Homemade Christmas

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Aussies are expected to spend up to 30 billion dollars this year in the lead up to Christmas and while it is a time for giving one Adelaide woman hopes to remind us of the true meaning... Cook and mum of five, Silvia shared her homemade Christmas gift ideas... That come from the heart and won't cost you a fortune.

Silvia’s Christmas Biscuits

250g butter, at room temperature
125g icing sugar mixture
2 tsp vanilla extract
300g plain flour
half tsp ground cinnamon
quarter tsp ground ginger
quarter tsp ground nutmeg
60g raw sugar

Preheat your oven to 160 C. Whip together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl until light, fluffy and creamy.

Stir in the flour and cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg until the dough comes together. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Rest dough in fridge for 15 minutes

Roll out the dough until 5mm thick. Cut out shapes and place on lined baking trays. Place trays in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.

Sprinkle biscuits with sugar and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Rest biscuits on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Strawberry Jam

4 cups of crushed strawberries
4 cups of sugar
Juice of 2 lemons

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves then increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Cook for a further 10 minutes until jam sets on a trial saucer. Transfer jam into hot sterile jars. Seal jars in a water bath.

Spiced Brandied Cherries
1kg cherries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tsp lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
1 stick cinnamon
2 star anise
2 cardamon pods
2 cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
2 vanilla bean
2 cup brandy

Wash and de stalk the cherries. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cherries and brandy and bring to a rolling boil. When the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium. Add the cherries and simmer for 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool add in brandy and combine. Place cherries into clean jars and lid tightly. Unsealed they will last for 2 weeks in the fridge. For a longer shelf life water bath seal the jars.

Caramelised Onions

4-6 red onions
50g butter
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
Salt

Finely slice red onions and place in a heavy based saucepan with butter, vinegar and sugar. Cook slowly on a low heat until onions caramelise. Remove from heat and allow to cool before placing in sterile jars and sealing.

Chocolate Brownies in a Jar

In the Jar:
125g SR flour
35g cocoa
75g almond meal
100g brown sugar
100g sugar
100 g chocolate chips
100g white chocolate chips
50g almonds
150g melted butter
3 beaten eggs

Layer the dry ingredients in a one litre jar. Press each layer down before adding the next. The amounts given should exactly fill a one litre jar. Dress with a beautiful ribbon and attach the recipe instructions.

For the recipe card:
Combine the contents of the jar with 150g melted butter and 3 beaten eggs. Mix well, and pour into a greased & lined 9 x 9 inch tin. Bake at 180 C for 25-35 minutes.

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