Happy Holidays everyone!
I’m sitting on my new (reclining) couch, still in PJ’s and bathrobe at 10pm (yeah… didn’t bother getting dressed today), my two-year-old is softly singing “Let It Go” in bed along with her new Elsa doll (who also sings – who got her that?!). I love these few days after Christmas and before New Years – there’s nothing to do. Literally!
I don’t have cakes to bake for anyone.
I don’t have any articles to write.
I don’t have a physical job to go to.
With the copious amount of food and snacks in the house, I don’t feel compelled to cook dinner.
Basically, I can put my feet up for a little while and just relax. Even Maeve seems to be extra chilled out these days, making things like going to bed and getting up in the morning much easier on all of us (8:30am wake-ups are A-OK in my books!).
Of course, this will only last a few days. By New Years Eve I’ll be cooking another massive spread and it will be all hustle and bustle again. But until then I’ll just recline on my new couch, stick my 9-month pregnant belly out and enjoy some quality relaxation time.
I wanted to share a new recipe with you today – and yes, it’s holiday related – even though Christmas has come and gone. But I’m sure I’m not the only one with lots of leftover mincemeat from making too few pies this year!
Come December in Ireland, mince pies are everywhere. In every bakery, every grocery store, every small shop. They just take over. If you enjoy mince pies, this is a good thing. I’ve never been a fan. Not until I tried Crossogue Preserves‘ Brandied Mincemeat.
Not only is it delicious, it’s made locally in small batches. To me, that’s just quality assurance. Small batches? That means it’s hard to mess up. And I have never had a jam, marmalade or mincemeat from Crossogue Preserves that hasn’t tasted just perfect.
If you’re ever looking for Crossogue Preserves headquarters, GOOD LUCK. They make their preserves in Ballycahill, Tipperary – a few minutes’ drive outside of Thurles, but still very, very hard to find if you don’t know the area extremely well. And I don’t. I’m still learning. But I got there eventually, and the 5 kilo bucket of mincemeat was so, so worth the struggle.
Because these mincemeat squares are pretty divine. And addictive. And did I mention they’re a great alternative to your average mince pie?
I basically used my old fashioned date square recipe and swapped Crossogue’s Brandied Mincemeat for my usual date filling, making an already easy recipe even easier.
So even though the season for mince pie is basically over, why don’t we take these few easygoing days between Christmas and New Years to enjoy some crumbly, buttery, brown-sugary squares with a hot cup of tea (or if you’re not pregnant like me, some boozy eggnog!).
Go on. Enjoy your life. Have an extra-boozy drink with me in mind (just a few more days til I can indulge, hopefully!).
Crossogue Preserves Brandied Mincemeat Oat Squares
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups Crossogue (or homemade) Brandied Mincemeat
- Preheat your oven to 350° (180°C, no fan) and line a rectangular baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a bowl, mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and baking soda. Add the cubed butter and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- Take half the mixture and press it firmly into the bottom of the lined baking dish. Evenly spread the mincemeat over and then sprinkle the remaining half of the flour mixture on top (keep the topping crumbly).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. The top won’t look overly browned, but it will be done.
- Allow to cool completely (I left mine to cool overnight) before gently removing from the baking dish and cutting into squares.
- Makes 12-16 squares depending on the size baking dish you use. Keep them in an airtight container for up to a week (but they won’t last that long).