Melting Moments

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It’s time to start baking. Even if you never bake for the rest of the year, it is obligatory to bake this week.  It’s that special time when you make biscuits that you only have at Christmas.   That is what makes them so special.

During this week, I bring out my mum’s old recipes or ring my sisters and ask for them … again.  By baking them, I remember and honour her and recall how special these biscuits were to me as a child.  Each year, my mum would make, amongst others, melting moments, shortbread, rum balls and fruit mince pies.  To a small child, they were magical.

These biscuits help define Christmas.

I decided to start with melting moments.  Mum had a couple of recipes but this was my favourite because it includes ginger and cherries.  My mum was, as I am,  big on ginger.


  • 8 oz (225g) butter, preferably unsalted
  • 2 oz (56g) icing sugar
  • 2 oz (56g) custard powder
  • ¼ tsp vanilla essence
  • ¾ cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup glacéd cherries, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped  (I toasted my walnuts, although my mum never did.)
  • ¼ cup glacéd ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1½ cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • extra cherries for decorating
  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C.
  2. Cream butter and icing sugar in electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in custard powder, vanilla essence and coconut.
  4. Add walnuts, ginger and cherries and mix well.
  5. Stir in sifted flour.
  6. Roll dough into balls the size of a walnut.
  7. Flatten slightly and put a piece of cherry on each biscuit.
  8. Place on a tray lined with baking paper.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.  Do not brown.

17 thoughts on “Melting Moments

    • Hiya Jo (It is Jo, isn’t it?) Yep, I should have said to chop the fruit and the walnuts … durr. I toasted the walnuts, rubbed off the skins in a tea towel and then sifted off the skins in a coarse sieve but this is optional.

  1. I’m done already! Tomorrow I mail – did 4 kinds: Chocolate Crinkles, Thumbprint Butter Cookies, Almond Logs, and an Iced Double Gingercookie (that I got from Brydie’s blog). Yours doesn’t have much sugar, does it? Is Custard Powder a mix used to make custard? Does it have sugar? I may try yours, cause I’m always looking for low sugar cookies (but I guess all the fruits have sugar, don’t they!).

    • Hi Doc, you have done well!! You are much more organised then me. Our custard powder is a powder to which you add sugar and milk to make custard. It is probably just corn starch, dye and a little bit of flavouring. I wish you and Sandee a very happy festive season.

  2. Sometimes I wonder what the whole xmas thing even means anymore. Usually I think of family coming together and sharing our stories and memorable moments of the year. It’s certainly not about presents that’s for sure. Honouring our loved ones is meaningful. I have symbolic decorations to go on the tree to remember those in our lives no longer with us. Recipe traditions are a truly meaningful way of celebrating the important people in our lives. I only have one dish from the generation before that is relevant to me and to my family; but my kids don’t know how to make it. You’ve made me think perhaps it’s time to record their favourite recipes; in case I get hit by a bus tomorrow. They’ll never know how to make Tiramisu Terrine, Orange Glaze for the xmas Ham, Pistachio and Bacon stuffing with the turkey or chicken, And the rest. Thanks for the prompt Glenda.

    • Hi Mariana. A lovely gift for the next generation is a nice notebook with a few handwritten family recipes in it. They then can add their own favourites. I bought such a notebook for all my nieces and nephew a few years back. Over time, it will become their own treasured recipe book.

  3. I have been doing a lot of baking lately, and this has meant lots of emails to my cousin and digging through old scraps of paper. Everything you say about Christmas baking is so true — thanks for reminding me why I do it!

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