Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chocolate Covered Gifts

I trust that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that if you were hosting the meal that all went smoothly. If it didn't, that is alright. Chalk it up to a memorable holiday and learning experience. This is is the third year we have hosted Thanksgiving. I think this is the first time I can truly say that it all went right (even the gravy!) and I wasn't completely stressed by the time the food hit the table. 

With Thanksgiving past, we are full swing into the Christmas season. It is time to pick back up on the series begun well before Thanksgiving, edible Christmas presents. In case you missed the previous posts, they were This Season's Bounty, Next Season's Gifts, Quick Breads, and For Coffee Lovers. This week I am sharing one of my favorite holiday projects, making chocolate candy. 

Making chocolate covered candy can be extremely simple or a little more involved depending on what you are making. If you are new to this, start simple with items like pretzels, nuts, or coffee beans. First, start with good chocolate. Chocolate chips do not work as well as chocolate specifically for candy making. Coating chocolate is sometimes available in large blocks, but more commonly sold in wafers. You can find it in bulk food stores, craft stores, and party stores. This is one of the few times that I recommend a specific brand. Merckens is the best.
Coating chocolate comes in a wide variety of colors and flavors. I mainly stick with dark, milk chocolate and white chocolate. The other varieties are good to add color, but tend to taste waxy. 

It is best to use a double boiler to melt the chocolate. If you use a microwave to melt chocolate be careful. Chocolate burns very easily. Microwave in 30-45 second increments, and stir between each heating. Avoid getting any water in the chocolate. 

Once the chocolate is melted it is time for the fun part, dipping. Do all your dipping first. Dip items like pretzels, animal crackers, marshmallows, peanut butter balls (18 oz peanut butter mixed with 1 pound powdered sugar,) or other favorites. Forks, tongs, and chopsticks make great dipping tools, but you can buy tools specially made for the job. Dip the item into the chocolate, tap off any excess chocolate, and lay the item on wax paper to dry. 

Once the item is dry drizzle melted colored chocolate over it to add decoration. Another favorite here it to dip pretzel rod about 3/4 in chocolate, tap off the excess, allow to cool slightly and the roll in sprinkles before the chocolate is set. 

After you have dipped all you can, there will still be quite a bit of chocolate left. Make clusters with the remaining chocolate. Into your bowl or double boiler put nuts, rice crisps, raisins, or a mixture of items. Stir until everything is coated and drop by the spoonful onto wax paper. 

Chocolate covered candies make a great small gift by themselves. Simply place in a pretty bag and tie a bow on. They are a great addition to goody trays or gift baskets of homemade goods. The possibilities are endless, and delicious. 

For more chocolate covered ideas: Easy Chocolate Christmas Candy

Photo credit: Hilary 74


  1. Another thought for leftover dipping "chocolate" - I dip the pretzel rods in white chocolate, and then with the leftover stuff, I add a little peppermint extract and crushed peppermints, stir it together, and then spread it on waxed paper to cool. Break apart for yummy peppermint bark - people love it on their Christmas goodie trays!!

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