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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Goodies: Coconut Ice and Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread

Christmas treats

Before Melissa and I wound up at work for the year I made some goodies to hand out as thank you’s to colleagues.  The packs included coconut ice, chocolate peppermint shortbread and of course some mini Christmas themed cupcakes.  The cupcakes were just chocolate with vanilla icing decorated with holly sprinkles and green dusting sugar.  Coconut ice is a quick and easy Christmas gift, to make it you will need:

Coconut Ice:
395g can of condensed milk
2 ¼ cups of icing sugar
4 cups of desiccated coconut
¼ teaspoon of raspberry essence
1-2 drops red food colouring

1. Line a 20 x 20cm square cake pan with baking paper.
2. Place condensed milk in a large microwave proof bowl and put it in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm.
3. Sift the icing sugar into the condensed milk and stir, until well combined.  Add the coconut one cup at a time mixing well after each addition.
4. At this point you need to place half the mixture in the pan and spread it out to form an even base.
5. Add raspberry essence and a couple of drops of red food colouring to remaining mixture and combine to make it a pale pink colour, you may have to use your hands.
6. Place the pink mixture on top of the white in the pan so that it covers the base layer completely, use the back of a large spoon to smooth the top layer.
7. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to dry, usually overnight is best.
8. Cut into squares and package as desired.

Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread:
After seeing these in a November issue of  New Idea magazine I was hanging out to make them and I don’t know about you, but I think there is something Christmassy about peppermint so it was the perfect excuse.  These yo-yo style biscuits were super easy to make and are bound to become an annual Christmas recipe in my house.

150g of room temperature butter
½ cup caster sugar
1 ¼ cups plain flour
¼ cup cocoa
¾ cup white melting chocolate
¼ teaspoon peppermint essence

1. Place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add combined flour and cocoa, beat on a slow speed until well combined and the mixture has formed a soft dough.  Wrap the mix in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes or until firm.
2. Roll single teaspoons of dough into balls and place 4 cm apart on an oven tray covered in baking paper.  Press each ball gently with a fork to flatten slightly.
3. Place tray in an oven heated to 180˚C oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, leave on the oven tray for at least 5 minutes before moving on to cooling racks.
4. Combine and essence in a heatproof bowl  over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before using it to sandwich biscuits together.  (*Be very careful not to add to much peppermint essence as it will result in you not getting the desired texture from the chocolate).

Recipe makes 16 and can be made up to one week in advance if kept in an air tight container.

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