Christmas baking – Rum balls

Half the fun of Christmas for me is all the yummy baking I get to do in the lead up to the big day.  As well as making traditional favourites, such as fruitcakes and shortbread, I also love to make rum balls.  My little helper loves this recipe, and surprise surprise his favourite part is helping crush the biscuits, closely followed by stirring all the ingredients together.  He isn’t a huge fan of covering the balls in coconut, as he can be a bit precious when it comes to getting his hands dirty – this is the same toddler who will happily use both of his hands to dig through dirt.

This is a great recipe to make with kids, and is an even better christmas gift – that is if you don’t have your toddler climbing the fridge shelves to eat them…..  Enjoy!

rumballs

 

 

250g of crushed biscuits – we used arrowroot

1 cup of coconut plus extra to roll the balls in

2 tablespoons of cocoa

1 tin of condensed milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence – or 4 dessertspoons of rum if you prefer

* Crush biscuits, add all other ingredients to a bowl and mix together

* Roll tablespoon of mixture into balls, cover with coconut and place in the fridge to firm

Throwback Thursday – Apricot Biscuits

Growing up we had a huge apricot tree in our backyard.  Every summer it would be laden with fruit, which as kids we took for granted and would turn our nose up the fresh fruit -instead we found it more fun to try and hit the unripened fruit over the road with our tennis rackets… that’s another story though! When we were really young it provided shade for our cubby house, this was then replaced by a treehouse when we became older, and we used to spend hours amongst the leaves having all sorts of adventures.  A few years ago Mum told me the sad news that they were going to have to pull down the tree, whilst she had tried her best to save it through many years of drought, it had taken it’s toll.  A new one was planted in it’s place and has since started to provide us with fruit (in much smaller quantities).

Mum would spend hours in the hot kitchen making huge batches of apricot jam that we would then devour throughout the year.  I know that I am biased, but Mum’s jam is the BEST, I won’t ever buy apricot jam from the supermarket as it’s just not the same.  She even blends it for me as I don’t like it to be too lumpy!  Any time a family member is making the trip up to Brisbane, she will always check if I need any jam or sauce (her homemade sauce is awesome too).

So when I saw a recipe in my McAlpins book for Apricot biscuits, it was a no brainer that I was going to give them a go. I was quite generous with the jam, going with three tablespoons instead of the 2 teaspoons indicated.  This made my biscuits very sweet, but no too overpowering.  You could certainly taste the apricot in them – which can never be a bad thing.  They were quite flat, maybe this was because of my changes to the recipe, but they still tasted nice.  For half of the batch, I added 1/4 cup of coconut which I thought really went well with the apricot flavour.  Overall they did taste good, I probably wouldn’t make them again, but I did enjoy the trip down memory lane.

Sweet sugary goodness

Sweet sugary goodness

4 oz caster sugar

3 oz butter

1 egg

2 teaspoons apricot jam

4 oz self raising flour – sifted

* Cream butter and sugar together, add egg and then jam and mix well

* Add flour and beat well

* Drop onto a greased tray using a teaspoon, allowing room to spread

* Bake in a moderate oven for 7 minutes, or until golden.

* Allow to cool on tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Coconut Biscuits

Looking through Mum’s tattered old recipe book, I came across a few recipes I can clearly remember from my childhood.  These biscuits were one of my favourites growing up. Nan would often send some back home with us after we had been up visiting her for the weekend.  Like a lot of Nan’s recipes, there are just a few ingredients and they are super easy.  They are incredibly light and it’s really hard to stop at one!  This batch made around 18 biscuits – and between 6 of us, there are only 3 left.

Tiff and Liam enjoyed the biscuits

Tiff and Liam enjoyed the biscuits

Click here for metric conversion table

4 oz butter

4 oz castor sugar

2 eggs

2 oz coconut

6 oz self raising flour

  • Preheat oven to 190 degrees
  • Cream butter and sugar
  • Add eggs one at a time and beat in
  • Add dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined
  • Drop dessertspoons of mixture onto trays lined with baking paper (mixture will be quite runny)
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until a golden colour.  Cool on trays for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire racks.
  • Makes approx 18 biscuits
Yummy!

Yummy!

Quick and Easy – Vanilla Snap Biscuits

Another favourite from the Donna Hay Modern Classic 2 book – these yummy biscuits are super easy and a great gift idea (low cost & from the heart… apologies to anyone I may have offended who have received these as a gift!).

The dough can also be frozen so you can have biscuits ready to cook at any time. If you need to bake them super fast, just pop the dough in the microwave on the defrost setting and check it every minute or so.  To jazz them up, I sometimes add hundreds and thousands on the top. You could also drizzle melted chocolate over the baked biscuits to make them look even more special.

185g butter

1 cup castor sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1 egg

1 egg yolk – extra

icing sugar to serve

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  • Beat butter, sugar and vanilla together (I use my kitchenaid mixer, however the recipe suggests using a food processor)
  • Add the flour, egg and extra egg yolk and beat together to form a smooth dough (if using a mixer, use dough hook attachment, otherwise keep it on a slow setting if you don’t have one)
  • Lightly knead the dough and wrap in glad wrap and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes – or if freezing, wrap in glad wrap and pop into the freezer.
  • Roll out dough (thickness of 5mm) between two sheets of baking paper and using your choice of a cookie cutter, cut out shapes and put onto baking trays lined with baking paper (add hundreds and thousands at this point if you wish).
  • Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden.  Cool on wire racks
  • Decorate as desired

vanilla snap biscuits

Throwback Thursday – Butterscotch Biscuits

This week I decided to try a few recipes from the ‘McAlpin’s Test Kitchen Recipes’ book passed down from my Nan.  I’m not sure of the exact age of the book, but it’s likely from the 1950’s.

One of our family heirlooms

One of our family heirlooms

IMG_7224 IMG_7225

It’s an interesting read, with some great classic recipes, as well as some strange ones.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting some of my other attempts at recreating these recipes.

All measurements are in ounces and ‘teacups’ please click here for Australian metric conversion table

Butterscotch Biscuits

4 oz (1 teacup) self raising flour

Pinch of salt

3 oz butter

3 oz brown sugar

1 egg

Vanilla Essence (no amount is specified, I used 1 teaspoon)

12 blanched almonds

  • Sift flour and salt
  • Melt butter in a saucepan, add sugar stir until it dissolves
  • Cool and add beaten egg and vanilla essence, mix in sifter ingredients.
  • Place on a greased tray in teaspoonfuls, allowing room for the mixture to spread (The mixture is quite runny)
Yummy biscuit mixture

Yummy biscuit mixture

  • Put a piece of almond on each biscuit and bake in a moderate oven 10 to 15 minutes

** I baked my biscuits at 160 degrees (fan forced oven) for 11 minutes

End Result

End Result