Tonight I am going to a house-warming party at the house of a dear friend. She has moved into my area from away and it's lovely to have her so close again (we lived in the same town a good few years ago).
I'm going to make a bowl - plate of something for all to share which is how we do these things, but I also want to take them a small gift to say welcome to the area !
I have decided to make my homemade Belgian chocolates, as they seem to always disappear fast and they look real cute when decorated and packaged...
Here what I am using today, although this varies hugely depending what's in my cupboard at the time -
Homemade Belgian Chocolates
Callebaut Belgian milk chocolate drops (brought from Belgium courtesy of Ryan Air by more dear friends of mine as they know I'm a devil for making chocolates!)
Hazelnuts (gathered locally last winter)
Dried Apricots (cut in half lengthwise)
Marzipan (rolled into balls and squashed flat to make circles)
Almond slithers (sliced almonds)
1. First melt as much chocolate as required in a glass bowl sat over a small saucepan of boiling water. Be very careful not to get a single drop of water in the chocolate as this will turn it hard and lumpy.
2. Remove the glass bowl from the saucepan.
3. Using 2 forks coat the various nuts, cherries, apricots and marzipan with the chocolate. This is most efficient on chocolate if you pass the coated nut from 1 fork to the other, letting the real excess chocolate drip off.
4. Place each chocolate straight onto a tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper on it.
5. I put an almond slither on the marzipan chocolates and a pine nut on the apricot halves.
6. Place the tray of wet chocolates in a cool dry place, and let them dry and set naturally. This usually takes 2 or 3 hours. You will know when they are dry and the shine disappears.
7. When they are set you can package them as you wise. Sometimes if I make a large tray full for a party etc, I simply use a very elegant tray and place several doilies on it. Put the chocs on top and sprinkle lightly first with cocoa powder and then with icing sugar. Et voila !
Alternately you can put them carefully in pretty boxes and tie with ribbons etc for gifts.