Christmas is a favourite time of the year in our home. The girls are always counting the days as soon as any early signs of Christmas is up – whether its at the shopping centres, mail in catalogues or ads on TV. At times my thoughts turn to how commercialise it has been over the years. Children making never ending lists and parents succumbing to the temptation. Must admit I can get dragged into the commercialism and get carried away myself, but economies of scale always dictates what is just and practical. Which means B will not be getting her own Iphone 4S at the age of 14 even though most of her friends at school have them. And not every single DS and Wii game will be bought because we’ll be sharing some love with the local Rotary Club’s annual gift appeal and this year, we’ve opted to get some pencils and school supplies through World Vision. Not much in the grand scheme of things. But it spreads the real essence of Christmas – appreciating your own blessings and sharing them.
This year, is the start of edible Christmas presents coming from our kitchen. There’s this feeling that it’s a MUST, following 2 semesters of a Commercial Cookery course. So besides the almond bread given to work colleagues and teachers and the chocolate chip cookies for the girls’ simple class Christmas party, these gorgeous looking mini cakes made their way to friends’ homes.
These cakes were made using 9cm spring from cake tins. The cake recipe is the fail-safe perfectly perfect chocolate cake (same one we use for the girls' 8th birthday cupcakes) from the Hershey’s Cocoa container, and iced with a simple chocolate ganache frosting.
The simple chocolate ganache frosting was made with:
1 cup thickened cream
230g/8oz bittersweet chocolate
(We used a combination of 200g Nestle Plaistowe and 30g Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips. Of course, you can use either or any brand. I prefer dark chocolates though.)
Cut the chocolate bar into chunks and place in a bowl with the chocolate chips.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream until just about boiling point. Add to the chocolate and whisk until smooth.
Cool to room temperature.
*The ganache will thicken once cooled which will make for easier frosting. If its too thick or has turned hard, simply whisk (with a hand-held beater or whisk) again until the thickness is of spreading consistency.
The cakes were sprinkled with icing sugar and adorned with mini candy canes before sending off wrapped with lots of love and Christmas thoughts. Ross Grittin has a lovely message today in the Sydney Morning Herald, which I just have to quote, " ... for it's in giving that we receive happiness." Spread the love everyone and be happy!