Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Recipes

Homemade festive treats for your little cooks to make (and enjoy)

Roasted hazelnut and coffee bark

Festive food: Rachel Allen with some of her Christmas treats
Festive food: Rachel Allen with some of her Christmas treats
Rudolph chocolate bark
Festive white chocolate hearts

I adore receiving edible gifts. German Christmas cookies, little mince pies, squares of fudge, mini chocolate brownies, jams, preserves - bring them on!

This week, though, I'm focusing on the really simple edible gifts that are great for children to make, too. Quick to rustle up, fun to look at - and receive - and delicious to munch on.

These three recipes are all based on chocolate, and can be put into little bags to give away - if you can bear it. The Rudolph chocolate bark is a cute idea that little hands will have great fun creating.

The festive white chocolate hearts are so sweet - look out for the candy canes coming into the shops at this time of the year, and if you can get the small ones, then half the job is done.

If you can only find the large ones, then you might need to cut half of the length off the bottom to make the little hearts.

And if you're looking for a more grown-up edible pressie, then I recommend the roasted hazelnut and coffee bark.

Feel free to switch it up and replace the hazelnuts, coffee and sea salt with everything from dried cranberries, sour cherries and pistachios, to roasted almonds, chopped candied peel and crystallised ginger.

Just let your festive creative juices flow.

Rudolph chocolate bark

2019-12-04_lif_55368648_I2.JPG
Rudolph chocolate bark
 

What you'll need:

  • 200g dark or milk chocolate
  • About 30 mini pretzels
  • 10 red Smarties or M&Ms
  • 10 mini marshmallows cut in half
  • Black food gel or food colouring.
  • One tablespoon of desiccated coconut

Method

1. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a flat tray or baking tray.

2. Chop up, or break into pieces, the dark or milk chocolate, whichever you're using. Put 150g of the chocolate in a bowl (I use a Pyrex bowl) and sit it over a saucepan of cold water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.

Turn on the heat under the saucepan and bring the water to the boil. Turn off the heat immediately, and allow the chocolate to melt gently. Once it has melted, stir in the remaining 50g of chocolate pieces. Adding in the extra chocolate at the end will give your chocolate a good sheen and a nice crisp snap.

3. Once all the chocolate has melted, pour it out onto the parchment paper-lined tray, swirling the tray so that the chocolate is about 5mm thick. Give the tray a good hard tap or two on the counter to smooth the top and get rid of any air bubbles.

4. Using a sharp knife, cut the mini pretzels into pieces to make antlers - you'll need more than you might think, so you can choose the ones with the best antler shape.

Arrange the antlers on the chocolate, as pictured (above), then place a red Smartie or M&M as the nose of each reindeer, making sure to leave space for the eyes.

5. Place the halved mini marshmallows in the spaces for Rudolph's eyes. If you prefer, you can use small white chocolate drops or round white sweets as the eyes instead of the mini marshmallows.

6. To simulate the reindeers' pupils, use a cocktail stick or a teaspoon to add a drop of black food colouring to the centre of the halved marshmallows. Scatter the desiccated coconut to simulate the snow.

7. Set the tray aside somewhere cool to allow the chocolate to set.

8. Once it has set, break or cut the chocolate bark into pieces so that each piece has at least one Rudolph on it.

MAKES ABOUT 10

Festive white chocolate hearts

2019-12-04_lif_55368643_I3.JPG
Festive white chocolate hearts
 

What you'll need:

  • 20 small candy canes
  • 200g white chocolate
  • Sprinkles

Method

1. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a flat tray or a baking tray.

Arrange the candy canes on the lined tray, using two canes to form each heart.

2. Chop the white chocolate, or break it into pieces. Place 150g of chocolate in the bowl (I use a Pyrex bowl) and sit the bowl over a saucepan of cold water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.

Turn on the heat under the saucepan and bring it to the boil. Turn off the heat immediately and allow the chocolate to melt gently.

Once it has melted, stir in the remaining 50g of small chocolate pieces. Adding in the extra chocolate at the end will give your chocolate a good sheen and a nice crisp snap.

3. Once the chocolate has melted, spoon it into the candy cane hearts to fill the heart shape completely.

Give the tray a light tap on the counter to smooth out the surface of the chocolate.

4. While the chocolate is still melted, scatter over the sprinkles, then place the tray somewhere cool to allow the chocolate to set.

MAKES 10

Roasted hazelnut and coffee bark

What you'll need:

  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 15g coffee beans
  • 200g dark chocolate or white chocolate
  • A pinch of sea salt flakes

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a flat tray or a baking tray.

2. Put the hazelnuts on the lined tray and roast them for about 10-15 minutes until they are browned (the skins should look nearly burnt). Tip the hazelnuts onto a clean tea towel and rub them vigorously to remove the skins. Discard the skins and coarsely chop the nuts.

3. While the hazelnuts are roasting, put the coffee beans in a dry frying pan over a medium-to-high heat.

Cook them for 1-2 minutes, until they are fragrant, tossing them regularly. Use a rolling pin or a pestle and mortar to lightly crush the coffee beans.

4. Chop the dark or white chocolate, whichever you're using, or break it into pieces.

Place 150g of the chocolate in a bowl (I use a Pyrex bowl) and sit the bowl over a saucepan of cold water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.

Turn on the heat under the saucepan and bring it to the boil. Turn off the heat immediately, and allow the chocolate to melt gently.

Once it has melted, stir in the remaining 50g of small chocolate pieces.

This process of adding in the extra chocolate at the end will give your chocolate a good sheen and a nice crisp snap.

5. Once all the chocolate has melted, pour it out onto the parchment paper, swirling the tray so that the chocolate is about 5mm thick.

Give the tray a good hard tap or two on the counter to smooth the top and get rid of any air bubbles.

6. Scatter the chopped roasted hazelnuts and the coarsely crushed coffee beans evenly over the surface of the chocolate, then scatter the sea salt flakes over the top.

7. Leave the chocolate bark somewhere cool to set, then break it into rough pieces.

MAKES ABOUT 10

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph