...at least in my kitchen it is.
Today we've been pottering about undertaking a Christmas challenge set by Persil and their 'warm spice' fragranced washing up liquid.
Blogger and baker extraordinaire Ruth Clemens of the Pink Whisk has collaborated and come up with a scrumptious selection of Christmas recipes. The only tough part was choosing which one we'd make.
Actually, it wasn't too tough. I quickly settled on making Florentines - because I LOVE them! Forget cupcakes and macarons, florentines is where it's at, you mark my words.
They are really simple to make, you can knock up a batch quickly, and they make a wonderful homemade treat or last-minute Christmas gift. I've packaged them as a gift using an old Pringles tube, wrapped in a vintage map, with a matching paper bow. Nifty thrifty huh?
You can watch Ruth and her son making these delicious biscuits here, or you can look at my amateurish photos. Rest assured, if my kitchen was as pristine as hers, I'd have been filming our efforts too.
Here's Ruth's recipe.
50g golden syrup
50g Stork Baking Liquid
50g Demerara sugar
50g plain flour
8 glace cherries, chopped
45g flaked almonds
40g mixed peel
150g milk chocolate
160c(fan)/180c/Gas Mark 4.
Preheat the oven to 160c(fan)/180c/Gas Mark 4.
Measure out the ingredients.
Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper and place the flour, flaked almonds, mixed peel, sultanas and chopped glace cherries into a bowl and stir to mix evenly, make a well in the centre.
Add the golden syrup, demerara sugar and Stork Baking Liquid to a small pan.
Heat the pan over a gentle heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat.
Carefully pour into the dry ingredients.
Carefully mix the ingredients together. Place spoonfuls of the mixture well-spaced apart as they will spread on the baking trays, creating 6 Florentines on each tray. (unless you're us, in which case you'll only do 5)
Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cooled melt the milk chocolate gently in the microwave or over a pan of steaming water.
Turn the florentines upside down on the work surface. Add a teaspoon of melted chocolate and spread over the Florentine using a pastry brush or the back of the spoon.
Allow the chocolate to set and serve.
We followed the recipe pretty much as above. However since Ruby is allergic to milk products, we used dairy-free chocolate - using 'milk' on the base and drizzled white chocolate on the tops to decorate.
My only tip would be to reshape them while still warm if they've spread out and no longer resemble a circle! you can gently push them back into shape with the backs of 2 teaspoons.
I did find them quite sweet, so when I make them next time I think I'll try reducing the sugar - the syrup, fruit and chocolate should be sweet enough. I'd also use a good quality dark chocolate if I'm making them for myself or as gifts next time.
We had a lovely afternoon making these, and as Ruby's advent treat today was for us to do baking together, it was perfect! The kitchen smelled all Christmassy with the toasted nuts and citrus peel in the oven.
When it came to clearing up, Ruby has her own unique way of doing things...
...and when it was time to wash up she was nowhere to be found. But still, the aromatic aroma of spices from the Persil Warm Spice made it a pleasant enough chore, although I wouldn't have complained if someone had offered to do it for me while I put my feet up with a glass of mulled wine.
So when you're faced with the mountain of dishes on Christmas Day, do yourself a favour and lighten the load and your mood with this liquid. If you want to try it for yourself, you'll find it on the supermarket shelves, and better still I have five bottles to give away.
To win one, just leave me a comment below and a way to contact you before midday on Tuesday 18th December 2012 (sorry, UK only) and I'll select five people at random for Persil to send a bottle to.
Disclosure: Sponsored post.