Monday, July 12, 2010
I celebrated Christmas in July with a group of girlfriends last night. We had a ball!
Our hostess created a beautifully-themed dining space by pulling out all her decorations and Christmas cds. We enjoyed Christmas-style cocktails, a delicious Christmas dinner, sinful snacks & sweets, and I came home with a lovely handmade gift too!
I don't know if it happens elsewhere, but because we have such a hot Christmas in December, its become quite commonplace for Melbourne folk to celebrate a wintry version in the middle of the year.
Everyone brings a dish (or drink) of their choice to share - really its just another great excuse to catch up with friends! I made chocolate mini christmas puddings which are quite easy to make. I've been asked for the recipe, so thought I'd blog it for anyone else who might want to give these a go.
Mini Xmas Puds (gluten free)
2 x 200g packets of Arnott's Rice Cookies (or any sweet dry gluten-free biscuit)
100g dried apricots*
1 x 250g packet cooking chocolate/chocolate melts (milk or dark, whichever your preference)
You will also need several sheets of greaseproof paper, some clean spoons, and a piping bag with a leaf attachment.
Put the rice cookies & dried fruit into a food processor, and process until cookies resemble fine breadcrumbs (should only take a minute). Melt the chocolate & butter together (I melt it in the microwave on medium in very short bursts, stirring regularly in between - but remember to do this carefully as chocolate can burn easily) and add to the ingredients in the food processor, and process again until the mixture is smooth.
Take teaspoonfuls of the mix, roll into balls, and place on a sheet of greaseproof paper on a tray.
150g white chocolate melts
green/red chocolate colouring powder**
Melt the white chocolate, and spoon about half a teaspoon of white chocolate onto your mini pudding, allowing it to run down the sides like cream. Once you have done this with all your mini puds, you should have some melted white chocolate left, which you can colour with either red or green chocolate colouring powder. (DO NOT use regular food colouring liquid to colour chocolate. It won't work, and will simply ruin your chocolate.) Put your coloured melted chocolate into the piping bag, with your leaf attachment on, and pipe a little heart onto the top of the white chocolate on your pudding. Repeat until done!
* You can use any combination of dried fruits you like, and you can also add nuts. I use whatever's in the pantry at the time.
** Chocolate colouring powder can be purchased at many baking/craft stores. If you can buy chocolate moulds and chocolate melts there, chances are good that they will also have chocolate colouring powder. I use red and/or green to be Christmas-y, but you can go with whatever colour you like!
Final notes: you can flavour these further by adding brandy, rum, cointreau, or any other alcohol of your choice. I didn't, as they were being shared with some kiddies, but if its an adults-only affair, go for it! I think next time I make them I'll also leave out the butter and increase the dates. And maybe introduce some cocoa... can you tell I'm not a fan of following a recipe?