Beautiful, decorative, and very seasonal, these festive chocolate trees are fabulous and easy homemade gifts that everyone will appreciate.
Kipper has four teachers at pre-school. It occurred to me that we probably ought to give each of them a Christmas gift at the end of term. And for whatever insane reason (because really, I have LOADS of time on my hands) I decided the gifts should be homemade.
There was a brief moment when I thought that DH and Kipper might run up some wooden reindeer on the bandsaw. We have a whole family of these that they have made on various quiet weekends – not sure why reindeer is the animal of choice, but that’s how it is. But there was no time to start getting out big machinery, hence, gift manufacture fell to me.
All bark, no bite
Initially, I thought we could spread out some melted chocolate on a parchment-lined tray, Kipper could sprinkle it with goodies, then when it was set we could break it into chunks and put it in a fancy bag with a ribbon. Voila! Fancy chocolate bark!
But not fancy enough, apparently. OK then, dollop circles of chocolate, Kipper sprinkles them with goodies, put them in bags etc etc. Voila! Mendiants!
Late night inspiration
But you know how it is. You’re browsing fancy chocolatiers’ websites late at night, and you catch sight of some sort of layered chocolate confection in the form of a decorated Christmas tree, and you think, $30?! For that?! It’s just decorated discs of chocolate, stacked up…
Next thing you know, you’re up to your elbows in melted chocolate and Kipper is getting high on multi-coloured sprinkles…
Easy to make – and fun!
These were, actually, ridiculously easy to make. The main problems I had were a) preventing Kipper from eating all the goodies before they made it onto the chocolate discs, and b) encouraging her to sprinkle stuff a bit more quickly (rather than hand place every individual sprinkle) so that the chocolate wouldn’t set completely before they were decorated. If you’re doing these without the help of a child, you can whizz through in a matter of minutes.
I did wait till she’d gone to bed to assemble them into trees though. I’m not totally mental.
I hope you agree that these chocolate Christmas trees look the business, and not just for ‘homemade gifts’ either. I’m super-chuffed with these. I think Kipper’s teachers were pretty pleased with them too!
This made four small and very festive chocolate trees.
Oh, don’t be put off by the lengthy list of ingredients and instructions – these are really VERY easy to make.
Festive chocolate trees
- 300 g dark chocolate
- 1 tbsp soft butter
- 1-2 tbsp each of the following (or whatever else you fancy)
- - raisins/sultanas
- - dried cranberries
- - glace cherries, halved
- - pine nuts
- - flaked almonds
- - cocoa nibs
- - multi-coloured sprinkles
- - 'gingerbread men' sprinkles
- 109 g pouch of Cadbury's twirl bites (or similar chunk-o-chocolate style confectionary)
- Edible lustre powder (optional)
Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. On the back of the paper, draw four each of four sizes of circle - I used my round cutters as templates. The largest should be 9-10cm, the smallest about 4-5cm. (16 circles in total.)
Break up the chocolate into a microwaveable bowl, and heat on medium for a minute at a time, stirring well each time. When the chocolate is mostly melted, remove from the microwave and add the butter. Mix well until there are no lumps left in the mixture.
Dollop the chocolate onto the greaseproof paper and spread to fill the marked circles. I used about 3 tbsp of chocolate in the large circles, and progressively less in the smaller circles. Place a twirl bite in the centre of each circle.
Finally, make four 2-3cm circles by dolloping teaspoonfuls of chocolate onto the paper - these are the tops of your trees.
Now, get decorating! Sprinkle your toppings over the chocolate circles. Go wild!
Place the decorated chocolate discs into the fridge to set.
To assemble the trees
Melt 1-2 tbsp of the twirl bites in a small bowl. Place a blob of the melted twirl onto the twirl bite in the centre of one of the largest size circles. Carefully position the next size circle on top and leave for a minute to firm up slightly. Continue to build the tree, adding melted twirl and another circle, until you reach the top.
Repeat with the remaining circles to make four trees.
Lightly dust with lustre powder, then return to the fridge to fully set.
You will probably have some twirl bites leftover. Enjoy!
If you like these, why not check out my list of gorgeous homemade gift ideas for more inspiration!
One last thing. I was going to use Rolos for the trunks, until I realised that they’re made by Nestle. You can read why I don’t buy Nestle products here.
I’m sharing these yummy chocolate trees in these places:
Treat Petite, which has a Christmas theme this month, and is organised by Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer (who is also hosting this month).
Cook, Blog, Share, organised by Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.
And Family Foodies, organised by Vanesther at Bangers & Mash and Lou at Eat Your Veg, which is after recipes for festive food. Yum.