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Christmas all wrapped up!

What could be more delightful than a surprise box of gourmet home-baked Devilishly Good Brownies arriving at the door this Christmas?

A unique gift that suits all ages and tastes, my delicious home-baked gourmet brownies are elegantly and seasonally gift wrapped (optional extra costing £3), and presented with a handwritten message of your choice for a truly personal touch.

All you have to do now is decide which of the sumptous flavours you'd like to choose from and start creating your gift list! This season's special brownie range includes Baileys Truffles, Raspberry and White Chocolate and Honey Nut... indulgent, decadent and delicious, now that's Christmas all wrapped up!

And while you're thinking about that, here's a little more food for thought my gorgeous recipe for mince pies; these are not only easy to make but are the best tasting mince pies ever. Rich with butter and ground almonds they'll beat any shop-bought mince pies you've ever tasted!

Granny's Delicious Rich Mince Pies

Preheat oven to 200 degrees/Fan 180 degrees/Gas mark 6

Ingredients:

150g unsalted butter (cold and cut into small cubes)
225g plain flour
50g ground almonds
25g golden caster sugar
finely grated rind of 1 orange
1 egg yolk
3tbsps water
1 jar of your favourite sweet mincemeat
1 egg white
1 tbsp golden caster sugar (for sprinkling)

Prepare it!

  1. Grease a 12 hole shallow bun tin with butter (be generous with the butter so the pies don't stick!)
  2. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. This can be done in a food processor but be careful not to over mix. Once it gets to the breadcrumb stage add the ground almonds, caster sugar, orange rind, the egg yolk and approximately 3tbsp of water. You are aiming for a firm dough so the pastry is nice and short - too much water and it will loose its nice crumbly texture.
  3. Knead briefly to bring the mixture together (the less you handle pastry the better it will be), then wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30mins or so.
  4. Remove from fridge and roll out pastry to approx. 4mm thickness - you should get 12 circles if using a 7-8cm cutter. Use these to line the bun tin, then place a small teaspoon of the mincemeat in each of the pastry circles.
  5. Now you can either roll out the remaining pastry and cut out full lids for the pies, but I prefer to use a snowflake or holly cutter and top the pies with these - as shown below.
  6. Brush the pastry lids with egg white, sprinkle with the caster sugar and cook in the middle of the oven for about 15-20mins, or until light golden in colour.

Serve It!

They are best served warm with cream, custard or ice cream; or all three! Well it is Christmas!

It's always good to make a double batch of pastry; make up the mince pies and freeze uncooked in the tray; you'll have an instant dessert if unexpected guests turn up!

Here are some stunning ways to give the humble mince pie the wow factor - and get the kids involved! They love nothing more than helping out in the kitchen, so get them to scrub in and help out by cutting out pastry shapes to top the pies. Sweet mince pies aren't everyone's cup of tea, so swap the mincemeat for your favourite jam.

Honey nut

Instead of pastry sprinkle over a good handful of honey nuts before popping them in the oven, the sticky, honey, nutty flavour works so well.

Holly leaves

Cook the mince pies, then when cooled slightly, cut out some holly leaves and red berries out of green and red fondant icing, kids will really love putting these together.

Snowflake

Instead of cutting out a round pastry top, why not invest in a set of snowflake cutters and use these instead? They look so Christmassy with a dusting of snowy icing sugar!