'Tis the season to give edible treats

PATRICIA SOPER
Last updated 09:00 24/12/2012
Christmas treats
PATRICIA SOPER
Receiving a gift that has been lovingly made is what the season of giving is all about, in my book. Here are a few ideas for luscious chocolates that are easy to make in the lead-up to the big day.

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I can't remember when I began making edible gifts. Probably when my children were big enough to hold a spoon and get themselves covered in chocolate.

Although making truffles and chocolates was fun in itself, making and decorating the containers that held them was always a family affair. I still vividly remember my three daughters sitting around our battered kitchen table with paper, glue and crayons, drawing festive images and sticking them to boxes that I had stored up over the year.

That was a very long time ago, but I can tell you that those small children (who are now middle-aged women) carry on the tradition with their own offspring. Such is the spirit of Christmas, with those incremental family activities becoming the fabric of the festive season.

Plastic chocolate moulds are readily available, as is the chocolate compound used to create professional looking confectionery, but I tend to use a recipe that can be hand rolled into balls then dipped in melted chocolate.

Today we are spoiled for choice when it comes to containers. I use noodle boxes, and there is no shortage of grandchild-helpers when it comes to decorating them.

There are two recipes today, one strictly an adult affair and the other ideal for little hands to make.

My mantra is keep it simple, have fun and don't be a perfectionist.

Chocolate covers a multitude of flaws. Save yourself from madness by purchasing a chocolate dipper. It costs only a couple of dollars and is worth every cent. Have a very happy chocolaty Christmas.

RUM AND RAISIN CHOCS (makes about 24)

1/3 cup cream

200g chopped dark eating chocolate

50g chopped raisins

1 Tbsp rum or brandy

250g dark eating chocolate

Method: Place cream and first measure of chocolate in a small saucepan.

Heat gently until the chocolate has melted. Remove from heat then stir in raisins and rum.

Refrigerate mixture until firm.

Melt second measure of chocolate in a bowl set over a simmering pan of water.

Scoop out small portions of cream and raisin mixture with a teaspoon. Dip in chocolate and set on a tray lined with baking paper.

Refrigerate until firm.

COCONUT BALLS (makes about 40)

2 cups icing sugar

4 cups desiccated coconut

1 tin standard condensed milk

1 bag of Melts (dark or milk)

Method: Sift icing sugar into a large bowl.

Add the coconut and condensed milk.

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Work mixture until ingredients are fully combined.

Place in fridge until mixture begins to firm (about 5 minutes).

With clean hands, pinch quantities of the mixture and roll into balls the size of a small walnut.

Place in fridge until cold and fully set.

Melt chocolate following instructions on bag.

Dip each ball in melted chocolate and set out on clean baking paper.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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