If you want to knock the Santa-socks off your friends and family with a beautiful dessert, but you’re not a fan of spending hours in the kitchen, then look no further! With Christmas only days away, I thought I’d share 7 solutions for all things festive and sweet.
1. Date, Coconut + Dark Chocolate Rum Balls
There’s no denying that condensed milk and a packet of Nice biscuits make delicious rum balls - but, I can safely say that these beauties eliminate some of the guilt and also prevent you from eating 6 tablespoons of condensed milk straight from the tin before you’ve even started cooking. Dark chocolate brings the richness, while dates, coconut and coconut oil practically make them a health food… not quite, but almost. I’ve kept it PG with 2 tablespoons of rum to a whole batch, but feel free to spike it as much as you like - or leave out the booze altogether!
2. Candy Cane Meringues
They might not look like candy canes, but I can guarantee they taste like them! Only a few ingredients, these crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth treats are a pretty addition to the Christmas table or wrapped up as a homemade gift. I’ve used natural food colouring to help avoid those nasty, artificial additives for both the adults and kids. I’ve also shared the steps to create the two-tone effect when piping, which is a bit of fun and very slightly resembles a candy cane.
3. Tropical Fruit Salad with Passionfruit + Lime Syrup
Simplicity at its best! One of my favourite things about the festive season (or summer in general) is the fruit! This beautiful plate requires hardly any cooking and makes a serious statement to any table when entertaining. The fruit itself is oh so gorgeous! You really don’t have to do much to make it look inviting. A little tip to make sure it tastes as good as it looks, leave the fruit out of the fridge before serving. I guarantee the flavour will be 10 times better when all of those natural sugars are released and relaxed. It’s delicious on it’s own, but feel free to serve with coconut cream, sorbet or a good old fashioned dollop of double cream. Bliss!
4. Mojito Meringues with Boozy Lime Curd + Mint Sugar
Inspired by one of my favourite cocktails, this is my take on the mini pavlova. I’m struggling to find the words to describe this recipe other than, “it’s so damn good.” If you love the combination of mint and lime and you’re not afraid of a little bit of rum, get this recipe happening ASAP. No regrets.
5. Queensland Summer Trifle
No questions asked, there was always trifle at our family Christmas’. I have fond memories of helping Mama (my beautiful late grandma who taught me how to cook) prepare the layers - brandy-soaked sponge roll, two types of coloured jelly, homemade custard, whipped cream and toasted slivered almonds. The two day process was always well worth it and little Georgia though it was glorious… A true masterpiece! Although… now as a cook, adult Georgia thinks it makes absolutely no sense and I struggle to understand how such a dessert became such an annual tradition for so many. This is my version, celebrating the beautiful flavours of my home State. Mango and pineapple jelly (not from a packet), whole egg custard (with a nip of Bundaberg rum), cream and an abundance of sliced ripe and locally-sourced fruit. I’ve also thrown in some roasted macadamias for a bit of crunch factor! There’s not a bit of sponge roll in sight, but the process still brings back the nostalgia.
6. Black Forest Dark Chocolate Mousse
I often find myself sharing this recipe at many of my demonstrations because of how simple it is! Inspired by a two ingredient white chocolate mousse hack that the always brilliant Matt Preston taught us during a masterclass on my season of MasterChef, this is my dark and decadent version. Although Black Forest doesn’t isolate itself to Christmas, the Australian cherry season is the perfect excuse to combine both fresh and preserved cherries to create this seriously simple sauce. Warning - if you make the serving sizes too large, this will tip your guests over the edge and straight into the land of food comas. Less is more. Trust me.
7. Gingerbread Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Caramel
Ice-cream sandwich possibilities really are endless! I’ve seen so many, but I have to say that the texture of gingerbread makes the perfect vessel. I’ve cheated and suggested using a tub of good-quality vanilla ice-cream, but feel free to make your own if you wish. The salted caramel isn’t necessary, but because I love a little indulgence once in a while, it’s the perfect accompaniment and makes it just that little bit ‘extra.’
I hope this brought you some satisfying sweet tooth material to cook at home. Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season. I'm really looking forward to sharing lots of deliciousness with you in the new year.