A Taste of Pâtes de Fruits

France2

A French Holiday Treat

These jewel-coloured jellies are a popular holiday treat in France, and they’re super-easy to make.

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups frozen raspberries, defrosted

1 3/4 cups pectin powder

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 tbsp light corn syrup

2 tsp lemon juice

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Line a 9 x 12 cake pan with baking parchment or wax paper, set aside.

Place raspberries in food processor and blend until smooth and puréed. Place pectin and 2 cups of sugar in a small bowl and stir together.

Place raspberry purée in medium pan and bring to boil. Stir in sugar/pectin mixture until completely dissolved. Boil mixture for another 2 minutes. Stir in corn syrup and continue to cook until mixture starts to thicken (about 2 minutes).

Remove mixture from heat and stir in lemon juice. Pour into prepared pan and  allow to set for 2 hours at room temperature.

Cut slab of jelly into 1 inch squares using a very sharp knife. Toss squares in remaining  sugar. Store in an airtight container and place in the fridge where they will keep for up to a month.

Makes about 9 dozen jellies.

Substitute other frozen fruits like strawberries for variety.

A Taste of Florentines

Italy1

An Italian Holiday Treat

Crunchy, chewy Tuscan cookies are great for scooping up ice cream. Who cares if it’s cold outside?

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 cups sliced almonds

3 tbsp flour

2 tbsp orange zest (about 1 orange)

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/4 tsp sea salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp heavy cream

2 tbsp honey

5 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

6 oz bittersweet chocolate to decorate

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with Silpat or baking parchment.

Place almonds in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Stir in dried cherries, flour, orange zest and salt. Set aside.

Place sugar, cream, honey and butter in a small pan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and almond mixture until just combined.  Set aside to cool for about 30 minutes.

When mixture is cool enough to handle, roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on baking sheet about 4 inches apart to allow room to spread.

Bake until flat and golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool  and harden for a few minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. Drizzle or sandwich with melted chocolate when completely cool.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

A Taste of Lamingtons

Australia1

An Australian Holiday Treat

These cute little cakes are wildly popular in Australia, and they’re as fun to make as they are to eat. Serve with hot cocoa and holiday movies.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 day-old sponge/poundcake, baked with your favourite

recipe or store bought

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup whole milk

2 cups desiccated coconut, unsweetened

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cut cake into 16 squares and set aside.

Place confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, butter and milk into a heatproof bowl. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water, and stir mixture until smooth and pourable.

Using two forks, dip cake squares in chocolate mixture until all sides are coated, then roll in coconut. Place lamingtons on a wire rack to set.

Tip: Halve the squares of cake and fill with raspberry jam  before you frost them.

Makes about 16 little cakes.

A Taste of Basler Brunsli

Switzerland1

A Switzerland Holiday Treat

Chocolate-almond spice cookies are naturally gluten-free, and they fill the air with magical holiday aromas while baking.

 

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz whole almonds

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 tbsp sugar

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 large egg whites

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place almonds and sugar in food processor; pulse until finely ground. Add chocolate and pulse until well blended. Add spices and egg whites. Pulse until a stiff dough is formed.

Sprinkle the additional 1 tablespoon of sugar onto large work surface and place dough on top. Cover with a sheet of baking parchment and roll out dough until . inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters until dough is used up. Place cookies on lightly greased cookie sheet and set aside to dry while oven preheats. Preheat oven to 325F.

Bake until slightly firm to touch, about 10 minutes.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

 Use chocolate with a 60% or higher cacao content for the best flavour.