It’s the most wonderful time of the year and what a year it’s been!
If ever there were a time to gather together and relish precious moments with those who mean the most to you, it’s Christmas 2020.
But finding the right gift can add stress in what should be a joyous time of year.
So, instead of aimlessly strolling the mall, or endlessly scrolling online, we’ve done all the hard work for you in our carefully curated New Zealand Herald Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide for 2020.
Asher Freeman Golden Snitch Earrings
It’s notoriously hard to catch, but now Harry Potter lovers can adorn their lobes with the Golden Snitch in these earrings from Auckland designer Asher Freeman. The 18K gold-plated sterling silver earrings feature freshwater pearls and will be seriously irresistible for the budding quidditch enthusiast in your life.
$216 from Freeman Jewellery.
Harpoon X Quick Brown Fox Espresso Martinis
Giving these will no doubt pay dividends, with three standard espresso martinis per bottle, you’re sure to get a bevvy in return. The espresso martinis require a good shake in anything that seals, then simply pour into some lush coupes for optimal boujee aesthetic.
$15 per bottle from Quick Brown Fox.
Kip & Co Slippers
If there’s one thing that 2020 taught us, it’s that decent loungewear can get you through nearly anything. These slides from Kip & Co are a lush option for a Christmas-morning spruce up of the slippers that you wore to death during the wild ride that was 2020. Plus, the leopard print is totally a neutral right?
$49 from Superette.
By Natalie Amelia Night Shirt
Hot on the tail of a good slipper, comes a great piece of nightwear that’s as timeless as it is luxe.
The Amelia nightshirt from By Natalie is our pick for a great dressing gown alternative in a silhouette that can take you from bed right to greeting guests at the front door.
$329 from By Natalie.
If there is one gift you can be absolutely sure the special person in your life wants, it’s AirPods. The game-changing headphones will take your run, or Zoom session from a tangled mess, to seamless and stylish in the click of a Bluetooth button. You can also get them engraved with a special free message on the Apple website.
Starting at $279 from Apple.
[email protected] Chess Set
If the special person in your life is, like the rest of New Zealand, hooked on Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, a beautiful chess set is likely to be at the top of their wishlist. This cutie from [email protected] is a perfect statement piece that will have your special someone saying”checkmate”.
$59.99 from Farmers.
Ironclad Legacy Skillet
The keen chef in your life needs to have the mother of all cookware and the Ironclad Legacy Pan is the only 100 per cent New Zealand made cast iron skillet. Hand-poured to order, every Legacy Pan is as unique as the family recipes it will prepare.
$200 from Ironclad Pan.
Patagonia Fitz Roy Horizons Tee
The perfect men’s tee is worth its weight in gold, and this one from Patagonia is sure to keep the coolest man in your life happy all year long. This one earns extra hip points for mums and dads who repped the brand in the 70s and can now gift it in the form of this stylish comeback.
$79.99 from Smith and Caughey’s.
Gentleman's Multi Fishing Tool
If his summer plans involve getting out on the water, he’s going to love the Gentleman’s Multi Fishing Tool. It is complete with needlenose pliers, a shot splitter, line cutter, knife, scaler, hook remover, screwdriver and the most essential of all – a bottle opener
$55 from Superette.
Mentality Low Alcohol IPA
There is nothing more important than taking care of our mental and physical health, and Kiwi blokes have been known to neglect both when times get tough. Enter Mentality, a premium low-alcohol beer brand, crafted to support the positive mental health movement in NZ and giving back a portion of proceeds to mental health charities nationwide. Cheers to that!
$20 for a six-pack from Beer With Us.
Aotea x Superette Superskin Wellness Giftset
Made from natural ingredients like mānuka and kawakawa sourced directly from Great Barrier Island and made using traditional Māori herbal remedies, Aotea is quietly making waves in the beauty industry. The collab kit contains their best selling mask, oil and balm in travel-friendly sizes.
Lush Sweet Christmas Bath Bombs
Add some sparkle to your teens Christmas day with this festive bath bomb set. These classic scents are the perfect pamper treat and will create Insta-worthy bath art.
$20 from Lush.
This pocket-sized portable charger means your teenager will never be able to use the excuse ‘my phone died’ again – now they can charge up their phone, smartwatch, and even Bluetooth headphones on the go.
$45 from Harvey Norman.
Adidas Adilette Slides
The iconic shoe from 1972 is now one of the most popular slides on the globe – and what teen doesn’t love a slide? With loads of colours to choose from, there’s sure to be a pair for your teen to rock while they shuffle around the house.
$55 from Platypuss.
Teens can cruise down the footpath, cranberry juice in hand, or hit the skate park in style with this glitzy skateboard from Kmart. The best part? It’ll get them out of the house during the school holidays.
$35 from Kmart.
Fuji Instax Mini 9
Capture those Christmas memories with this picture-perfect mini polaroid camera. This one even has a little selfie mirror so you won’t waste any film trying to work on your perfect pose.
$80 from Instax.
Play Sky Patrol Foldable Drone
The perfect gift for the tech lover in the family, this foldable drone will keep the kids entertained for hours this summer. Just be sure to make sure they aren’t spying on the neighbours!
$129.99 from Noel Leeming.
Le Toy Van Chicky Chick Play Egg Cup
What better way to start off Christmas breakfast than with this wooden play egg cup set from Le Toy Van. Dip your “toast” soldiers into the pretend yolk for some fun and delicious playtime for the little love in your life.
$38 from Father Rabbit.
Duplo Elsa and Olaf Tea Party Set
Hoo Hoo – big summer blow out! Help develop your little one’s fine motor skills while giving them all of the Frozen feels with this adorable set from Duplo. The larger pieces are specially made for little hands to pick up and create their own fairytales.
$35 from Mighty Ape.
Skilfully crafted in New Zealand with top-quality materials, the timeless and natural designs of Solvej swings blend seamlessly into your decor, meaning no bright bold colours to ruin your aesthetic. Even Kourtney Kardashian is a fan of the Taumarunui brand, using the swings with her own children.
$219.95 from Nature Baby.
On the Farm Wooden Train Set
Hop on board for a fun-filled journey through the farm with this wooden train set that will teach your little one construction skills with the bonus of bundles of fun.
$27 from Kmart.
Jasmine and Will French Monogrammed Basket
These mini handwoven monogrammed baskets make the perfect customisable gift for a little summer cutie. But they aren’t just for your mini, the market tote can be repurposed as a home accessory or special hamper basket.
$59 from Jasmine and Will.
STEAM Te Reo Puzzle
Help your little one harness their beginner Te Reo with this adorable wooden STEAM puzzle. Complete with numbers and fun objects, your tiny learner will be giving themself a paki paki after they master this one.
$9 from The Warehouse.
Ellie Mae's Sparkle
Sir Michael Hill and award-winning author Emma Mactaggart have together created Ellie-Mae’s Sparkle in support of Save the Children. An uplifting tale, recognising the challenging year that has been and serving as a reminder that with optimism, perseverance and a sense of community, we can find that sparkle again.
$10 from Michael Hill.
It’s by far the coolest backpack of 2020, and now the Kanken Mini comes in the perfect festive colour – spruce green. The mini format comes with long shoulder straps that can be adjusted to fit children and adults and has a removable seat pad.
$134.90 from Fjallraven.
Star Wars The Child Talking Plush
He may look like a Baby Yoda, but this lovable creature is referred to as The Child. Inspired by Disney+ live-action series The Mandalorian, this sweet Star Wars plush toy makes a force-sensitive addition to your little one’s toy box.
$70 from Mighty Ape.
Bunch O Balloons
The No 1 selling toy has officially gone greener with Bunch O Balloons now being made from recycled plastic. The move prevents 800 tonnes of single-use plastics from entering our eco-system, annually. These are the perfect pick for nieces and nephews – just be sure to make a planned exit before the water fight ensues.
$12 from The Warehouse.
Lego Super Mario Starter Course
The Super Mario starter course is sure to be on the wishlist of the Lego lover in your life and leaves ‘mushroom’ for fun. Super Mario comes complete with LCD screen face and chest, and a speaker to play iconic sounds from the game.
$89.99 from Farmers.
NERF-N-Split Strike Gun
For a gift that requires you to put away all breakables and hunt out the best hiding spots, the NERF N-Strike Elite Split Strike is a sure-shot winner. Or, should we say, a big hit?
$20 from The Warehouse.
Zuru Oosh Potions Slime Surprise
Slime + surprise = the two hottest toy buzzwords of 2020. These adorable potion bottles add a dash of magic to DIY slime making. Follow the colourful recipes to create your own BFF elixir or enchanting potion.
$25 from The Warehouse.
Impala Quad Roller Skates
In an adorable retro throwback, roller skates are back and cooler than ever. Whether the skater in your life enjoys doing circles around the deck, or a friendly game of roller derby, the Impala skates are as functional as they are adorable.
$159.99 from North Beach.
Sleep Heavy Weighted Blanket
Give the gift of a good night’s sleep with this luxurious Sleep Heavy blanket designed to create an immediate sense of calm in both your mind and body. Add a soothing drink and a good book and you’ve got the perfect little escape when you need a break from the world. And in 2020, who doesn’t?
$321 from Sleep Heavy.
Citta Bean Bag Cushion
This pillow bean bag takes outdoor relaxation to the next level. It’s perfect for a post-barbecue nap outside on summer evenings and for extra seating at Christmas gatherings. There’s even a hook on the side for easy storage when you don’t need it. Bach perfect? We think so.
$139 from Citta.
Ecoya Lagoon Madison Candle
If you are looking to be transported to a luxurious lagoon this Christmas, look no further than the holiday offerings from Ecoya for 2020. The Lagoon Madison candle is our top pick but it’s hard to go past the decadent and festive fresh pine scent for those who prefer more wintery scents in the silly season.
$54.95 from Ecoya.
Made of Tomorrow Fold Bedside Table
Kiwi company Made of Tomorrow has created the perfect bedside table for those lacking floor space, parents who have drawer-destroyer children, or just the chic minimalist. The Fold table is designed and made in New Zealand and the brand is committed to their ethos of sustainable sourcing.
$89 from Made of Tomorrow.
DOIY Sonora Juicer
Say Hola to your new favourite household accessory. This gorgeous juicer is as functional as it is stylish, complete with a wide pouring base for tossing right into the margarita pitcher.
Bro-To The Lot
From the geniuses who brought us Go-To skincare, comes the newly rebranded Bro-To The Lot set. Your favourite fella will be a glowy god with this lush skincare set complete with the Properly Clean Face Wash, Very Useful Face Cream and the ever iconic Face Hero. So there’s never an excuse for him to dip his paws in your La Mer ever again.
$117 from Go-To.
Drunk Elephant Firmy – The Day Kit
Skyrocketing to the top of the beauty must-have list for 2020 is the Drunk Elephant Firmy Day Kit. Boasting a full size of their beloved C-Firma Day Serum, their Lala Retro Whipped Cream and the dewy morsel that is Sunshine Drops – this kit is sure to impress on Christmas morning.
$166 from Mecca.
Mecca Tinted Lip De-Luscious Cracker
In the prettiest Christmas cracker we’ve ever seen, the Mecca lip tint is the perfect gift for the beauty guru who has it all. It comes in the perfect nude tint with the added benefit of SPF25.
$24 from Mecca.
Emma Lewisham Skin Reset
Arguably the biggest breakout skincare brand of 2020, Emma Lewisham took the year that was and transformed Skin Reset into a cult beauty must-have. The 100 per cent natural supercharged formula is as powerful as it is pretty, and The Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle will leave your conscience as clear as your skin.
$148 from Emma Lewisham.
Bondi Sands Hydra UV Protect SPF 50+
With the harsh summer sun beaming down on Aotearoa, it’s more important than ever to slip, slop, slap and wrap. The Bondi Sands Hydra range glides on like a lotion, smells like a tropical paradise and is the perfect stocking stuffer or accompaniment to a stylish beach towel or wide-brimmed hat.
$22.99 from Chemist Warehouse.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair
It’s a cult beauty favourite, and now it’s iconic brown bottle has gone perfectly pink in support of Pink Ribbon breast-cancer awareness. Beauty gurus swear the potion leaves their skin smoother and more even-toned, and what better time to stock up for the Estee Lauder lover in your life, with 20 per cent of the sale price of the bottle goes to Breast Cancer NZ.
$190 from Farmers.
Triology Rosehip Three-Step Set
Trilogy’s Rosehip Three-Step trio includes Kate Middleton’s favourite award-winning Certified Organic Rosehip Oil, as well as a cream cleanser and vital moisturising cream. It’s sure to have you feeling royally rosey in no time.
$39.99 from Trilogy.
Nespresso festive collection
Stuck for a gift to buy the host with the most? You can’t go wrong with the Nespresso’s Festive trio. Considering they are probably going to chew through a sleeve or two on Christmas morning, it will be a welcome top up and a chance to try the epic flavours in the 2020 pack. Amaretti anyone?!
$36 from Nespresso.
Mumm Grand Cordon America's Cup Limited Edition Cuvee and Dry Bag
America’s Cup season has officially arrived in New Zealand, and while the famous red socks are no longer in production, you can still get into to spirit with this epic America’s Cup limited edition Mumm bottle. The perfect option to pop open on Christmas, or tuck away and save for March, when team NZ sets sail.
$69.99 from Glengarry.
It’s a classic gift that could give back so much more than your investment. Pop a ticket in a fancy Lotto envelope, chuck in a couple $1 Christmas scratchies for instant gratification, and be sure to put in writing that they have to split their fortune with you if they win.
Starting at $1 from your local Lotto shop
While we can’t travel internationally this summer, we are set to do some epic journeys in our cars as we check out all that our beautiful backyard has to offer. What better gift than a petrol voucher that can allow the recipient to fill their tank, after filling their cup with family time.
Starting at $5 from your local petrol station
Bluebells Festive White Chocolate Rocky Road
A riot of chocolate, marshmallow, cranberries, almonds, pistachios, freeze-dried berries and rose petals – this sweet treat is as delicious as it is beautiful. The gluten-free goodness can be shipped nationally and is perfect for that pal who has it all, but deserves a little more.
$12.50 from Bluebells Cakery.
Wellington Chocolate Factory X Havana Coffee
The ultimate temptation for the coffee lover in your life, as well as the perfect gift for a teacher, host, or anyone who deserves a delicious thank you. Made with 100 per cent fairtrade coffee, the Havana collab with Wellington Chocolate Factory is an easy win.
$10 from Wellington Chocolate Factory.
Trees That Count
Love native trees? Help plant millions more by giving native trees to family and friends this Christmas. Your loved ones will receive a personalised gift certificate and a native tree will be planted in Aotearoa on their behalf.
$10 from Trees That Count.
World Vision Smiles
Give your loved ones the gift of knowing they helped change someone’s life this Christmas, with new, revamped offerings reflecting the needs of vulnerable communities around the world, right now. From handwashing stations to a community goat, there’s endless hope to be given this Christmas.
Starting at $10 from World Vision.
Variety Trelise Cooper Christmas Baubles
Trelise Cooper has collaborated with children’s charity Variety to bring the 2020 Christmas giving collection. Our favourite is the pug dog bauble complete with red bow tie and the adorable kiwi in a bowler hat.
$6 from The Warehouse.
Family Portrait Session
Although parents are great at playing photographer with their family, they aren’t so great at getting in front of the camera themselves. So why not give the gift that will last a lifetime with a portrait mini session, enabling them to capture special candid moments with their kids.
Some of our favourite photographers to check out include: Black Robin photography,BamBam portraits (kids only) WonderFerris and Bohomamahttps://bohomama.co.nz/ and Eilish Burt.
Bunnings Block Warehouse
The popular Bunnings Block Warehouse is back, just in time for Christmas. The 168 piece set allows Bunnings fans to build their very own warehouse complete with a plant-filled nursery, timber yard, and everyone’s favourite sausage-sizzle stand.
$34.98 from Bunnings.
The Chase Board Game
Based on the wildly addictive TV gameshow, this fun board game includes an electronic timer, money tokens, a game board, player pieces, and two stacks of question cards. Just be sure to not get caught by the chaser.
$49.99 from Toyco.
Perfect Day Ocean Cruise – Poor Knights Islands
The Poor Knights Islands are one of New Zealand’s most spectacular dive spots, but not everyone can or wants to go below the surface. Dive Tutukaka’s Perfect Day Ocean cruise offers non-divers the chance to explore these beautiful islands, with opportunities to go snorkelling, swimming and kayaking in this pristine marine reserve.
Adults $210 or a family pass for $519 from Dive Tutukaka.
Martinborough Wine Walks
Nobody really wants to drive between wineries for tastings if they can avoid it, so why not give the oenophile in your life a walking wine tour in one of New Zealand’s most unique wine growing regions? Stroll through beautiful vineyards, hear from the individual winemakers, and of course, sample the goods in Martinborough, a town famous for its boutique wineries and cellar doors all within walking distance of one another.
$280 for a five-hour tour, including lunch and tastings..
Coastal Pacific Scenic Train Journey – Christchurch to Picton
This scenic train journey along the east coast of the South Island includes a menu of local delicacies served to individual seats along the way. The train has panoramic windows as well as an open-air viewing carriage to make the most of the spectacular scenery of mountains, sea, and the stunning Kaikōura coastline.
$144 per person.
Duffle&Co Overnight Bag
Every traveller needs a quality stylish overnight bag. The Crosson leather duffle bag is handcrafted from full-grain leather, measuring 56cm in length and 40cm wide, so it has plenty of space as a weekend bag. Duffle&Co is a New Zealand company, committed to ethical production and giving back to the environment, so you can purchase with a clear conscience.
$369 from Duffle and Co.
West Coast Jade Carving Workshop
If you have a creative loved one heading to the West Coast, you can’t let them leave without learning about the New Zealand tradition of carving – and a piece of hand-crafted pounamu. Bonz N Stonz boutique carving studio in Hokitika offers workshops for participants to carve their own piece of jade, with the help of their master carvers. An experience, with a take-home gift.
$190 from Carve your own.
Matching Travel Set
No one wants to start their holiday with a crook in their neck. Be it a plane journey or a road trip, travel in comfort with this set consisting of a matching neck pillow, an eye mask and earplugs. And they come in a handy little drawstring bag to keep them all together.
$39.99 from Shut the Front Door.
Astro Photography Tour with Charles Brooke
No matter where you are in the world, a clear night sky can take your breath away. Capturing it on camera, however, is a unique skillset. An astrophotography workshop with Charles Brooke will help hone camera and editing skills for capturing a night sky landscape. Because beautiful sights should be shared.
Prices start from $195.
Waikato Gourmet Foodie Hike
Combine New Zealand’s great outdoors with local artisan food and fine wine. A one-day experience sees hikers climb to the top of the majestic Wairere Falls, the tallests falls in the North Island, as well as a stroll to the famous Blue Springs. Along the way they’ll be eating local cheese, enjoying a gourmet picnic and wine tasting.
$370 from Nature and Nosh.
For the person who loves quality over quantity British TV, comes Acorn TV. There’s a solid mix of older favourites like Poirot, Cold Feet and Broadchurch as well as the latest and greatest premium shows like the incredibly popular police thriller Line of Duty and the BBC’s acclaimed new mini-series Anthony.
$7.99 a month.
Amazon Prime Video
Those that miss aimlessly wandering around a video store for hours trying to decide what to watch will love Amazon Prime video. APV’s big draws are the whopper-budgeted, attention-grabbing, originals. The most notable was launch series The Grand Tour, which saw Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond speeding over from the BBC.
US$5.99 a month (about NZD $9.00).
As with everything, Apple has thought differently about its streaming offering. There’s a boutique selection of very expensive and very slick originals.We’re talking Jennifer Aniston’s acclaimed sitcom The Morning Show, Bill Murray starring in Sofia Coppola’s brand new movie On the Rocks, Tom Hanks captaining a submarine in the big budget WW2 action-thriller Greyhound and the queen of chat Oprah Winfrey back conversing with people like music legend Stevie Wonder.
A year free with some Apple devices or $8.99 a month..
Along with the modern-day blockbusters like Mulan (which goes free on Dec 4) and Frozen II, there are also all their historic classics, stretching all the way back to 1937’s groundbreaking Snow White, and plenty of oddities like sci-fi flick The Black Hole to discover. Perfect for the little movie buff in your life.
$9.99 a month.
If you are looking for a service with something for everyone, look no further than streaming giant Netflix. With shows like retro sci-fi horror Stranger Things, historical royal drama The Crown and violent crime thriller Narcos all winning over critics and audiences alike.
$16.99 for High Definition per month.
Those looking for New Zealand’s premium journalism, in-depth analysis, content from top international publishers as well as puzzles and crosswords, look no further. Herald Premium is perfect for the news junkie in your life who wants 24/7 access to the best of the best of Kiwi journalism.
Subscriptions start from $2.50 per week. In-app subscriptions may vary.
Aroha: Māori Wisdom for a Contented Life Lived in Harmony with Our Planet – By Hinemoa Elder
Proverb books can be trite and cheesy but psychiatrist Dr Hinemoa Elder’s exquisitely produced Aroha is an elegant and well-timed balm that offers an open door to the healing world of Māori wisdom. Exploring traditional Māori philosophy through 52 whakatauki, Aroha presents one pithy life lesson for each week of the year.
$30 from Penguin Random House.
Humankind: A Hopeful History – By Rutger Bregman
We may all feel rinsed-out and jaded after being pummelled by 2020’s spin cycle of doom, but historian and philosopher Rutger Bregman’s Humankind has a galvanising optimism that sets out to convince us that human nature is fundamentally good and that we are actually better people than we give ourselves credit for.
$35 from Whitcoulls.
Summer- By Ali Smith
Ali Smith’s searing seasonal quartet is a sequence of novels which have each been rapidly published practically in real time, documenting the tumultuous last few years and tapping into the heavy news cycle. Smith weaves into her narrative reportage of the Australian wildfires, the climate crisis and NHS unrest.
$34 from Penguin Books.
Bella: My Life in Food – By Annabel Langbein
This rollicking memoir, filled with tales of derring-do, partying, tragedy and a good sprinkling of recipes, proves there’s much more to Our Lady of Wānaka than meets the eye. Langbein leaves no scone unturned – her idyllic Karori childhood, her teenage transformation into a “‘righteous hippy on a mission to change the world”, a serious foray into huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’, lots of global adventures, her fair share of dodgy blokes and the eventual evolution of the massive Annabel Langbein brand.
$40 from PaperPlus.
Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics
You don’t need to be a Dolly fan to appreciate this big-hearted book of songs and memorabilia – but I challenge anyone to resist her charms once they have flicked through its pages. Parton writes of being underestimated for decades because she was a poor “Backwoods Barbie”. “I might look artificial and corny to you. You might think I have no taste. But underneath the look is a person. There’s a brain and a heart underneath the hair and the boobs.”
$70 from PaperPlus.
Click HERE for a full list of Canvas’ best books of 2020.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
Tune in and zone out with these bean-shaped headphones from Samsung in Mystic Bronze. Their ergonomic design, Active Noise Cancellation and glossy finish means high-end sound via inner-ear jewels.
$349 from Samsung.
Karen Walker Silk Scarf
Don your friends and family in nautical-themed silk with this Britannia scarf by Karen Walker. It tells a tale of success, too: depicted in its luscious twill is Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia, which won the 1894 America’s Cup with a 7-minute lead.
$145 from Karen Walker.
Vintage 18ct Gold Omega Watch
Part stainless steel, part 18ct yellow gold, the Omega Manhattan watch is a timeless timepiece. Give it’s baton hour indicators and Roman numerals to a very special loved one.
$3990 from Walker and Hall.
Napoleon Perdis Happy Holla Days 10-Piece Brush Set
For the makeup enthusiast and the budding makeup neophyte alike comes Napoleon Perdis Happy Holla Days 10-piece brush set. The vegan collection is designed for any skill level, so your giftee can buff, blend and highlight their way to professional results in a single sweep.
$129 from Napoleon Perdis.
This Tekla bathrobe is akin to a wearable (but durable) blanket: it’s plush, soft, deliberately oversized, woven in extra thick 385g terry and consciously made of 100 per cent combed organic cotton.
$385 from Simon James.
Dior Airpods Pro Case
Treat fashion lovers with Airpods Pros to a charming Blue Dior Oblique jacquard case, embellished with the French fashion house’s iconic ‘CD’ signature. The leather strap and easily attachable design will ensure their tech won’t go astray.
$800 from Dior.
These scrumptious little chocolate balls hail from Brazil. Traditionally they are rolled in chocolate hail but you can also use chopped nuts or chopped dry fruits, coconut or candy sprinkles. You can add other flavours to the caramel-chocolate base – try almond essence, vanilla or orange blossom water. Traditionally brigadeiro is prepared using a very low, slow heat and constant stirring. You can take a shortcut by cooking the mixture in themicrowave, see recipe for microwave instructions.
Ready in 20 minutes
Makes 25 small truffles
4 Tbsp good-quality cocoa
¼ cup milk
1 Tbsp butter
2 x 395g cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate hail, to coat
Mix cocoa and milk in a pot, then add butter and condensed milk. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes away from the bottom of the pot and is very sticky (5-6 minutes). Leave the mixture to cool.
To microwave, mix the cocoa with the milk in a large, microwaveable jug or bowl. Add the butter and condensed milk, stir to combine and microwave uncovered on high power, stirring every 2 minutes, until beginning to solidify and hold together.
Form into about 25 small balls and roll in chocolate hail to coat. Chill before serving and store in the fridge.
Buttery, dense, melt-in-the-mouth shortbread is one biscuit that never goes out of fashion. Play around with the texture by substituting the tapioca flour for cornflour or rice flour. You can also add a little semolina into the mixture with the flour for some crunch. For shaped shortbread, roll out chilled shortbread dough to a 1cm thickness, then cut into shapes with a cookie cutter before baking.
Ready in 45 mins
250g butter, at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1¾ cups flour or gluten-free flour
¼ cup tapioca flour or cornflour or rice flour
2 Tbsp semolina (optional)
Preheat oven to 150C fanbake and line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
Beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times to ensure all the mixture is evenly combined. Add flours and semolina, if using. Mix until evenly combined.
Divide dough in half, roll each half into an even 5cm square-sided log and wrap in greaseproof paper. Chill at least 30 minutes until firm (it will keep for at least a week in the fridge) or freeze until needed.
Cut log into 1cm-thick slices and place on prepared trays. Prick with a fork. Bake until fully set and cooked through but still pale (35-40 minutes). Reduce heat if they start to colour. Allow to cool on trays. Stored in an airtight container they will keep for several weeks.
A creamy, pepperminty coconut filling sandwiched in chocolate makes a wonderful Christmas treat. The mixture can also be made into a slice and cut into small squares if preferred.
Ready in 1 hour
Makes 18-24 pops
160g dark chocolate, chopped
¼ cup coconut oil
2 tsp honey or maple syrup
1¾ cups desiccated coconut
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
3 Tbsp maple syrup or runny honey
4-5 drops peppermint essence
Arrange 18 silicone or mini muffin moulds or 24 mini paper cases on a tray.
Heat chocolate, coconut oil and honey or maple syrup in a pot over a low heat. As chocolate starts to melt, remove from heat and stir until fully melted. Divide one-third of the mixture between prepared moulds or cases to cover base evenly. Chill until set.
To make the peppermint filling, place all ingredients in a food processor and blend to form a fine, almost smooth, paste. Divide the paste between the set chocolate bases and smooth evenly, leaving a little rim of chocolate around the edges. Divide the remaining chocolate over the top, tilting to cover evenly. Chill until set (about 30 minutes) and store in the fridge. The chocolate will melt if it gets warm.
To make as a slice
Line the base and sides of a 20cm square tin with baking paper. Pour half the chocolate mixture into prepared tin and chill until set. Top with peppermint filling, leaving a small rim of chocolate around the edges of the tin. Cover with the remaining chocolate mixture, spreading evenly. Chill until set, then cut into small pieces and store in the fridge. Makes 25-30 pieces.
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