I hope that you are all thoroughly in the festive spirit and enjoying the run up to Christmas. If you missed out on my Autumn of Baking series, you can catch up on any of the posts by visiting the front page of my blog now!
Christmas is just around the corner and I love this time of year. Everyone is full of anticipation for Christmas Day and all of the traditions that come with it. One tradition that can sometimes wear out the festive spirit is gift giving. Don’t get me wrong, buying presents for those you love is a pleasure, but sometimes it can be difficult to think of the right present for the right person.
Homemade gifts are always a crowd pleaser in more ways than one. Receiving a homemade baked present is extra special as you know that a lot of work went in to making them and they are one of a kind. On the flip side, you have the joy of spending some quiet time in the kitchen preparing the presents, and reflecting on the season while listening to Christmas songs. I can’t think of anything better!
If you need something Christmassy to listen to, you can have a look at the playlists from ESB Monthly Bake DECEMBERs below!
So, here are two of my favourite tried and tested recipes that make perfect gifts – Homemade Truffles and ESB Chocolate Box Chocolates. Both are chocolate based recipes but if you visit my website, www.englishsingingbaker.com, you can find alternatives that would also work well as gifts – Traditional Fudge, Cinderella Shortbread and Back to School Cookies.
A well-loved family favourite – perfect after lunch on Christmas Day!
Makes 14 truffles
100g Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
100ml Double Cream
1 tbsp. Greek Yogurt
3 tbsps. cocoa powder, sifted
3 tbsps. icing sugar, sifted
A heat-proof bowl
A small saucepan
A melon baller or two teaspoons
2 zip lock sandwich bags
A baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper
How to make the bake
- Break the chocolate into squares and put in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Warm the cream in a small saucepan until small bubbles appear around the edge of the saucepan. This is called scorching the cream. When the cream is too hot to dip your little finger, remove from the heat and pour over the prepared chocolate squares. Use the spatula to stir in the cream until the mixture is glossy and the chocolate has all melted. This method of melting the chocolate makes it less likely that the mixture will split than if you melt the chocolate directly in a saucepan.
- Scrape down the edges of the bowl and smooth the top before putting the mixture in the fridge to set. This can take anything from a couple of hours to overnight.
- When the mixture is set solid, take the bowl out of the fridge. Fill a mug with boiling water and put your melon baller into the hot water. This helps the truffles not to stick to the spoon as you shape the truffles. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into two separate sandwich bags before taking a teaspoon amount of mixture on your spoon or melon baller. Shape gently into a rough golf ball between your hands before placing into one of the two bags. Remember that these are meant to be like wild woodland truffles so don’t worry if they aren’t perfectly round! Continue to shape the truffles until you have used up all the mixture, then shake the bags gently to thoroughly coat the truffles in icing sugar or cocoa powder.
- When the truffles are evenly coated, take them out of each bag and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Place the truffles into the fridge to firm and harden before putting into your choice of Christmas wrapping (see notes below!)
ESB Chocolate Box Chocolates
It’s amazing how easy these chocolates are to make as long as you have a silicone mould. I got mine from a French supermarket a couple of years ago but there are similar designs in Tiger and Lakeland or you could even use an ice-cube tray to get the same effect!
Makes 12 chocolates
100g Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa solids
100g White Chocolate
Or choose a selection of your favourites!
A silicone chocolate mould or ice tray
A small saucepan
A small heatproof bowl
How to make the bake
- Break the white chocolate into small pieces and place in the heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of just boiled water, not on the hob. Give it the occasional stir until melted and glossy. This method allows the chocolate to melt without the risk of it burning.
- Take the melted chocolate and spoon into the moulds. It’s up to you how you decorate the moulds but the main thing to do is to make layers of different chocolate. You want to fill up each mould until it is about a third full or even go wild and brush the mould with a pastry brush or skewer to make a new pattern.
- When the first layer is finished, gently shake the tray to make an even layer of chocolate and then put in the fridge for 30 minutes or until they are set and hard to the touch.
- When the first layer of chocolate has set, melt the dark chocolate in the same way as the first and add the second layer of chocolate to the moulds. Even out by gently shaking and put in the fridge for another 30 minutes until that layer has set.
- Leave to set hard for a couple of hours or overnight before popping them out of the silicone moulds and packaging up in a beautiful box.
Notes on packaging
In my opinion, packaging up your finished bakes is as much fun as making them, but it is important to make sure they keep as fresh and delicious as they possibly can. To keep them fresh, line the box in foil, or keep air tight in a cellophane bag so that the packaging can be reused by the recipient. If you have multiple layers of chocolates, put a small piece of foil between each layer to stop the chocolates from sticking together.
You can package your chocolate in any number of ways from decorated boxes – that you can buy in Tiger, WH Smith and Clintons – to festive cellophane with a ribbon. You can also decorate a previous chocolate box and reuse it by re-covering in new wrapping paper. Last year I made my own boxes out of old Christmas cards and if you are interested in making your own, visit this tutorial from The Spruce. In the end, it’s up to you how much you decide to decorate your finished bakes but however you do it, your gift will be enjoyed and well received.
Thank you for popping by my blog today. I hope you found my tips helpful for making your own homemade chocolates for Christmas and if you decide to make them, don’t forget to tag me in any pictures on Instagram @englishsingingbaker #esbbakes.
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and look forward to continue to sharing my baking with you into 2018.
See you in the new year but until then,
English Singing Baker x