Homemade Chocolate Treats You Can Give With Pride
If your gift giving is starting to get frustrating, especially those ‘little’ gifts for people like teachers, coaches, neighbors, the person who shovels your driveway, the babysitter, etc. etc. etc., I have a gift idea that has never failed me. Chocolate!
I’m not talking about an expensive box of chocolates, or even an inexpensive box of chocolates. I’m talking about something you create yourself. Yes, it’s easier than you think and you can personalize the gift to the recipient.
Here is what you need to know to make delicious chocolate treats that will be tasty, pretty, and very much appreciated.
Choose the Chocolate
To begin, if you want good taste without a whole lot of fuss, you need to buy some decent chocolate coating for melting. This is the stuff that’s in the chunks broken off of a big block that you’ll find in the baking aisle. Be sure the label says “chocolate coating” or something to that effect. You don’t want to use Real Chocolate because you will have a time trying to melt it just right, and real chocolate has a tendency to get a powdery white look or some disturbing white swirls through it and can end up with a dull surface instead of a shiny one if it’s not done right. This is something you don’t need to mess with. Buy chocolate coating and you’ll be fine. If you want to tackle melting real chocolate, save it for another time when you’re not up against a time clock.
Choose the Ingredients
Purchase an assortment of items that you would like to eat dipped in chocolate. For instance, pretzels in any shape, Oreos, Animal Crackers, or other cookies, salted peanuts, cashews, and pecans. You might also like to try making “Haystacks” out of coconut or chinese noodles. Both are very fun. Chocolate dipped marshmallows are a treat for a hot cocoa fanatic. Just look around and see what looks good.
Easy Melting Instructions
To melt your chocolate, cut the chunks up into smaller pieces. Put your pieces into a small, heavy saucepan that will fit inside another larger saucepan. Fill the larger pan with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and set the smaller pan inside the larger one being very careful not to slosh any boiling water over the edge and into the smaller pan. With a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon start stirring the chocolate and continue stirring until all the pieces are melted.
How to Put it All Together
- Nut Clusters – Put the nuts into individual bowls and working quickly pour just enough chocolate over the nuts just to coat them. Stir until completely coated and drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Put in cold area of the house to set up. The freezer or refrigerator is okay, but don’t let them stay in there for more than a few minutes.
- Haystacks – Follow the same procedure for your coconut and chinese noodle Haystacks, working quickly in small batches so the chocolate doesn’t set up before you get a chance to drop them onto a cookie sheet. Again, drop the Haystacks onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, but be sure to drop a large “stack” piled high to resemble an actual haystack. Cool as you did the nuts.
- Pretzels and Cookies – Other items like pretzels and Oreos or other cookies will need to be hand dipped. Just dip them as you wish into chocolate poured into a deep bowl, remove and lay on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. I don’t dip my pretzels or cookies into the pan I melted the chocolate in because you’re bound to lose a few chunks of the pretzel or cookie and then you’ll have to fish it out before you use the chocolate for anything else. Cool as you would the other items.
No matter which chocolate treat you make, I recommend starting with one thing in a small batch until you get used to how fast the chocolate firms up in the pan. You can always reheat the chocolate if you get to the point where you need to stop and start up again later.
Wrap it Up!
Once you have your bounty of chocolate goodies, you can arrange an assortment in small boxes or tins, packed neatly with parchment paper all around, and tie it up in a colorful ribbon. Include on your gift tag that this gift is perishable and should be kept cool.
Now, who wouldn’t like to see what’s inside THAT gift box!
Would you like to steer clear of the holiday shopping crowds? You can with this guide to Homemade Christmas Gifts and More.
Making Homemade Christmas gifts is one way to actually enjoy the process of gift-giving. Not only are homemade gifts and decorations frugal, they’re more fun!
We don’t have to rush out to the mall to shop for Christmas when we have ideas for creating gifts right at home. Take time to enjoy your holiday season. Click on and download now to start planning your frugal AND fun Christmas.
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