DIY-gifts - handmade chocolate for friends far away - Christmas Gifts

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handmade-chocolate-christmas XMAS CHALLENGE
Christmas Guide - Day 9: DIY Handmade Chocolate Treats For Your Global Family

My lovely friend Jana was one of the coolest fashion editors and stylists I've ever met: she rocked the pages with a brilliant mix of German coolness and the most lavish Russian chic. Relocated from Europe to the USA, she quickly established herself as a local insider's tip for sweet concoctions, her homemade chocolates having fashioned up many baby showers, bridal showers and themed parties in Chicago. 
Homemade chocolates - as a personal, self-made gift for Christmas - seemed the safest bet for even a beginner to try. I asked Jana for her tips and suggestions and this is what she came up with (I am so trying it!):

„Dear Nath,

You asked for some sweet inspiration and here is what’s on my mind…

Being a chocolate lover has eventually challenged me to create my own little treats to satisfy all aspects of my sweet addiction. It’s the unexpected combinations, the textures, and the richness of flavors that made me search for more. Living now in Chicago, there are many things that inspire me. However, most compliments I do get for those delicious round chocolate creations that look like pizzas (which by the way, Chicago’s cuisine is famous for), in miniature of course, and topped with anything that sounds yummy to me: dried banana or even crispy bacon… crunchy, fruity or salty – you name it!

Today I made some with rather traditional ingredients – and therefore perfect for Christmas. I combined sweet white chocolate with the tender saltiness of green pistachios, smooth milk chocolate with the light bitterness of red cranberries, drizzled with coconut, and ultimately dark chocolate with chewy dried apricots joining honey-glazed walnuts.

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How to make them? Very easy: handmade-friends-cookies

Get about 2 cups of chocolate morsels (available at the baking goods aisle) and melt them in a bowl - I use a microwave, but make sure you give it a good stir about every 10 seconds as the chocolate burns easily. Once molted and smooth, simply use a tablespoon to create little islands (about 8 cm/ 3 inches in diameter) on a baking sheet that’s lined with parchment paper and garnish immediately with your choice of topping. This way the good stuff sticks to the chocolate base. I make my own glazed walnuts simply with some honey on a hot pan, but you will certainly find all ingredients at a well-assorted grocery store. Placed in a refrigerator the goodies are ready to eat in about 10 to 15 minutes.
As a gift, they look best when stacked and tightly wrapped in cellophane candy bags (so the pieces won’t move and break), sealed with a pretty bow, and decorated with your very own personal message.

Which is from me to you: Enjoy – and Merry Christmas J


P.S. If your are planning on shipping chocolates, here is my tip: Winter is naturally a safe season to mail liquefiable goods without any meltdowns… but chill the chocolate before wrapping, use bubble wrap to cushion and insulate, as well as a bigger box (air is a great insulator) and make sure to tape all the seams of the box thoroughly. Good luck!“

—by Jana Sutherland, Chicago, IL

UPCOMING: Christmas Gifts
And up next - Day 10: Fashionable Gifts with a hint of Spanish flavour

Photos: Courtesy of Jana Sutherland

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