They always say ‘it’s the thought that counts’ when gifting and there’s nothing more thoughtful than a homemade gift. Here are two of my favourite Italian influenced Edible and Drinkable gifts… and surprise, surprise one of them contains chocolate!
Ballyknocken house and cookery school
ps. Checkout http://www.ballyknocken.com for our cookery school gift vouchers and signed copies of my book.
Almond Liqueur (similar to Amaretto)
Makes 1 ½ litres
375ml boiling water
2 tbsp almond extract
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a large pot. Boil uncovered for 2 minutes, remove from the heat, and let cool for 30 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and pour into bottles. Store at room temperature for at least 1 week before taking a tipple.
Makes 16 brownies
180g dark chocolate
125g caster sugar
50g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
30g plain chocolate, chopped into small chunks
Icing sugar glaze (icing sugar and a drop of water) or melted dark or white chocolate
And further decorate with any of the following: chocolate flakes; hundreds & thousands; Christmas cake decorations; oven dried orange slice segments dipped in chocolate; chopped nuts; chopped pistachios; toasted flaked almonds; pecans dipped in melted chocolate; mixed peel; edible flowers; strawberries dipped in chocolate… just a few ideas
Preheat the oven to 180°/Gas 4. Line a brownie tray with baking parchment.
Break the 180g of dark chocolate into squares and place in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water. Melt the butter in a saucepan and pout the hot butter over the chocolate, stirring until all of the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Beat the eggs. Stir the beaten eggs into the melted chocolate mixture, mixing well. In a separate mixing bowl sieve the flour and baking powder. Slowly fold in the chocolate mixture. Stir in the 30g of chocolate chunks. Transfer the mixture into the baking tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes until it is just firm to the touch in the centre. Remove from the oven, cool slightly, turn out and cool on a wire rack. Slice into 16 squares.
Decorate each square with melted chocolate or an icing sugar glaze and then make then even prettier with some of the decorations as suggested above.