Wednesday 7 December 2011

Dairyfree Fruit and Ginger Chocolates

Finding dairyfree chocolate in the shops is relatively easy.  There are plenty of dark chocolate bars around that contain no dairy (just check the ingredients on the wrapper) but finding a box of chocolates is another matter.   Whilst there is more choice available online these days, they can often be expensive so I generally do what I've always done and make my own!

I've made all sorts of homemade chocolates over the years but these are probably the ones I've made most often!  Full of lovely dried fruit and stem ginger that has been steeped in brandy, they are truly luscious and make an extra special gift at Christmas or any time of year.

Any dark chocolate bar will do as long as it's dairyfree and the same goes for the digestives.  This recipe makes a lot so don't be put off by the quantities.  You could easily make three boxes like the one above from this list of ingredients.  


150g ready to eat dried apricots
150g ready to eat prunes
3 large balls of stem ginger
2 tbsp syrup from jar of stem ginger
125ml brandy
175g digestive biscuits (dairyfree)
275g dark chocolate (dairyfree)
110g dairyfree margarine (Pure)


Chop up the apricots and prunes (or snip into pieces with a pair of scissors) and place in a large saucepan.  Chop the stem ginger finely and add to the pan with 2 tbsp of syrup from the jar and the brandy.

Place over a medium heat and slowly bring to the boil, stirring every now and then.  Simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to stand for about 30 minutes to allow the fruit to soak up the brandy syrup.

Line an oblong baking tin (approx 25cm x 18m x 3cm) with cling film.

Place the biscuits in a large plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.

Break up the chocolate into pieces and put in a large bowl with the dairyfree margarine.    Place the bowl over a pan filled with a couple of inches of just boiled water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water.   Stir over a very low heat until the margarine and chocolate have melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Add the biscuit crumbs and soaked fruit to the bowl of melted chocolate and mix well together.    Spoon into the tin, pressing the mixture into the corners and tapping the tin to allow the mixture to settle. 
Level the surface neatly with a knife.   

Leave to cool, then cover with clingfilm and chill for at least six hours or overnight.

Turn the mixture out onto a clean chopping board and remove the clingfilm.  Cut into squares.

If you like, place in petit four cases and present them in a small box, covered with cling film.

Store in the fridge until needed. They'll keep for several weeks ....  if they last that long!  

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