As a child growing up in Wales, the Dylan Thomas story
of the child's view of Christmas just moves me so much, every time I read it.
For me, much of it was very much like that description. How proud I
would feel to be the writer of such an evocative piece. No wonder he
was world recognised as a great writer during his lifetime.
I've added some of the recipes for items that are
mentioned in the piece and on a forthcoming page will add a couple of typical crafts that we would do
to amuse ourselves on a cold winter's day as children. By the time I
was ten, I was a very capable cook as my mother had already taught me well 'how to do things'
in the kitchen and the home from a very young age. She always pointed
out the importance of safety in the kitchen, the difference between
simmering ingredients slowly and boiling it. She emphasised never going far
from the kitchen when in the middle of making something that was cooking on
the stove top in particular. Good advice for
children and adults today!!!
Boiling sugar is very dangerous in the wrong hands
as sugar become very hot when heated for toffees, so children should be
supervised by a responsible adult.
Hand Made Sweets
All made from recipes here on this page.
Here is a large platter of home made sweets I
made. It includes Ginger Truffles
all rolled in chopped blanched almonds, dusting sugar or cocoa, or
dipped in melted milk chocolate Galaxy bar.
This is from a very old Enquire Within book.
We used this recipe as children in South Wales. Today the nanny state
and I as an adult have to insist that children are supervised although I
confess to making this many, many times with other playmates when younger.
Having been shown how to do it by mother and well warned of the dangers of
piping hot liquid sugar when molten. Another Welsh toffee
recipe will follow shortly on another page.
1. 2 tablespoons vinegar - we always used
2. 3 tablespoons of water
3. 4 oz butter (DO NOT USE MARGARINE)
4. 2 lbs white sugar (I have a feeling we
just added a whole bag before and after metrication when the conversion took
it to a kilo of sugar)
Extra butter to grease a tin before you start cooking the
Butterwelsh. Use a heavy solid LARGE saucepan and a wooden spoon.
Toffee bubbles up when boiling.
Have 2 cups of very cold water nearby for testing the toffee
This recipe was very economical on butter,
and another version of a richer Butterwelsh toffee can be made.
First grease a tin with butter.
Melt the butter in the two liquids in a saucepan.
Add the sugar. To speed things up the sugar can as in
jam making be pre- warmed for a couple of minutes in the microwave in
a Pyrex bowl.
Boil fast for 20 to 30 minutes until done by testing
by dropping small amounts into a cup of cold water. It will not be
ready to test until medium honey coloured. When it gets golden do this
test until it sets hard when dropped into your cup of water.
Pour into the well buttered tin and after some minutes
when it forms an impression set, mark and score into squares with the
back of an oiled knife. The reality is that it mostly cracks into
Once cooked add nuts such as chopped brazil nuts or
cashew nuts if you wish.
This is also suitable for coating toffee apples or
slices of apples set on cocktail sticks.
This is a fudgy toffee.
It's one we used to boil on the top of the stove. Years ago,
with its condensed milk it seemed much more extravagant than the version of Butterwelsh above. This recipe had to be watched like a hawk,
but frankly, the method I now use is the microwave. It really is faster
and so much easier to do in the microwave and there is less chance of the
condensed milk burning and sticking to the base of the saucepan with black
bits spoiling the mix.
In general if you need to use a saucepan to
make this use a stainless steel one in preference to a non-stick pan which
really dislikes mixtures with condensed milk.
Butter a 6-inch tin. Put the water and the butter
into a large Pyrex bowl and microwave for 20 seconds to dissolve the
Open the tin of condensed milk and
pour onto the liquid and add the caster sugar
Put a tablespoon into boiling water and take out 2
tablespoons of golden syrup. Do not over heap the spoon, but gentle
rounding is OK.
Stir everything together and microwave for 30
Now microwave on high continuously for 5 minutes.
(Ovens may vary - My high is on a 900 watt oven)
Have ready a table mat as the bowl is hot. Using
oven gloves remove the bowl from the microwave oven. Set down on the
table mat and stir in the vanilla essence.
If like add raisins and chopped walnuts or decorate
Pour into the buttered tin. The toffee will
continue to cook in its own heat.
When cool cut into squares with a sharp knife.
Place in gold foil cases.
6 Inch Tin
This is a cold no cook recipe, but
melted chocolate can be used if preferred.
Top Tip - Keep these
for a 3 or 4 days so the flavour can develop.
There is no cream in this recipe. My husband loves the
ginger truffles simply rolled in the ground almonds. He finds
they are not too indulgent for a low fat gall bladder diet. The
ginger truffles have a clean taste which is a great contrast to the
effect chocolate can have on the digestion. The ginger
truffles can also be rolled in crushed ginger biscuit crumbs as
another less fatty alternative.
3oz ground almonds (keep back 2 tablespoons for
2 tablespoons soft apricot jam or ginger marmalade
6 pieces of stem ginger
2 tablespoons ginger syrup
1 tablespoon rum or sherry or simply increase the ginger syrup
to 3 tablespoons if the alcohol is not allowed. Rum works
very well with this.
4 oz any type of white, milk or dark
chocolate to melt, or nuts or cocoa or icing sugar or all of them!
the cakes up and make into fine crumbs with a food mixer.
Reserve 2 pieces of ginger for later. Now add 4
pieces of the ginger, the ginger syrup, the jam and 2 oz of the ground
almonds. Blend until very smooth.
Tip into a dish using a bowl scraper to remove the
mix stuck to the side of the mixer bowl.
Now chop the 2 pieces of ginger into small pieces
and add it to the mix.
Have ready a large sheet of greaseproof paper laid on a
tray to lay the truffles on the paper.
teaspoon and scoop out teaspoons of the mix dropping them onto the
paper by pushing the mix off with the knife.
Leave to thicken up and air dry for 4 hours.
Now the ginger balls will be just that bit firmer to
handle. Put the 2 tablespoons of ground almonds into a shallow
dish and pick up the ginger mix balls with the tip of the knife.
Drop the balls into the almonds and then roll them into your hands
into spherical shape. Do this to all of them. Take
about 4 or 5 balls and roll those few into chopped nuts. They
will immediately feel much firmer.
Those to be powdered can be
rolled in cocoa powder, or confectioner's icing powder when you do the
chocolate coating. Otherwise, leave the truffles spheres to air dry
The truffles are really best left on one side with a
loose piece of greaseproof on them for a few days. In that time,
they mature in flavour.
When ready to coat them, break the 4 oz of chocolate
in a basin and melt the chocolate in a
microwave for three 20 second bursts, watching it carefully. Let about
half the chocolate melt and then remove it from the microwave and stir
the unmelted pieces in its own chocolate, so it dissolves in its own
heat. It's important not to over cook the chocolate as the gloss
gets spoiled if it's overheated.
Have ready a piece of waxed or greaseproof paper.
Put a truffle on a dessertspoon and move the truffle around in the
Use a teaspoon to spoon
more chocolate over it. Gently drop the truffle on the waxed paper and repeat
this until the melted chocolate is all used up.
If you have some white chocolate, you could drizzle it over the chocolates. Any remaining truffles can be rolled in cocoa powder,
ground almonds, chopped nuts, ginger biscuit crumbs, or confectioner's icing powder.
These are all suitable truffle covering alternatives when you run out of the
melted chocolate coating. In fact we prefer them to appear
When all are firmed up display them in coloured foil
sweet cases and pile them into an elegant sweet dish or a large
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