Christmas Baking – Caramel Fudge

I always have been (and probably always will be) a sucker for anything with caramel in it…. who isn’t though?  This is the first year I’ve had to think about Christmas gifts for teachers (daycare and swimming), and what better way to say thank you to someone than give them a gift that you have made!

This is a really easy recipe, with just a few ingredients.  You also get a good arm work out from all the stirring that’s needed, which is a good way to feel less guilty when you try a piece!  This is another recipe from Nestle’s Australia’s Favourite Baking book, so naturally they suggest using all Nestle ingredients.

Caramel Fudge

125g butter – cubed

2 tablespoons of golden syrup

1 tin of condensed milk

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup of white chocolate melts

* In a medium sized saucepan over a low heat, add the butter, golden syrup, condensed milk and brown sugar.

* Mix continuously for approx 10 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly and colour has changed to a golden brown.

* Add white chocolate melts and mix together.

* Pour into 7 x 25cm loaf tin, fully lined with baking paper and pop into the fridge for a couple of hours, or until set.

* Slice into small pieces – it’s quite rich so you don’t need a huge slice.

Christmas Baking – Shortbread

Is there anything better than shortbread at Christmas time?  This is the only time of the year I ever make this (all bar last year when I made interesting shaped shortbreads for my sister’s hens night), and i just LOVE the stuff.

This recipe is from my Mum, going waaaay back to when we were kids and she was stuck with us in a Doctor’s waiting room watching crappy morning tv shows (this was the early 90s – some things haven’t changed though), and she saw this on a cooking show called ‘What’s Cooking’. She was so impressed with it, that she wrote down the number at the end of the show, and called up to get the recipe posted to her – that is a hard copy typed out and sent through the post – yes kids, this really used to happen!  Since then it’s been her trusted recipe, which over the past few years since I’ve been making it I’ve called my own.

My biggest tip is that you need to make this in a cool room – living in Brisbane this can be hard during the Summer, so I always try to make it first thing in the morning.

Shortbread

250g softened butter

125g caster sugar

25g rice flour

5 drops of vanilla essence

375g plain flour

* Preheat oven to 190 degrees.

* Beat together the butter, sugar and rice flour until they turn white. Add a few drops of vanilla essence and continue to beat.

* Gradually add the flour to the mixture, whilst continuing to mix on a low speed until a paste forms.

* Turn mixture onto a cool bench dusted with flour and work until a smooth ball forms.

* I split my ball into two and place one in the fridge, covered in glad wrap.

* Roll the other ball until apron 1cm thick and use cookie cutter to make desired shapes.

* Bake in oven for approx 12 minutes until edges start to turn a golden brown.