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Christmas – Sweet food gifts – readers’ faves

The chocolate sauce for ice-cream… Words fail me. It is so amazing… And simple. Thank you, Nicola!

For a basic jar of it, chop up three large Mars bars, heat and stir in short blasts in the microwave with half a pint of double cream until smooth, although I rather like leaving a few bits of nougat floating around for texture. Fill jar and decorate as usual. Instructions are to dig out a tablespoon of sauce, microwave carefully for 30 to 60 seconds, and eat with vanilla ice cream. This is so incredibly mouth-watering - but you can overdose on it…

Many thanks to Sandra who sent me her recipe for caramelized nuts.

In a pan or wok heat about 150g brown (or icing) sugar and 3 tbsp of a liqueur of your choice. When the sugar is largely dissolved, add a mix of nuts, about 200g of macadamias, pecans, almonds, whatever you fancy. Stir the whole time making sure the nuts are well coated until they turn brown. Cool on a baking tray or greaseproof paper. Store in an airtight container. They’ll keep for up to two weeks.

You’ll notice that I’m not getting into any heavy cooking. That suits me especially this year because I keep feeling as though I just don’t have the time to get everything done. So these recipes are great – I get to produce that home-made offering for my friends and yet I feel more in control of the process. And, none of them take a great deal of time.

So, on that note, here’s another: Brownie treats on a stick. This comes from Rebecca - thank you very much!

Get some brownies – either your own or shop-bought – cut them into mouth-sized pieces and gently roll them between your hands to make them round(ish). Rebecca pushes lollipop sticks into them at this stage but I didn’t have any handy so I didn’t bother with that bit and am still happy with the result.

Melt some chopped chocolate – about 100g with about 200 ml single cream – I did mine in the microwave. (We’ve already practiced this – see above for the best chocolate sauce for ice-cream anywhere, ever). Dip your brownie treats into the chocolate. I used tongs to start with and ended up using my fingers.

Place on greaseproof paper and sprinkle with a decoration of your choice. I sieved cocoa powder over some of mine, and icing sugar over some of them, and chopped nuts over the others, but I could have used those little colored cake decorations if I’d had any. A couple of them I made to look like miniature Christmas puddings with marzipan, colored and uncolored, but it was a bit of a fiddle.

These little treats looked really great.

Keep a keen eye on them. Others will be interested…
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There seems to be a bias towards chocolate things in my articles. I can’t think why that should be…

Yours gratefully for your sweet favorites!

Susan

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