Baking Jar 

CHRISTMAS gifts often prove to be a stretch for the student budget which is why more and more students are turning to making their own presents. Putting time and effort into a gift shows how much you care and you can make some really fun presents without spending too much money. One idea is a baking jar filled with all the dry ingredients needed to bake a festive treat! A great recipe to fill your jars with for Christmas is gingerbread; all you need is:
– 225g of plain flour
– ½ tsp. of baking powder
– ½ tsp. of bicarbonate of soda
– 1 tsp. of ground ginger
– ¼ tsp. of all spice
– ¼ tsp. of cinnamon
– 100g of brown sugar

Layer the ingredients into a clean jar then cover the top with some Christmas paper tied with ribbon and attach a label informing the recipient of what they need to do:
– Mix 150g of melted butter, 1 tbsp. of golden syrup, and 1 egg yolk together – Add to the dry ingredients, mix well, and knead into a dough
– Chill for 15 mins then roll out and cut into shapes
– Bake at 200C Fan Mark 6 for 8-10 mins
– Cool on a wire rack
This is a really lovely present, especially if you and the recipient make (and eat) the gingerbread together, and at around £1.30 per jar this DIY gift is the perfect solution for students on a budget this Christmas.

Emma Hewetson

Chocolate Bar

I LOVE Christmas. I always have done. I love the smile on someone’s face when you give them that gift you know they will love. So this year, I thought it was about time I put my inner-culinary goddess to the test, and make my own chocolatey gifts.
Ingredients:
– 150g cacao butter
– 200ml maple syrup
– 100g cacao powder
– 75g pecan nuts
– 1tbsp coconut oil
– 1tsp ground cinnamon
– 50g goji berries (you can use any nuts and dried fruits you wish – for example, pistachios, dried cranberries, orange peel, etc).

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave, then add 50ml of the maple syrup and the ground cinnamon.
Spread the pecan nuts, broken into small pieces, over a lined baking tray. Cover them with the oil-syrup mix and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until they have turned golden and caramelised.
While the nuts are roasting, melt the cacao butter in a glass bowl over boiling water, stirring occasionally until all is melted.Remove from the heat, and add the rest of the maple syrup, cacao powder, and a pinch of salt to the melted butter. Very gently, mix everything together with a whisk until it is completely smooth and thickened slightly. Once fully mixed and thickened, line a baking tray with cling film – covering all the sides and coming over the edges – and pour the chocolate mixture into the tray. Next, scatter the caramelised pecans and goji berries on top and place in the freezer to set for no more than two hours.
Once set, remove and carefully take out of the tray. Break into shards and create beautiful presents with a little tissue paper and ribbon.

Katie Tincello

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