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Baking gifts

Last night I attended the first of this years “Christmas” gatherings. It was an “end of year” dinner for a small group of friends. There are quite a few coming up in the next weeks and some of them have Kris Kringle arrangements, where you have to bring a wrapped $10 present, and it’s a lucky dip as to who gets what.  

This year my plan is to bake for the KKs. There’s not a lot you can get for $10 —often it’s just “stuff” you don’t really need or want, and in the past I’ve wasted a lot of time wandering through shops unable to find anything I like.  

My godmother (who came to us every year for Christmas and Easter) always used to bring a tin containing her home-made biscuits. They were yummy and we always looked forward to eating them. So this year I’m following her example and buying pretty tins or boxes and filling them with home-baked cookies (or biscuits as we call them here.) 

Yesterday my KK was a tin of acetani biscuits, which I blogged about a few weeks ago. I’m also planning to make either Melting Moments  (pictured above) or Yo-Yo biscuits. They’re small, melt-in-the-mouth biscuits sandwiched together with some kind of icing mix — my favorites are lemon and passionfruit. Yo-Yos and Melting Moments are very similar — the main difference is that the Yo-Yo ingredients  include custard powder. The photo above is from this site, which has the recipe.

I also made my first batch of Christmas Crack, which I make every year, and I took several small bags along to last night’s dinner — one for each person. Basically it’s a buttery toffee, baked over a layer of salted crackers, then topped with a layer of chocolate, and finally sprinkled with toasted flaked or slivered almonds. 

It’s delicious and quite easy to make and these days a lot of my friends expect it. There is no reason why it needs to be a Christmas recipe, but it’s now become one  of my annual traditions. 

There are recipes all over the web, but you can find mine here, along with a few other recipes for food I give at Christmas.

I also have a yen to make Garibaldi biscuits, which I’ve never made before.  They’re popular in the UK, Australia and NZ. They’re flat, with a thin layer of sweet pastry, a layer of currants and another layer of pastry. When I was a kid, we used to call them “squashed fly biscuits” but despite the name, they’re yummy. The photo on the right is from this site, which also gives the recipe.

I’m very fond of currants and I also have a yen to make Eccles cakes, which I’ve eaten but never baked myself. I’ll probably try this recipe, which looks quite straightforward. There are more on the web, including this one that looked great, but it recommends that you render lard, and make your own candied peel. I might make the candied peel, but don’t think I’d bother rendering lard. But who knows? If I make that recipe (sans lard) I’ll let you know, because it does look excellent.

I really enjoy baking, but I hardly ever do it, because if I bake, I know I’ll end up eating more biscuits than I usually allow myself (which is generally none), so it’s lovely to have an opportunity to bake things, try one or two, and give the rest away.

What about you — do you bake things or make gifts for the festive season? And which of the above biscuits would you prefer to receive?

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Priscilla Payne
Priscilla Payne
6 months ago

I do cook for the holiday. I make fudge for the family. I also do cookies. My favorite Linzer Torte cookies. My great grandson calls them jelly cookies! I also make a stollen. I do not do as much as I used to. Getting older! But I still like to bake.

Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie
6 months ago

Thanks, Priscilla. I’ve made fudge a few times, but I prefer my Christmas Crack as a little giveaway. I’ve never eaten or baked Linzer Torte cookies, but I looked them up and they look lovely.

Liz Fielding
Liz Fielding
6 months ago

Just a lovely idea, Anne. My mother made eccles cakes, but never rendered lard. And we used to call Garibaldi’s revolution biscuits – because of Garibaldi. (Never miss an opportunity to add a little knowledge along with the sweetness1(

Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie
6 months ago
Reply to  Liz Fielding

Thanks, Liz. Glad to know your mother didn’t render lard. I’ll try it with butter. Revolution biscuits sounds good — I recall looking the name origin up some years back, but it didn’t seem to explain what Garibaldi had to do with currant bikkies. I think they’re just called fruit slices in the shops here, but squashed fly bikkies is a very Aussie childhood thing. Mum used to growl at us every time we said it. Never stopped us though. ;)