Christmas is synonymous with chocolate, at least in the Cosy Home house! Even if you abstain throughout the rest of the year, most of us allow ourselves at least the odd rummage through the selection box during the festive season. That’s why we were pleased to look at a couple of new ideas from chocolate gurus Thorntons at the most chocolatey time of the year. Rolling up her sleeves and getting covered in chocolate was Sara Walker.
A box of chocolates is always a useful thing to have in – it makes a great impromptu present, ends off a dinner party nicely and comes into its own to partner a soppy Christmas movie. Thorntons can always be relied upon for a good festive offering, but I wanted to see just now versatile these traditional treats could be.
New from Thorntons for 2019 is the Cheeky Elf bar, 29g of milk chocolate with a toffee flavour in the shape of an elf, retailing at RRP £0.75. A Thorntons classic is their Continental Winter Market Box, 273g for RRP £9.68. Armed with both, I set out to see how useful they’d be to have in the cupboard over Christmas.
Sticky toffee chocolate cakes with Thorntons Cheeky Elf chocolate
First up were the Elf bars. Not everyone likes traditional Christmas cakes or mince pies, which can be heavy, so I decided to rustle up some little chocolate muffins using the toffee chocolate. These will freeze well (without the decoration) and can be brought out as you need them. The toffee flavour is very subtle in the finished cakes but is definitely there! These bars are the perfect consistency for baking with as they’re nice and soft to cut up. To make around 8 to 10 cakes, you’ll need:
- 2 Elf Self-Treat bars
- 120g butter or margarine
- 120g dark brown sugar
- 120g dates, cut into small pieces
- 2 freerange eggs
- 90g self raising flour
- 30g cocoa powder
- Christmas icing shapes, to decorate
How to make chocolate muffins
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
- Beat together the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs, then add the flour and cocoa. Mix to a smooth batter and then add the dates and chopped chocolate. Mix to combine.
- Spoon into paper muffin cases, and bake for around 12 to 15 minutes until well risen and firm in the middle. Put on a baking rack and allow to cool a little.
- Melt the remaining chocolate, and spoon a little onto the top of each cake. Add a Christmas sugar decoration.
Once baked, here’s what they look like!
Festive placeholders with Thorntons Continental chocolates
This one is a little fiddly, but you could make it much simpler and quicker by only using the bought icing shapes.
- A selection of Thorntons Continental chocolates
- Marzipan or fondant icing
- Food colouring
- Sugar decorations
- Melted chocolate
What to do:
- Manage to salvage the remaining chocolates in the box before your husband eats them, despite you screeching “Don’t eat all the review samples!” at the top of your voice.
- Select the number of chocolates you want – this works best with the simpler shapes.
- To make the wreath chocolate, brush a little melted chocolate onto the Thorntons chocolate and add bought sugar shapes. To make the snowman, I made the scarf out of marzipan as I don’t like fondant icing, then painted it with food colouring. Do remember that if you use marzipan you’re adding nuts to the original recipe, though! For Santa and the Christmas pudding chocolates, I made the decorations in the same way and painted them.
- Use as placeholders on the Christmas table, or pass them round at the end of the meal.
Thorntons chocolates are available in a wide range of supermarkets, online or from their own shops. www.thorntons.co.uk.
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