It's the first day of December.
Officially the start of Christmas.
A month of rituals, traditions, indulgence and celebration. And an awful lot of festive food.
I have been practising for the next thirty days and thirty nights of Christmas gluttony. Mince pies have been consumed on a weekly basis since they reappeared on the shelves back in September I've replaced my standard lunchtime ham salad sarnie with one of those super duper turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings between two doorstop sized slices of bread monstrosities. I've been spreading brandy butter on my toast each morning. Wine has been mulled. And of course Sunday has been stirred.
And now we've reached the first day of December What Kate Baked is in full festive spirit. Think the John Lewis advert but with a whole family of snowmen tipsy on Christmas themed cocktails singing 'Jingle Bells' under the Christmas Tree.
This weekend I'm off to Bath Christmas Market to begin the festivities with some good friends, drink too much mulled cider and partake in a little Christmas shopping (as always, following the super-successful gift ratio of 1:2 in terms of present for someone else : present for me. Try it sometime).
And I'll be taking these along as little Pre-Christmassy gifts
Festive Soured Cherry Florentines
(Makes approximately 12 florentines)
60g softened unsalted butter
70g caster sugar
10g plain flour
60ml double cream
50g flaked almonds
30g finely chopped dried apricots
50g dried sour cherries
2 pieces drained stem ginger
100g dark chocolate
Silicone Christmas tree moulds
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
2. Place the flaked almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 3-5 minutes
3. Pop the butter, sugar and flour into a small pan and heat gently, stirring continuously until the butter has melted and sugar dissolved
4. Add the cream, a little at a time, stirring all the time to ensure the mixture remains smooth and silky
5. Add in the almonds, apricots, cherries and ginger and stir all the ingredients together
6. Spoon into the silicone moulds, flattening down each florentine with the back of the spoon as you go and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown in colour
7. Melt the chocolate in a small basin suspended over a pan of simmering water. Once melted spread on top of each Florentine. Set aside to completely cool
- I used some lovely 60% organic ginger dark chocolate
- Using the silicone moulds saves quite a bit of faff as you don't need to attempt to coat the underside of the Florentines with the chocolate
- They do look a bit rough around the edges but hopefully after a few glasses of mulled wine no one will mind their appearance too much
- I'd intended on taking a batch to Vanessa's Lets Make Christmas 2012 in association with Rococo Chocolates but unfortunately at the last minute I wasn't able to attend. But there is a virtual gift swap! Hurrah!
- And this is also my entry for this month's Tea Time Treats