Fruit mince bars

(Fruit mince bars)

I call it “strategic grocery shopping”. This evening I’ll be doing all the grocery shopping I need to get us through Christmas and Boxing Day. It’s the thing I usually leave until the 24th to accomplish. In the past, I’ve found that shopping on the eve inevitably requires monumental patience to battle through crowds of other last minute shoppers; some even pushing two grocery carts at once, blocking the aisles while they try to decide between 1 kg or 2 kg of prawns. Cooked or uncooked. Or maybe the lobster. Or both. All I can hope for is that everyone else hasn’t decided to shop strategically this year either.

Meanwhile I have some fruit mince bars to keep the energy up. Why bars? Well, sometimes I just can’t be bothered with all that latticed pie or mini tart palaver. All you need is two bits of lovely shortcrust pastry or shortbread dough, sandwiching your favourite fruit mince then in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Done.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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Gingertown population explosion

(Gingerbread Men)

Latest figures reveal increased population density in Gingertown!
Dec 12th – 12:33pm

Every year around December, the spotlight is cast on Gingertown as it becomes the centre of an unprecedented population explosion. Experts are at a loss to explain this phenomenon but scientists believe it is due largely in part to a greater influx of imports from nearby Spicetown and immigration via the Sea of Molasses. Last week a press conference was held by the Mayor of Gingertown. In response to the question of whether the town would be able to cope with the recent boom in demand for real estate and public icing facilities, he was been quoted as saying, “Well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles”. A festival celebrating this annual event is slated for the 25th of this month. Stay tuned for details.

Gingerbread Men :
(from Rose’s Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum)

425g (15 oz) plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
180g (6.25 oz) dark brown sugar
170g (6 oz) unsalted butter
160g (5.5 oz) unsulfured molasses
1 large egg

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices, then whisk together to mix evenly.

In a food processor with the metal blade, process the brown sugar until fine. Cut the butter into a few pieces and add it with the motor running. Process until smooth and creamy. Add the molasses and egg and process until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and pulse in just until the dough begins to clump together. Wrap the dough well and chill for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 175’C (350 F).

Roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Use gingerbread cutters to cut out the dough. If desired, make holes for hanging, either at the tops or hands, using the blunt edge of a wooden skewer. Bake the cookies on greaseproof lined trays for 10-12 minutes or until firm to the touch and just beginning to colour around the edges. Cool the cookies completely before icing.

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