Handmade gifts a great Christmas idea
Give the same-ol’ sweater and socks routine the sack and go DIY this Christmas. DIY gifts are thoughtful, fresh and uniquely you.
Easy to make presents include biscuits, soap, sauces, calendars, scrubs, recipe books and art. But let’s start with everybody’s favourite: chocolate.
Truffles are easy to make, and wrapped in a cellophane bag or presented in a tin box with a personalised tag, they’re a great gift for any chocoholic or gourmand.
Truffles can be flavoured with just about anything. Experiment with your favourite liqueur, reduced fruit juices, and spices and essences to produce a signature treat. 100ml milk cup ground coffee beans 1kg dark chocolate buttons 250ml cream 50g butter 1 heaped tbsp glucose 30ml rum 70g cocoa Bring milk and coffee to a simmer in a saucepan. Strain through a coffee filter or clean tea towel. Melt 500g of chocolate and place in a large bowl.
Bring coffee-infused milk, cream, butter and glucose to the boil and pour over chocolate.
Add rum and stir with a whisk until smooth and shiny. Pour into a container and set in the fridge.
Use a teaspoon to shape into balls and place on a tray. Freeze. Melt remaining chocolate. Cover a tray with the cocoa. Using your fingers, coat truffles with chocolate and drop onto cocoa so that they don’t touch each other.
Agitate tray so that truffles roll around and become covered in cocoa. Store in an airtight container with excess cocoa on top in the fridge.
Makes about 100.
Delight the senses and evoke the taste of Christmas with a little gingerbread. You can also get creative with the cookie cutters and decorations to inject a little extra Christmas cheer. For coloured icing, add a few drops of food colouring before kneading and mix it in well. 200g butter 90g sugar 90g brown sugar cup treacle 2 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp ground ginger tsp ground cloves 1 egg, beaten 450g plain flour 2 tsp bicarb soda Pinch salt 500g ready-made white icing (sold at supermarkets)
Cream the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Add treacle, spices and egg. Mix well.
Sift flour with baking soda and salt. Add flour to butter and egg mix, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition.
Knead dough lightly, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for one hour. Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced). Roll out dough thinly on a lightly floured surface. Cut out shapes and place on trays lined with baking paper. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, place on wire racks and allow to cool. Remove the ready-made icing from the wrapper and knead (if the icing is hard, microwave on medium power for 20-30 seconds to soften).
Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out the icing thinly. Cut out shapes with a pastry cutter. Brush the cooled biscuits with water and place the icing shapes on top. Press down lightly.
Want to make something other than a Christmas cake? Get creative and make a cake of soap. You can make a bunch of bars in one go for useful, sweet smelling gifts. You’ll need: Boiling pot Molding trays Mixing bowl Wooden Spoon Electric Mixing Wand Wax Paper (required if using a wooden molding tray to prevent soap from sticking when hardened)
Rubber / cooking gloves
A beautiful body scrub is great for guys and girls and you can scent it any way you like. Here’s what you’ll need: salt or sugar oil – organic extra virgin coconut oil is great but you can use any type of oil essential oils if you choose a bowl a spoon a glass jar to store the scrub