bake for about10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
Store at room temperature for about five days or baked cookies can be frozen for a couple of weeks.
Makes about six dozen cookies.

** (I had to reread this instruction to understand well. Let me make it a bit simpler for people like myself.  Divide the dough into three parts, and use your beautiful hands to shape them into mini loaves; so that you get rectangles when you cut them later)

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