There are three little ones in my Perth family- kids of my cousins aged 15 months, and 6 and 7 years old.
This year for Christmas, we made a decision not to give presents to anyone in the extended family (cousins and aunts and uncles), except for those little ones. With an exception for things made by hand.
So we swapped pickles, mustard, tea mixes, fruitcakes… and Christmas cookies.
I didn’t bring anything with me from Berlin, so I spent two half days baking once I hit my parents’ kitchen.
First up- Kahk. A family favourite passed down from my mother’s father. The name actually means ‘circle’, and the proper way is to make a thing tube of shortbread pastry filled with date paste, and then gently turn it into a donut shape before baking.
I cut corners, made a log.. and then cut that log to make small ‘Kahk bites’.
I would argue that they taste the same, or even better (the date to pasty ratio is higher!), and the time needed to make them is infinitely less.
My grandad, bless him, would definitely not have approved.
Second on the list was cinnamon balls. I’ve mad these before as they’re a pretty neat way to use up leftover egg whites (this time, coming from one of my mother’s baking adventures).
Usually they’re perfect little spheres, but this year I was eyeballing the recipe and ran out of almond flour. So it’s more of a ‘cinnamon squirt’ situation:
Cornetti is another family favourite, belonging to Kahk family. It’s actually part of a trifecta, the third member being a small shortbread mound with an embedded ‘surprise clove’, known as Ghorraeba. But my mum always makes those ones, so I stuck with the Kahk and Cornetti.
Usually, these little triangles (made from folding a circular dough around a soft centre), contain apricot jam. This time I went with lemon and raspberry butter.
To be perfectly honest, my aim was to create perfectly round spheres with the lemon butter oozing from the centre. But I vastly overestimated the ability for lemon butter to freeze, and underestimated the Australian sun. At my sister’s suggestion, I quickly switched to the (much easier to wrangle) cornetti structures.
Matcha white chocolate ganache truffles.
Two parts white chocolate, one part cream, melt it all together and add green tea powder to taste. Once it’s set solid (give it at least 4 hours in the fridge), roll it into balls and roll it into coconut.
These ones go down well in Germany, but tend to need to hang out in the cool and dark (fridge? freezer!) until consumed if making in Australia.
Dark chocolate raspberry mousse chocolate truffles.
A dark chocolate mousse, with raspberries sprinkled through. Coat the whole lot in dark chocolate.
This is my second attempt at this recipe, and I think it still needs a bit of tweaking. I haven’t quite managed to get the mouse in a solid enough state to allow it to be coated with reasonable amounts of chocolate (the squishy state always leads to an excess of smothering to try to keep it from oozing out).
I suspect I need proper chocolate moulds. Or liquid nitrogen.
The final thing on the list is these beautiful rounded beauties. Dark chocolate coated date-and-tahini salted caramel truffles.
These are my favourite. I pretty much pledge my soul to anything containing either dates or tahini, and the mix of the two is perfect.
They’re also incredibly easy to make- blend dates (I like the dark Iranian ones, not the medjool, which I find too sugary for date-based cooking) and mix in tahini until you like the taste. Add a bit of salt until you get that salted-caramel flavour that your heart desires. Roll into balls, coat in dark chocolate.
That’s it for this year- six sweets only!
What do you think? Got your eyes on any?