Saturday, 15 February 2014

FRUGAL VALENTINE'S GIFT!

Valentine's Day comes around quicker than ever and catches me out with not an idea in my head as to what to buy (make?) for my other half!
Chocolate is always a popular choice with us both, but in previous years, shop bought offerings have been a bit, well - mediocre. You know what I mean - a red or gold shiny box, a red bow, a red foil covered small, hollow heart inside that is made from 100g of cheap chocolate and all for around a fiver!
So, I racked my brains, looked at the confectionery aisle in my local supermarket and came up with this home-made offering!
This is a solid plain chocolate heart, measuring about 21cm (around 8") across, studded with Maltesers around the edge, a few chocolates in the middle, sprinkled with white and milk chocolate cake decorations and drizzled with the scrapings out of the bowl - yum! (and yes, I did leave myself some to lick out!).
The whole thing weighed in excess of 250g and my other half says it is delicious!
It takes:
150g plain chocolate for the base (use milk or white if your recipient prefers)
Around 20 Maltesers
Small bag of chocolates (mine were Thorntons, £1 from Asda - 9 in the bag but one shape was duplicated so I ate that with my coffee, all in the name of artistry!)
Small heart shaped cake decorations (had these in the cupboard left over from another recipe)
Here's how I did it:
Print out a heart from MS Word Autoshapes, cut it out and then cut round it on greaseproof paper or baking parchment. lay the heart shape on a tray. (You can skip this if you have a suitable heart shaped mould or cake tin).
Break up your base chocolate into squares and melt in a basin over a pan of hot water (I often use the microwave instead, but you must do it in small bursts or you can overcook it and ruin the chocolate).
When your base chocolate is melted and smooth, pour it onto your heart shape slowly- keep it mostly in the middle and spread out gently with a palette knife or back of a spoon to the edges of your heart shape. I thought it would run everywhere and all over the edges, but it was quite easy to control!
Gently press on your Maltesers, hearts and chocolates and then use a small spoon or piping bag to drizzle over the scrapings of chocolate from your bowl (give the bowl a quick burst in the microwave if the chocolate's cooled).
Leave in the fridge to cool completely, peel off the backing paper, wrap in cling film (or shiny cellophane if you have it - I only had Christmas stuff with snow flakes on it!), trim with a red ribbon (mine came off a Christmas card!) and you're done!
Of course, you can choose your own combination of chocolate, decoration and size of heart, too. Mine cost £3.50 (excluding the tiny hearts I already had) and all ingredients were from Asda (including Asda's own plain chocolate which we know is good, as we use it for Rocky Road!) - but it is really huge and heavy. Slightly smaller and it would still be great!
Happy Frugal Valentine's Day!

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