Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry Christmas Treats

I apologize to my readers that I have disappeared for the last few weeks. I'm sure you can all relate to being swamped with Christmas planning. I haven't stopped cooking though. Who can at this time of year? It's a cooks dream many treats, savoury and sweet alike!

Last year my boyfriend's Mum introduced me to a delicious sweet treat made of biscuits, coffee, rum and coconut. They were a huge hit so I posted them with the name Slovak Coconut Balls. They have similar ingredients to tiramisu so we could call them Tiramisu Balls also but to stay true I will apply 'Slovak' to the name as our new family traditional Christmas treat!
Marek made them for us this year so we now have a photo to show you how delicious they look. They taste even better! Let this image tempt you!

Next there's my first attempt at Shortbread cookies. The ultra traditional Scottish Christmas treat. These buttery sweet biscuits have always made my mouth water, I just had to include them in my Christmas spread. With such simple ingredients who knew they were actually more complicated to make than expected!
Mine turned out delicious but more like sugar cookies than traditional shortbread. They still taste delicious! I mean, how could butter, sugar and flour baked together ever turn out tasting bad, right?!
I found some recipes using plain flour and other recipes using self raising flour. I'm still learning the effects and how to substitute.
My shortbread ended up slightly chewy (a tad too much butter perhaps?) and lost the cookie cutter's shape (I figure due to the self raising flour. Maybe, if using self raising flour the shapes should be cut out after baking).

I followed this recipe but since I ran out of plain flour I used self raising, plus to add a little extra flavour I substitute 1/4 of the flour for ground almond and I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

125g/4oz butter
55g/2oz caster sugar
180g/6oz plain flour

And finally, for a savoury treat, there are the common yet scrumptious sausage rolls. My Mum makes them every year so of course I must keep tradition going if I'm not spending Christmas at home.
I'm very pleased with how these beauties turned out, especially since I used my own homemade pastry this time and didn't use store bought ready rolled puff pastry. I'll be honest and say that the ready rolled puff pastry tastes superior but I'm giving myself a break....I have some practice ahead of me! We all know how difficult it is to get puff pastry right. So considering...I am ultra proud of these sausage roll bites!

I used a portion of my home made tenderflake pastry

For the filling:
500g sausage meat
4 slices of brown bread, crumbled
1 egg
1 tbsp sage
1 tbsp thyme
salt&pepper to taste

- Combine all sausage filling ingredients in a bowl
- roll pastry out into a large rectangle about 2-3cm thick
- create a tube with some sausage filling along the length of the pastry, about as thick as your thumb
- carefully yet snuggly roll and wrap the pastry edge over the sausage tube. Brush along the inside edge of the pastry with some egg. this will help to seal it. Now use a pizza cutter to slice along the edge and cut away from the rest of the pastry.
- Repeat this process until the pastry sheet is used up.

I loved every bite this Christmas. Our friends brought over many unforgettable snacks and we had the most unbelievable Christmas Eve and Christmas day meals....I am still waiting for some images to get these posted for you. So all I will say right now is Yuuuuuummmm!! I love Christmas! It's that special time of year when we don't have to worry about what we're eating....just enjoy it! Oh yeah baby!

Merry Christmas!

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