Homemade vs Store bought……

Since its coming up to Christmas and all that, the time when we are supposed to  think of others and not ourselves  (for once)…. i mentioned to my daughter if she would like to gift her teachers something this year.

Her response wasnt one of shock and horreur, that perhaps i had ‘flipped’ or something, her response was  ” yeah, can you get them chocolates from ‘Cocoa'”   her favourite chocolatier in town.    Which may i say while they may be nice and all that jazz, my very strong Scottish genes have decided to put their foot down on this one and ‘we’  my Scottish genes and i are going to make some.  this is a fact i have yet to mention to my darling daughter.   she will love it….. i’m sure .

So i preceeded to scourge through my recipes books with Christmas goodies and chocolates in them and here’s what i found  ‘Hard Caramels’ and ‘Coconut Ice”  and its not just any Coconut Ice.  You will find the recipes below…..   (they were so fun to make, i’m getting ready to make so more this weekend)


  1 cup  (250g) of sugar

90g butter

2 Tbs golden syrup

1/3 cup (80mls)  glucose syrup

1/2  cup (90 ml) canned condensed milk

250 g dark chocolate chopped

makes 49  prep time: 25 mins + setting  cooking time: 15 mins


1.     Grease base and sides of a 20cm  square cake tim, then line with bakinbg paper and grese the paper. Combine the sugar, butter , golden syrup, liquid glucose and condensed milk in a heavy based saucepan.  stir over medium heat without boiling until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. brush the sugar crustals from the sides of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush.

2.     Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and boil gently sitrring for about 10 mins, or until a teaspoon of mixture dropped into cold water reaches hard ball stage.   Remove from heat, pour into tin and leave to cool.  While the caramel is still warm, mark into 49 squares with an oiled knife.  When cold, cut through completely.

3.     Line 2 baking sheets with foil.  Place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.   Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then remove it from the heat and sit the bowl with the chocolate on top. stir the chocolate to melt, make sure no water gets into the chocolate.  Remove from the heat and cool slightly.  Using 2 forks dip the caramels one at a time into the chocolate to coat.  Lift out, drain the excess chocolate, then place on the trays and leave to set.

Note: Store hard caramels in an airtight container in a cool, ark place for up to 4 weeks.

(we ate them and gave them away to the childrens teachers, so sorry, no photo)

May i add that this is the first time that i have actually seriously been struck by this ‘bug’.   a very good girlfriend of mine has told me on a couple of occasions  “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

this recipes is oh so tasty and very easy………


2 cups (250g) of icing sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

400g condensed milk

31/2 cups (315g) dessicated coconut

2-3 drops of pink food colouring

Prep time: 20 mins  plus 2 hours refrigeration

zero cooking time.  makes: 30

1.   Grease a 20 cm square cake tin and line the base with baking paper.

2.   Sift icing sugar and cream of tartar into a bowl.  Make a well anbd add the condensed milk.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in half the coconut, then the remaining coconut.  Mix well with your hands. (or a spoon). Divide in half and tint one half pink.  Using your hand, knead the colour through evenly.

3.   Press the pink mixture over the base of the tin, cover with the white mixture and press down firmly.  Refrigerate for 1 – 2  hours, or until firm.  Remove from the tin, remove the paper and cut into pieces.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

I cut them into small pieces so i can eat more without feeling guilty.!


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