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Last minute Christmas presents should be last minute for a reason - they need to be made as close to the time they're given to the recipients as possible. So today was Snowman Soup and Chocolate Truffles day, as some of the gifts need to go away tomorrow.
Frugaldom Snowman Soup
Instant hot chocolate - 63p
Maltesers - 2 lge bags for £1.50
Marshmallows - 3 bags @ 79p = £2.27
Candy Canes - £1
Cellophane bags - £1.80/dozen (check out eBay)
Total cost - £7.20/dozen
Cost each - £0.60p
Labels were from a 50p per 48 pack I had in stock, ties were recycled ribbons and wire ties that come with sandwich or freezer bags. Everyone has them somewhere in their kitchen drawers or cupboards. Your snowman soup could be packed in fancy mugs but I prefer to use the bags.
Luxury handmade chocolate truffles.
150g milk chocolate
3 tablespoons whisky cream liqueur
5 level tablespoons icing sugar (sieved)
100g plain chocolate (for coating)
icing sugar and cocoa powder
Melt the 150g milk chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water
Mix the whisky cream liqueur with 3 tablespoons of icing sugar until smooth then add to the melted chocolate - blend carefully then allow to cool, covered, in the fridge.
This is sufficient for 20 truffles.
Melt your 100g of plain chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water
Sieve a level tablespoon of icing sugar and a level tablespoon of cocoa powder together into a second bowl.
Remove fondant from fridge and split into 20 equal pieces, rolling each piece into a ball
Dip each ball into the melted chocolate then drop it into the bowl of cocoa/icing sugar mix
Swirl it round until covered
Remove and sit on a tray or plate
Once you have rolled, dipped and coated each of the 20 truffles, set them on a flat tray and sieve a little icing sugar over the top.
Leave in a cool, dry place for the chocolate coating to harden.
These smell absolutely delicious, they taste even better!
You can mix and match with the chocolate, especially handy when store's own basic brands are only 30p per 100g for white, plain and dark chocolate. I'm going to make some dark chocolate truffle with white chocolate coating tomorrow. It's like having Thornton's in your own kitchen, only without the expense of importing the finest chocolate.
Have fun mixing and matching. You can make your own liqueuer flavours by adding 4 teaspoons of your favourite tipple (spirits or liqueurs) to 2 tablespoons of milk or cream.
Handmade truffles are expensive to buy in specialist confectionery shops, so a small, decorated box or cellophane bag with 4 truffles tied up with ribbon makes a beautiful gift, especially if you personalise the packaging. That's five very special gifts that are guaranteed to impress the recipients of such luxury gifts. And all for a very frugal price.
NB: I find that the most important rule in producing handmade chocolates or truffles is... never be afraid of making a chocolatey mess in your kitchen. It cleans easily, so why worry about it, just ENJOY the experience! (Trust me, it's an experience.)