An edible Christmas
Dr Morgaine Gaye, lecturer, food futurologist and member of Nottingham Trent University’s Future Factory team, shares her Christmas recipes.
Instead of buying and potentially wasting items bought for Christmas, get creative by making your decorations, gifts and wrapping – and then eat them! Here are some fun and healthy options which won’t get thrown into landfill.
Edible Christmas Crackers
1 quantity of fondant icing, marzipan or use 1kg of shop-bought ready-to-roll white fondant icing
6 mini chocolate logs or Christmas cake
Fine ribbon, tinsel and 6 mini icing Christmas decorations, to decorate
Divide the icing into 6 pieces and wrap each piece in cling film. Take 1 piece and roll out on a sheet of baking paper until it’s wide enough to wrap around the cake with 2 ends overhanging. Put a chocolate log in the centre along 1 edge of the icing and roll up to cover the cake, putting the seam underneath.
Pinch the icing on each side to make a cracker shape. Scrunch up some kitchen paper and push into each end to support the icing. Gently press the icing ends to make them slightly wavy. Repeat with the remaining chocolate logs and icing.
Wrap some ribbon and tinsel around each cracker end, then press on the Christmas decorations. Put into a gift box, cover and label.
Stained Glass Angels
8-10 pink and yellow boiled sweets
115g butter, softened
55g golden caster sugar
180g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/ gas 4. Cut pieces of baking paper to fit 2 large baking trays. Put the pink and yellow sweets in separate plastic food bags and use a rolling pin to bash the sweets a few times, so they break up into small pebbles about 1cm big. Set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl, until pale and creamy. Sift the flour into the mixture, then add the milk. Use your hands to mix everything together into a ball of dough.
Sprinkle a little flour over a work surface. Split the dough into 2 pieces. Roll out 1 piece with a floured rolling pin until it is about 5mm thick. Using biscuit cutters (about 8cm x 4cm), cut out Christmas shapes. Using a 1.5cm fluted pastry cutter, cut circles out of the middle of each of the biscuits. Carefully move the cookies to the trays with a fish slice. Repeat with the remaining dough, then re-roll the trimmings to make more biscuits, about 25-30 in total. Put a different coloured sweet pebble into the middle of each biscuit hole. The sweets melt while the biscuits bake to form ‘glass’ windows.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the biscuits are just golden. Cool on the trays, then transfer to a wire rack. (Make sure the sweets have set hard before removing from the trays.) Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days.
If you’re giving these as presents to hang on the tree, make a small hole near the top of each one once cooked and still warm. Thread ribbon through the holes when cool.
Chocolate Tree Baubles
300g dark chocolate, broken up
Freeze a tefal proflex half sphere mould (Sainsbury) mould. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Chill for 5 minutes, or until it’s thick enough to hold its shape but hasn’t started to set and pipe onto the chilled mould. Freeze for 5 mins and keep repeating process 4-5 times. Chill to set.
Take the mould out of the freezer and stand for 10 minutes. Re-melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Turn the mould out onto a piece of baking paper. Dab a little melted chocolate along the edge of 4 shells, loop ribbon through the top of each, then sandwich another shell on top to make 4 baubles. Chill to set.
Future Factory is part funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and supports East Midlands’ SMEs in adopting new products, services and business practices which ‘design out’ unnecessary or unsustainable materials and processing, and ‘design in’ features such as environmentally neutral technologies and materials, recyclability and sensitive disposal.