CHOCOLATESThe Minimal Waste Mum has provided her low waste DIY gift ideas for that someone special in your life.

These instructions give you a step-by-step guide to making your own chocolate box without making too much waste!

In every box of chocolates, there’s always one or two that no-one particularly cares for. Dark chocolate/mint, the ones with brightly coloured liquid centres, or a choc-nut that is 99% chocolate, 1% nut. Avoid disappointment and maximise enjoyment by making a personalised box of chocolates filled with your favourite goodies at a perfect ratio!

Pro tip #1: If attempting this one with children, be prepared for a lot of mess, cross contamination of ingredients, fingers in mouths (though, I doubt even the grown-ups could get through this activity without at least one lick of the fingers) and then, depending on the edible ingredients you’ve used, the inevitable sugar-fuelled craziness that ensues. Perhaps best done on a beautiful sunny day where they can go and run it off outside!

You’ll need (aside from a lot of patience):

Materials:

  • A bowl to heat the chocolate in (glass or ceramic is best)
  • Spoon for stirring and scooping
  • An ice block tray, silicon moulds or flat tray lined with baking paper.

Ingredients

  • Plain chocolate to melt (milk, white, dark, mylk – your choice)
  • Goodies to add. You could use nuts (chopped or whole), coconut, dried fruit, marshmallows, honeycomb pieces, sprinkles, coffee beans, pretzels, jelly lollies – there are endless options and combinations. See what’s in your pantry already and be creative!

Method:

First, prepare the goodies that you’ll be adding and set out on a board, plate or tray.

Set up the tray of goodies at one end of a clear space at your bench or on a table. Put the chocolate moulds or ice cube trays at the other end. Leave a small space in the middle for the bowl of melted chocolate.

If you are using a block of chocolate, chop into small pieces first to make melting a bit easier/faster. To melt the chocolate, options are:

  • microwave on low power for 20 seconds, stir and repeat until most of the chocolate is melted then stir well until it is all a smooth consistency
  • place the bowl of chocolate pieces inside a slightly larger bowl. Carefully pour boiling water down the side of the larger bowl (take care not to get water in the chocolate bowl). Stir gently as the sides of the bowl heat up and the chocolate melts.

Here’s where the fun starts!

To make *chocolate coated goodies* (such as almonds or pretzels), dip the almond or pretzel into the bowl of melted chocolate. Swirl it around to catch any drips and place it onto the tray lined with baking paper.

To make *chocolate and goodie bites* (using coconut, almonds or sprinkles), mix the goodies and chocolate together, and spoon dollops onto the tray lined with baking paper.

To make *chocolate surprises* (chocolate with a goodie hidden inside), spoon some chocolate into one of the moulds, drop in the surprise (for example a small nut like hazelnut, sultana or other dried fruit, a marshmallow or a sprinkling of coconut) then fill the rest with the melted chocolate.

Once you’ve used up all of the melted chocolate –

Pop the tray into the fridge. While you wait for the chocolate to set, get started on the cleaning up.

Pro tip #2: to avoid any food waste, use a spoon (or your finger) to scrape out the last of the melted chocolate and eat up any leftover goodies. That will make it easier to wash the dishes, too.

Once the chocolates are set, transfer into a container. Resist eating them now if you’re saving them for a gift, in fact, pro tip #3: make more than enough chocolate goodies to allow for taste testing before wrapping them up. Reuse an empty container, jar or box (or make one, origami style) and decorate with ribbon or stickers to make a beautifully presented, personalised chocolate box!