A homemade present is always thoughtful, and few homemade presents go down as well as a box of sweets. These recipes involve little or no cooking, and are straightforward even for kitchen novices.
The secret to these rich, velvety sweets is to use the best quality chocolate you can find.
- 1 cup (225g or 8oz) good quality plain chocolate, broken into pieces
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/8 cup (25g or 1 oz) butter
- 1 tablespoon rum, cointreau or brandy (optional)
- 1 tablespoon cream
- Paper sweet cases
- Cocoa, for dusting
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of water on a low heat. Keep stirring the chocolate so that it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the bowl and burn.
- Add the eggs, butter, alcohol (if using), and cream.
- Keep stirring until the mixture has thickened sufficiently to be handled.
- Roll the mixture into small balls using your hands, then roll the balls in cocoa. (Tip – if the mixture is sticking to your fingers, dip your fingers into the cocoa every so often).
- Leave until completely cold, then put into the cases.
The truffles should be kept refrigerated due to their fresh ingredients, and should keep for up to two weeks.
No-Cook Coconut Ice
These melt-in-the-mouth sweets are traditionally coloured white and pink, but let your imagination run wild for Christmas!
- 1 ½ cups (12 oz or 340g) desiccated coconut
- 1 ½ cups (12 oz or 340g) icing sugar
- 1 standard (400g) tin of condensed milk
- Food colouring of your choice
You will also need an eight inch tin or shallow dish, lined with clingfilm
- Put the coconut, sugar and milk into a large bowl, and work the mixture together until it makes a firm dough.
- Divide the mixture into two roughly equal portions and put a few drops of food colouring into one portion, working the mixture well until it’s all absorbed.
- Press the coloured portion of the mixture into the prepared tin, pressing it down well into the edges.
- Add the white mixture on top, again pressing it down well so that it covers the coloured mixture.
- Leave the tin in a cool place for a few hours until the coconut ice is set (it should be solid to the touch).
- Turn out, remove the clingfilm and carefully cut into pieces.
- These do not need to be refrigerated as the sugar acts as a natural preservative. They will last about four weeks if stored in a cool dry place.
Pack the sweets into gift bags or boxes, and tie with pretty ribbons.