December - "Christmas month" is such a delight as I feel it is the best way to celebrate winter, the snow, the icy cold winds, short days, the slush on the roads and everything else that comes along with the winter season ...:)
It is the season when shopping is at full swing for gifts, food and decorations..:)
After coming to UK, I have learnt to celebrate and be a part of this joyful day. Just like Deepavali or Pongal, the real joy lies in the preparatory days where everything is buzzing with the aroma of wonderful food, colour and glitter. All the shops do their best in tempting the shoppers to buy more and more.
Sometimes I get caught in the shopping frenzy and just go crazy....:) Hey, I am a "FEMALE" for god's sake and I do have the right to shop till my toes bleed from walking around the shops.. I am sure you guys will agree with me..;)
Even though I enjoy buying gifts for friends and work colleagues, I have resorted to home made "Edible Gifts" since last year. It is so easy, can be made in big batches, tailor made to individual needs, very cost effective and the satisfaction of making something yourself .... well, it is immense..:)
I am not a big fan of chocolate [weird, isn't it !!!] but I do have an occasional bite of chocolate cake. My daughter does like chocolate and she loves Nutella. I always have a small jar in the cupboard for the busy mornings and it is such a life saver. Having said that , I am quite wary of giving something store-brought to my daughter all the time. Even though it is Nutella, I reserve it only for emergencies.
I caught hold of the recipe from one of my cookbook and it is a very easy one. I know exactly what goes in and how much of each ingredient into the recipe, so I am at peace knowing she is having something that is home-made and not laden with sugar, butter or preservatives.
This easily converts into edible gift for Christmas. All you need to do is prepare the spread, sterilise the glass jars and store the spread just a couple of days before Christmas. This keeps very well for 10 days in the fridge..:)
To sterilise the jars: Be very careful when handling the jars as they will be very hot..
Wash the jars in the dishwasher or hot soapy water and dry them on the lowest setting in the oven for 15 minutes. The other method is to fill the jars 1/4 with water. Place them in the microwave and microwave on high [850-900 watt] for 5 minutes. The water has to boil. Use oven gloves to remove the jars, pour out the water and drain them on kitchen paper.
Fill the chocolate spread while the jars are warm and close the lid tightly.
For the spread: For one 13 ounce jar - Please make sure that the hazelnuts are very fresh, otherwise you would end up with a spread which tastes and smells stale.
Dark chocolate: 175 gms.
Milk chocolate: 175 gms.
Hazel nuts [skinless]: 75 gms
Vegetable oil: 1 1/2 tbsp.
Golden caster sugar: 1 tbsp.
Cocoa powder: 1 tbsp.
Vanilla extract: 1/2 ts
1. Melt the chocolate by "Double Boiling " method . Keep warm.
2.Grind the hazelnuts to a fine powder. It will almost become a paste. Add the oil, sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract and whiz again.
3.Add this mixture to the melted chocolate and mix well.
4.Alternatively, you can add the melted chocolate into the mixer and whiz again to blend.
5.The resulting paste should be warm and slightly runny.
6.Fill the warm sterilised jars with the warm spread and seal tightly.
Note: The pancakes in the pics are store brought. If placing the spread in the fridge,just microwave the required amount in the microwave for 10-12 secs to bring it to room temperature.
I like a grainy texture, so I don't blend the mixture to a very smooth paste. This again depends on your preference.
You can make the spread with just plain dark or milk chocolate alone. You can increase the sugar added to 2 tbsp according to your need.
Scribbled by Reva