I’m a big fan of homemade pressies.
It’s always nice to give something special to loved ones, but it can all get a bit overwhelming and expensive. And what about those people in your life who you really do like an awful lot… but ‘loved one’ is a bit strong?
That chap in accounts who always lets you send stuff in a few days late?
That girl next door who signs for your parcels?
That looker who always smiles at you and you’ve been too shy to say hello to?
What do you get them?
A bag of Chocolate Avalanche, that’s what.
Even the most novice of cooks can make this (perfect for littles who want to take gifts into school).
Total credit for this recipe goes to Mrs J Bond who’s made it for me every Christmas since I went to pre-school with her son, Charlie.
You only need 5 or 6 ingredients, and you can usually use what you’ve got in the cupboards.
6 100g bars of good quality dark chocolate
4 Crunchie bars
2 handfuls of pecan nuts
1 handful dried cranberries
1 handful pistachios
Dusting of raspberry powder (sold in most healthfood shops, or just used dried raspberries if you can’t get any)
Sprinkle of flaked sea salt
Start by gently toasting your pecan nuts in a dry pan on a medium heat. It’ll only take a few mins but makes a big difference to their flavour. Put these to one side.
Grab your chocolate!
Chop it up.
Melt it. Either in a Pyrex bowl over a bowl of simmering hot water or in the microwave (obviously if littles are making this, an adult should do this part).
While it’s melting chop up your toasted pecan nuts.
Line a large baking sheet with clingfilm.
Roughly chop your Crunchie bars.
And when the chocolate is melted, smooth and glossy throw the Crunchie in.
Mix and pour onto your waiting clingfilm.
How much do you want to lick the screen right now?
Push the chunks around so it’s pretty evenly distributed.
Sprinkle over your chopped pecans.
Dust with raspberry powder.
NB: Here it’s always good to pretend you’re the God of Christmas. The chocolate is your landscape and you’re making it snow pink snow. Say “Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas” in your best, booming voice.
Do not skip this step, it makes a tremendous difference to the outcome of your Avalanche.
Sprinkle with a big pinch of sea salt (this will bring out the sweetness in the dark chocolate and stop it tasting bitter).
Stand back and admire your handiwork.
Pop it in the fridge until it’s set, which should take about an hour, maybe two.
When it’s done you should have something that looks like this.
You can now either bring it down with a smash, which will leave you with nice natural chunks of Avalanche, or you can be more systematic and cut it up.
Pile a few pieces onto a piece of cellophane wrap.
Pull all the corners up into a pouch and tie with a bow.
Repeat until you’ve run out of Avalanche and leave them somewhere cool until they’re ready to be given to your lucky recipients.
If at all possible, you should include a tag that says: