There’s less than a month to go until Christmas – so you really need to get thinking about presents and snacks! Home-baked goods always go down well with relatives, whether you serve them up on a platter or hand them over as edible Christmas decorations.
Don’t worry if you’re running late though, as we’ve got you covered with a recipe for edible stained-glass Christmas decorations as well as how to make a foolproof mulled wine syrup gift with instructions – just add wine!
But first of all, a recipe the whole family will love and the kids will be eager to help out with!
Stained Glass Window Biscuits
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of plain flour
3 ½ cups of self-raising flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsps ground cinnamon
½ cup of golden syrup
¼ cup icing sugar
2 beaten eggs
Different colours of boiled sweets
1) Mix together the butter, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and both flours in a food processor and mix until it looks like breadcrumbs. You can do this by hand too, crumbling the mixture together with your fingertips, although it will take longer.
2) In another bowl or jug, whisk together the eggs and the golden syrup.
3) Add the egg and golden syrup mixture to the flour mix while the processor is turning but stop as soon as the dough begins to come together.
4) Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it until smooth. Divide the dough into two and then wrap it in plastic or cling film before putting it in the fridge for at least four hours.
5) When the dough is ready, roll it out until 5mm thick. Use cookie cutters to make shapes, and then smaller cookie cutters (or a knife) to make shapes within them. Lay out on trays and freeze for fifteen minutes.
7) Heat the oven to 180°C and line a few baking sheets. After fifteen minutes in the freezer, get the cookies out and sprinkle the smashed boiled sweets inside the cut out hole. If you want to tie ribbon into these so they can hang on Christmas trees, poke a hole with a skewer in the top before you bake.
8) Bake for fifteen minutes, until the biscuit is firm and the sweets have melted. They will spread out to create a translucent, coloured window!
In this case we have used a gingerbread recipe, as it lasts a lot longer than normal biscuits – around four to six weeks, so you don’t have to make them in a rush the day before you give them away, and they can also be frozen. You can use any sweet cookie or biscuit recipe you like though!
This mulled wine syrup recipe is great to make up in the month before Christmas. You can make it up to give as a gift, or just hold onto a bottle for when unexpected visitors arrive!
Mulled Wine Syrup
One lemon peel
One cinnamon stick
Five bruised cardamom pods
A pinch of grated nutmeg
150g caster sugar
A drop of red wine
1) Squeeze the orange into a large pan, followed by the orange skin, the lemon peel, the sugar and all of the spices. Put just a little wine in to cover up the sugar and heat until said sugar has completely dissolved (make sure to keep stirring)
2) Bring the mixture to the boil and then bubble it for around eight minutes to make a thick syrup.
3) Leave the syrup to cool and pour into a sterilised bottle. When you’re ready to use it, you just need to put it in a saucepan with red wine and ginger wine. Sugar or lemon juice can be added for extra flavour.
A Note About Sterilising Jars
It’s really important that you get this right if you want to give the mulled wine syrup as a gift! This is a great technique to know though, as it will be useful for preserving jams and chutneys.
The easiest way is to use your microwave. Clean the jars or bottles and their lids thoroughly and rinse them off, leaving them a little bit wet. Put them the microwave for around 45 seconds and fill them straight after. If the bottles are still warm, warm up the syrup a little.
Do not put cold syrup in a warm jar or vice versa! The change in temperature could easily crack the glass.
Seal well. The syrup can be stored for up to six months.