Peppermint Hot Chocolate Stirrers

If you have leftover candy canes from Christmas, you could try this little idea that I did as a gift for friends this year.

Inspired by a social media post, I thought I would try out candy cane spoons – mostly because I have some silicon spoon moulds that I had never used.

I started by smashing up those red and white peppermints – similar to candy canes and to be honest, I didn’t even think about saving the hassle of finding these mints and used candy canes instead!!

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Pour the crumbs into the moulds – this will be very sticky and pop in the oven at 150C and allow them to melt. I cannot stress how vital it is to keep and eye on this stage as I forgot on my first attempt and ended up with a bubbling, sugary mess. You may need to top up after the first melt, as the candies can pack down a bit.

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Once you’re happy with the thickness of your spoons and they’re completely cool, carefully remove them from the moulds.

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Whilst the spoons are cooling, melt some chocolate – of your choice – in a double broiler with a touch of butter and fill some baby fairy cake cases with the chocolate. Dip your spoons into the chocolate, just far enough for them to stand up unaided.

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Get them in cellophane bags as soon as possible, otherwise the spoons will become tacky. And there you go, peppermint hot chocolate/coffee stirrers.

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Christmas Ham

My parents-in-law always say they don’t want anything for Christmas, so I tend to make them edible treats and this year is no different.

Along with a batch of sausage rolls – without any spice – I whipped up a Christmas ham for them.

I always get my gammon from the butcher, that way I know it has a good rind on it. Do not remove any ‘netting’ around the meat, as this will hold the shape for you. Start by allowing it to soak in moving water for at least 2-3 hours, then pop the meat in a saucepan to slowly boil. You can use water, but I like to use apple juice or cider to give the meat a nice flavour. Cover the ham completely with your chosen liquid and add a few cloves and a cinnamon stick, put the lid on the pot and leave it on the lowest heat for 2-3 hours. Keep checking to make sure you still have enough liquid in there.

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Test the meat with a serving fork and when it’s cooked, transfer the meat to a board and carefully cut off the rind, leaving a good amount of fat. Remember it will be hot, so take extra care.

Now, score the fat to make diamond shapes across the top of the joint and pop in a roasting dish – I line mine with foil for less washing up!

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Pour over some runny honey and stud the diamonds with cloves for a pretty finish. You can do a mix of honey and mustard, a fruit jelly, such as quince or even apricot jam for the glaze – play and have fun.

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Now pop in the oven at 180C for around 20-30 minutes to allow the glaze to get a nice colour on it. I take it out every 10 minutes, just to baste again with any glaze that has melted off and to make sure it doesn’t burn.

You can serve his hot or cold.

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Upcycling For Christmas

I started my Christmas crafting today. I’m hoping to do a fair few homemade presents this year and this year’s gifts started with some upcycling.

For years, I have had a gel candle sat in my bedroom – do you remember when they were all the rage? Well, a few weeks ago, I went to burn it, only to find the wick was non-existent, so I scooped out the gel and gave the glass vase a good wash. It looked far too good to just put in the recycling.

So, today, I got out my brand new mini-glue gun and some sparkly beads and took to decorating it.

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I started with just one swirl around the vase, but I was hooked! I did two more swirls and a rim around the bottom. I’m pretty pleased with the result and I’m hoping my Mum will like it too.

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