Makes 2 logs
210g dark chocolate, grated or blitzed
210g walnuts, ground
50g prunes, chopped
70g caster sugar
2 tbsp rum
½ tsp vanilla paste
icing sugar, to dust
Blend all the ingredients except the icing sugar in a food processor until the mixture is combined. Line a tray with baking paper. Tip the mixture on to a board dusted with icing sugar. Roll into two sausages then roll to cover in icing sugar. Place the chocolate rolls on the lined tray and leave in a cool place to dry out for two days.
When the rolls have hardened and dried a little, you can wrap them cellophane and tie the ends, bon-bon style, to give as a gift. Or slice each very thinly and store in an airtight container in the cupboard - it will keep for two weeks.
Makes about 40 pieces
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup honey
50g unsalted butter
300g fruit mince (in bottles at the store)
1½ cups plain flour, sifted
1 cup cocoa powder, softed
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
grated zest of one orange
100g hazelnuts, roasted and chopped
100g pistachios, chopped
100g macadamias, chopped
½ cup dried figs, chopped
pinch of salt
icing sugar to dust
Preheat the oven to 160C and line an 18 centimetre by 28 centimetre lamington tin with baking paper. Stir the sugar, honey, butter and fruit mince in a pan over a low heat for three to five minutes until the sugar dissolves. Sift the flour, cocoa and spices into a large bowl. Add the zest, nuts, figs, fruit mince mixture and salt. Stir to combine well - it will be quite stiff.
Tip into the prepared pan and use wet hands to smooth the top. Bake for 15 minutes until firm. Cool in the pan. Invert on to a cutting board and dust with icing sugar.
Cut lengthways into five thin sections, then cut widthways into eight sections to form about 40 three-centimetre squares. Keeps for up to a month in an airtight container in the fridge. To give as a gift, pack into cellophane bags and tie with ribbon.
Mulled cranberry and apple jelly
Makes 1.4 litres
1kg Granny Smith apples
450g frozen cranberries, thawed
3 lemons, chopped
1 ½ tbsp whole cloves
4 cinnamon quills
4 star anise
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
about 1.5kg of caster sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Chop the apples, don't peel or core them, and place in a large saucepan with the berries, lemon, spices, zest, juice and six cups of water, stirring to combine.
Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Don't squash the fruit or jelly will be cloudy.
Line a large colander with muslin or a new Chux and set over a bowl. Pour in the fruit mixture and stand for four hours to drain. Don't squeeze the fruit.
Sterilise five small jars of about 300 millilitres each, with their lids (boil them in a saucepan, submerged in water, for five minutes, then drain). Chill a small saucer in the freezer.
Discard the fruit pulp and measure the liquid. Weigh out the sugar, allowing one cup of sugar for every cup of liquid. Combine the sugar, juice and vinegar in a clean pan over a low heat. Stir for five minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then, increase the heat to high, stop stirring and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 45 minutes, skimming occasionally until thick and syrupy. Test whether it's ready by spooning a little on to the cold saucer - push your finger through it; if it wrinkles and your finger leaves a trail, it is ready. If not, return to the boil and test every five minutes until it's ready. It should be 105C on a sugar thermometer.
When ready, take off the heat and let it settle for a few minutes. Ladle into a sterilised jug, then pour into the jars. Seal. Keeps for up to three months.
>> Debbie Skelton is a Canberra food writer, debsravingrecipes.blogspot.com