Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Edible gifts

The festive season is upon us and for me that’s just another excuse to get baking!
I love to see the joy on someone’s face when they’re given a gift, and that’s extra special if it’s something homemade.
This recipe is my favourite for shortbread, based on one from my Country Women’s Association (CWA) cookbook, they are light and buttery – but firm enough to handle some adornment.
I recently discovered how easy honeycomb is to make, so I’ve been busting to share it with you and this seems like the perfect opportunity.
This honeycomb recipe comes from Annabel Crabb’s cookbook, Special Delivery, which is a fantastic read with beautiful recipes.
If you don’t like honeycomb, I suggest substituting with something equally as colourful for full impact - like crushed pistachios.
Anyway, I doubled this shortbread recipe so I had plenty of plain biscuits for my lads, as well as packaging up the adorned versions for gorgeous gifts.

¾ cup icing sugar
250g softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups plain flour
Dark and white chocolate, for decorating

165g raw sugar
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Pre-heat oven to 160C and line a tray or two with baking paper.
Cream the icing sugar and butter together until pale, then add the vanilla and mix again.
Sift in the flour and either knead or use your paddle attachment until the mixture comes together.
Roll out dough and cut into whatever shapes you desire, before placing them onto the tray.
Bake for around 10-15 minutes until they start to colour, but do not brown.
Allow to cool.
For the honeycomb, line a tray with baking paper and set aside before combining the sugar and honey in a deep, heavy-based saucepan with a tablespoon of water and heat until the mixture reaches 154C (use a baking thermometer).
Add the bicarb and stir with a wooden spoon until combined, then quickly pour out onto your tray and spread until relatively thin and even.
Place in the fridge to set.
To decorate your shortbread, melt the chocolate and drizzle over the biscuits as if you were in a hurry and a one-year-old was crying at your feet.
Break off some honeycomb and crumble over the chocolate while it’s still soft, so it sets into the chocolate.
When set, package up and gift to your nearest and dearest.