If your heart sinks at the thought of making a dessert but sings at the sight of chocolate this could be one for you. A chocolate cheese board is a selection of chocolate elements that are served together, eaten in thin slices, or thick ones if you fancy a gorge, and can be put away and taken out again and again when visitors arrive. The recipes are simple but do need a bit of prep. They can be made with children as a bit of festive fun. It will mean a lot of gooey fingers and I suspect a fair amount of licking. Switch from plain to white to milk chocolate as the fancy takes you, use nuts and dried fruit from the cupboard and have fun.
Chocolate Stars and discs are easy to make, if you can melt chocolate you can make these. I used a star shaped cutter to draw round for the shape but they don’t have to be perfect and a circular cutter for the others. When you draw the shapes take into account how much chocolate you want to eat and choose a cutter size accordingly. After drawing the shapes onto baking parchment turn the paper over, you’ll still see the shapes through the paper and blob chocolate into the centre of the shapes. Use a cocktail stick to ease the chocolate into the points of the star. Don’t worry if it goes over the lines, this is hand made, not factory made and a wobble or two is very charming.
Chocolate Stars And Discs
- 300g good quality milk Chocolate (or dark if you prefer)
- 300g good quality vanilla white chocolate
- A selection of chopped nuts and dried fruit to sprinkle
- Using star shaped and circular shaped cookie cutters, or cut the shape from a piece of cardboard, draw around them, making a total of 20 shapes onto a piece of baking parchment.
- The chocolate will make at least 10 shapes in each colour depending on how thick you make the chocolate when you form the shapes.
- Break the milk chocolate into a bowl and melt using the microwave in 30 second bursts until it's smooth.
- Once the chocolate has melted turn over the parchment so that you can see the outlines through the paper. You don’t want to get pen on the chocolate.
- Using a teaspoon spoon some of the chocolate onto the first shape and coax it in to the shape on the paper with a cocktail stick.
- Add more chocolate a bit at a time until the star shape is formed. Don't worry if the shape is a little wonky it adds to the charm.
- Sprinkle with chopped nuts and fruit.
- Decorate the stars and discs and repeat.
- Repeat the entire process with the white chocolate.
Chocolate covered marzipan sticks, are simply bought marzipan cut into 1/2 centimetre sticks, coat with melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts. The choice is yours, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, raisins, cranberries the options are endless.
- 225g white marzipan cut into ½ cm slices and each slice cut in 3 sticks
- 100g milk chocolate
- 100g white chocolate
- 20g flaked almonds
- 20g chopped hazlenuts
- On a piece of parchment lay out the sticks of marzipan
- Break the chocolate into small pieces and put the white chocolate in one bowl and the milk chocolate in the other.
- Microwave the chocolate in 30 second intervals until it's smooth.
- Spoon the chocolate over the marzipan using a teaspoon and then sprinkle with the nuts.
- Put to one side until set.
Coconut and chocolate covered Beijinhos These are sweet and delicious, made from condensed milk and for the chocolate ones I added a good quality cocoa. Then its a matter of just rolling in your palms and dipping in either desiccated coconut or chocolate strands.
Coconut And Chocolate Beijinhos
- 1 can 379g condensed milk
- 30g unsalted butter
- 1 pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp good quality cocoa
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 50g chocolate strands
- Put the condensed milk into a pan with the butter over a moderate heat and stir constantly until the mixture begins pulling away from the edges of the pan.
- Pour the mixture onto two side plates, half on each plate.
- Using a tea strainer sift the cocoa onto one of the plates and stir through until it's well combined.
- Let the 2 mixtures cool slightly and then with oiled hands take a tea spoon of the mixture and roll into a bal. Then dip the chocolate bals into the chocolate strands and the white balls into the coconut and cover completely.
- Set aside on a board or place in mini cup cake papers.
The centre piece of the Chocolate cheese board is the chocolate salami, a wonderful mix of amaretti biscuits, amaretto and your choice of nuts and fruit. Rolled into a log and left over night, a dusting of icing sugar and you have the illusion of a salami.
I used Nigella’s recipe for Chocolate Salami, full of amaretti biscuits and amaretto liqueur and nuts, I added cranberries to make it more Christmassy.