EDIBLE FESTIVE GIFTS: NUTELLA WALNUT FUDGE, EASY MINCE PIES & PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE BARK (+ season’s greetings to you!)

This is my first Christmas ever as the mother to a nursery school-aged toddler, thus preparing holiday gifts for teachers was a brand new experience. Being right in the thick of Christmas DIY-style, I thought I’d attempt to make all of my gifts for L’s teachers at home (even the gift tags, based on my thank you tags as you can see). Once again, I turned to Pinterest for a little festive inspiration. To be honest, there is too much to choose from! But I settled upon the following 3 recipes, all of which have been given the proverbial BIG thumbs up by those who’ve tried the results. I also had remaining Chocolate Gingerbread Truffles which I included as gifts.

 

This will be my last post pre-Christmas, so I’d like to take a second to wish all readers a very merry Christmas/happy holiday season. May the coming days be extra joyful for you and yours! MM xx

 

teacher_gifts
NUTELLA WALNUT FUDGE
Makes: 100 squares, depending on size

 

I am not the biggest fudge fan in the world, but my husband adores the stuff. And there’s something about seeing fudge packaged prettily that evokes a festive feeling. So when I happened to come across Nutella fudge, I thought I’d give it a whirl. When using the original recipe, my fudge did NOT set… twice! I vowed to give it just one more attempt (I hate the idea of wasting ingredients!) and I managed to save the original batch by reheating and adding more icing sugar than specified in the original recipe. I also decided to top my fudge with walnuts to add a little crunch and make them less of a sugar-bomb ;)
nutella_walnut_fudge
INGREDIENTS:

 
250 g unsalted butter
2.4 dl whole milk
7 dl brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
2.4 dl Nutella
14.5 dl icing sugar
A couple of pinches – 1/2 tsp of salt
1 dl chopped walnuts (optional- and of course you can add more if you like!)

DIRECTIONS:

 

  • Grease a pan (I used an IKEA Drömmar pan, dimensions: 37 x 25 x 3 cm). Line bottom of the pan with baking paper, extending the ends beyond the two short pan sides.Place the icing sugar in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Melt butter over medium-low heat. Add milk and brown sugar. Bring to a hard, rolling boil over medium heat and then boil for approx. 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove pan from the heat and quickly add vanilla and Nutella. Stir until the Nutella is melted.
  • Carefully pour the hot Nutella mixture over the confectioner’s sugar and mix quickly and thoroughly until completely combined. The fudge will begin to set as the icing sugar is incorporated. Pour/scoop the fudge into your pan. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts (they may need to be pushed down slightly with the back of a spoon). Chill for at least 2 hours.
  • Remove fudge from pan for easy cutting.
  •  
    *Recipe adapted from this one found at Not your momma’s cookie.

     

    EASY MINCE PIES
    Makes: approx. 24 small pies

    This recipe (adapted from Orlando Murrin’s one found here) has been given 5 stars by its reviewers. I am not suprised! I love it and am pretty sure I’ll be hard-pressed to find a yummier, easier mince pie recipe than this! I have made some modifications to allow for the pastry to be easily rolled (as I prefer a slightly more “polished” look to baked goods generally).

    mince_pies

    INGREDIENTS:

    225g cold, diced butter
    350g plain flour
    100g caster sugar
    A pinch of salt
    Half a beaten egg (for the pastry dough)
    Half a beaten egg (for brushing pie tops before baking)
    Mincemeat (I used a jar weighing 400 g)

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. To make the pastry, whiz butter and plain flour in food processor, then mix in caster sugar, half a beaten egg and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball and knead it briefly. The dough may be used immediately, or chilled for later use (handy, huh?).
    2. Preheat the oven to fan 180C. Grease a 12 hole pie tin (or 2 if you have 2!). Roll out pastry (you’ll need a little extra flour for dusting over the pastry and rolling-pin). Cut out circles with a cookie cutter and press gently into pie tin holes. Spoon mincemeat into the pies.
    3. Take a smaller cookie cutter (I used a blossom one, but stars or other shapes would be lovely too) and cut out enough shapes to make pie lids. Top the pies with their lids.
    4. Brush the tops of the pies with remaining half of beaten egg. Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar.

     
    *These pies will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container and may be frozen for a month!
    *Recipe adapted from one by Orlando Murrin, found at BBC GoodFood)
    *I used the same pastry recipe to create jam tarts with my little boy. Yummy!

     

    PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE BARK

     

    If you’ve been anywhere near Pinterest looking for candy recipes during advent, you’ve no doubt come across an image of this; Peppermint Chocolate Bark. I may have been hiding under a rock, but this seems to have become an overnight phenomenon. Until November this year I had never even heard of it… and yet it seems hugely popular all of a sudden. Having made and eaten it now, I totally understand why! It is absolutely delicious! And looks lovely too! Traditionally made with crushed candy canes, my version contains Swedish peppermint flavoured boiled sweets (as they were all I could come by).
    peppermint_chocolate_bark

    INGREDIENTS:

    400 g dark or milk chocolate
    400 g white chocolate
    1 tsp peppermint extract
    1 – 2 dl, crushed hard peppermint candies

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Line bottom and sides of a pan (I used an IKEA Drömmar pan, dimensions: 37 x 25 x 3 cm) with aluminum foil, extending the ends of the foil beyond the two short pan sides.
    2. Melt the dark/milk chocolate. Stir in the peppermint extract and keep stirring vigorously if the chocolate seizes (it should become smooth and shiny again as the extract is properly incorporated). Spread the chocolate evenly in the prepared pan. Chill until set, about 30 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate. Spread the white chocolate mixture evenly over the dark/milk chocolate. Sprinkle crushed candy pieces evenly over the white chocolate layer. Chill until set (at least 1 hour). Cut into triangular shards to serve.

     
    *Recipe adapted from this one by Caityb19 found at allrecipes.com

     

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    26 thoughts on “EDIBLE FESTIVE GIFTS: NUTELLA WALNUT FUDGE, EASY MINCE PIES & PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE BARK (+ season’s greetings to you!)

    1. Gorgeous sweets and wonderful gifts! You always place great care into your recipes and gift giving. Everything looks delicious. I wish you and your loved ones a joyous Christmas and Happy New Year. I am looking forward to your genuine, warm, inspirational, and creative posts in 2013.

      • Thank you so much, Judy! And likewise! I always feel very happy when I see a new blog post from you come up on my reader list! I love everything you do… it all looks amazing, the flavour combinations are original & inspired and your whole blog has “heart”. Merry Christmas to you and yours and may you have a wonderful 2013 xx

      • Thank you so much :) The tags were the last thing I made (and only because I had a little time the night before dropping the gifts off at nursery school). I used the same basic template that I had already designed for my thank you tags for gift bags for my blessingway, so it was a fairly quick exercise. I might have to create some others and put them on my blog as free downloads as I am sure there are many people who don’t have the time to make them from scratch. Season’s greetings and best wishes to you and yours!

    2. I love Nutella!!! I have a fight with my scale that says that I should limit my Nutella intake. I have told the “scale” that is is Christmas and that Nutella is on the menu. And I am pleased to say that the scale said that I could do whatever I want until January 1, 2013!!!

    3. These are the very best kinds of teacher presents. All the way through high school my kids gave their teachers a homemade candy or baked items (just like these) plus a card indicating that we made a donation to a favorite charity (usually Heifer International) in their name. We felt that it truly showed our appreciation. We always received thank you notes that indicated that the teachers loved whatever we sent. Homemade shows that it is from the heart.

      • Lovely that you and your children always gave homemade gifts and charitable donations as teacher gifts :) Very sweet! And, as you say, much appreciated as they came from the heart. Wonderful! :)

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