Christmas Baking – Milk Chocolate Rocky Road

Christmas really isn’t the time to be thinking about going on a diet, there are just way too many yummy treats on offer everywhere that you look.  So far I’ve made two batches of Rocky Road. Knowing that it would be hard to resist, I made the first batch early in the morning and then cut it and wrapped it up for gifts.  It’s a whole different story with the second batch though.  After eating a fair sized chunk, I’ve banished it to the back of the fridge, and am heading out shortly to buy some more cellophane paper to wrap it up.

There really aren’t any rules when it comes to making Rocky Road, it’s all about adding a yummy combination of goodies to delicious melted chocolate.  Each batch I make varies, depending on what I have in the pantry.  This year I’m loving the addition of chocolate coated pretzels, both as a decoration on top, and also broken through the slice.

Rocky Road

375g bag of milk chocolate melts

1 pack of pink & white marshmallows

1pack of chocolate coated pretzels

1/4 cup of crasins

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup raw peanuts

* Melt chocolate in microwave, cooking for 30 second spurts until melted.

* Add marshmallows, peanuts, coconut, crasins & 1/2 bag of chocolate coated pretzels and stir until coated with chocolate.

* Pour into a slice tin lined with baking paper, decorate top of slice with remaining pretzels

* Pop into the fridge, once set cut into pieces and enjoy!

Linking up on this beautiful Monday morning with The Multitasking Mummy

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.

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

Just the two of us

Last night we had an adults only night out (and not in the x-rated way that sentence sounds)!   It was the first time since Aiden was born, and only the second time this year we have been out without the kids.

Party Time!

Party Time!

Since all of our family is interstate, we don’t have the luxury of going out by ourselves very often – to be honest, not at all!  We were very fortunate that Scott’s Christmas party coincided with a visit from my Mum – who was more than happy to look after the boys.

Luckily there were no tears (from either the boys or myself) when it was time for us to leave, and we were even able to get a couple of happy snaps of the four of us before we left.

Scott and I both enjoyed ourselves, it was nice to be out and not having to worry about Liam racing off or getting bored, or finding a quiet spot for Aiden to be fed and have asleep, but we both agreed that we missed them.  We enjoy taking them out with us, whether it be going out for dinner, or going somewhere for an adventure.

Yes it’s nice to have Mum and Dad time, to focus on our relationship, and to remember that there is more to us than being parents.  At the same time though, spending time together as a family of four is something we both truly cherish and enjoy.

Just the two of us!

Just the two of us!

How often do you have a night out without your kids?  Do you spend most of the night checking in to see how they are going?

Strawberry Santas

I’ve been spending a little time on Pintrest lately…. ok, maybe a LOT of time.  It’s totally justified of course, Liam’s 2nd birthday is next month and I’ve been looking for party ideas.

I’ve come across photos of these cuties a few times, both on Pintrest and Facebook, and our Mum’s group Christmas Party on the weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity to give them a go.

There really isn’t much too them: Strawberries (the bigger the better), Whipped Cream (I add vanilla extract and icing sugar to mine) and dark chocolate chips.

Simply cut the strawberry in half, add a dollop of whipped cream (I used a piping bag), put the top of the strawberry back on (Santa’s hat) and add a couple of chocolate chips for his eyes.

These are super easy and yummy, and are a perfect snack on a hot day.

Too cute to eat!

Too cute to eat!