Christmas treats

Following my recent blog post about Christmas, my Canadian friend Martha asked ‘What’s tiffin?’ I promised her I’d give her the recipe. But rather than just share it with Martha, I thought I’d share these two simple Christmas recipes with all of you. I’m going to busy all weekend making multiple batches of tiffin and rum truffles to give as Christmas gifts to people living on both sides and in the middle of the river. These two recipes are my mother-in-law’s (and perhaps her mother-in-law’s before her). I don’t have all the ingredients to hand this year, but they are flexible recipes, so I’ll be substituting what I can find. If I was living in a house with a big oven I’d have weeks ago made Christmas cake and Christmas pudding (my own mother’s recipes). But with limited space aboard Carina, I’m sticking with these easy and quick treats. (And anyway, Mammy’s bringing her own Christmas pudding from Ireland when she comes next week!)

If you’ve never attempted Christmas baking before then these might be just for you!

1 packet digestive biscuits
4oz butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup mixed fruit (I’m using just sultanas this year)
Glacé cherries and mixed nuts (amount to your own taste) (I’m using dried figs and hazelnuts)
2-3 tablespoons golden syrup (Half-half golden syrup and honey this year, as I’m nearly out of golden syrup. Maple syrup or any other will do just as well)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Bar of cooking chocolate (my mother-in-law uses dark, but I prefer to mix one-third dark to two-thirds milk – depends on how sweet or bitter you like your chocolate)

Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a pan.
Crumble the biscuits.
Mix all the ingredients in the pan.
When well mixed press into a square or oblong tin. Press down well.
Put in fridge to cool.
When cool, spread with melted chocolate. Chill.
Cut into individual pieces. Indulge.

Rum truffles – makes 12
4 oz continental cooking chocolate
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon dark rum
4 level tablespoons icing sugar sifted
Extra icing sugar and cocoa powder to decorate

Melt chocolate in a heat proof bowl over pan of simmering water.
When melted remove from heat.
Add milk, rum and icing sugar.
Mix well. Allow to cool, then chill.
When chilled roll into 12 balls and coat with icing sugar or cocoa powder.
Lick fingers when finished!!

Last year I attempted a non-alcohol version, using half dark chocolate/half milk chocolate; grated rind of an orange, and freshly squeezed orange juice to replace the rum. They tasted great, but melted very quickly once out of the fridge and were difficult to shape into balls. I’m going to try again this year, but with less orange juice and a greater proportion of dark to milk chocolate.



3 thoughts on “Christmas treats

  1. My homemade gifts while cruising were usually shortbread biscuits and fudge. Luckily I couldn’t resist tasting the biscuits as they came out of the oven which saved me the embarassment of giving our friends biscuits made with salt instead of sugar! Hope you have a lovely, peaceful Christmas – I enjoy reading your blog very much, although it puts the longing on me (and my husband) to go back cruising again…

    • Fudge would be a disaster on Carina. It would never leave the galley. There are some serious fudge addictions aboard. In fact, when Julian was a kid, fudge was one of his two super foods (the other was Cadbury’s Creme Eggs, but they were only seasonably available). Fudge made him fly, run faster, gave him super human strength. Aw bless!! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas too!!

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