Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Great Christmas Chocolate Debate and Let's Make Christmas: Orange and Peppermint Christmas Creams

There will be many a debate this Christmas.

  • Whose family will we be spending the festivities with?

  • Can we really get away with giving everyone presents from the Boxing Day Sales and blame the delay on the Royal Mail?


  • Which large tin of chocolate will be purchased? Quality Street, Roses or, new-ish kid on the block, Celebrations? AKA, The Great Christmas Chocolate Debate

One of the advantages of working in a hospital is that at this time of year each ward will have tottering towers of tins given by generous patients to say thank you. Through scoffing, at the last count, approximately 90% of said tins, I have gained extensive, almost immeasurable experience and feel almost overqualified in contributing to the Great Christmas Chocolate Debate.

Quality Street of course have the Big Purple One, the Chocolate Toffee Finger and the lovely Perry Como song in their adverts. Roses have the best creams and, arguably nicer chocolate. As for Celebrations, well, once everyone has jumped upon the Maltesers, half forgotten tins full of Mars and Milky Way are left gathering dust.

While pondering such an ECQ (Essential Christmas Question), I busied myself making these: Peppermint and Orange Christmas Creams for Vanessa Kimbell's Let's Make Christmas. This is the fourth in the mini-series to create delicious foodie gifts this Christmas. The gifts will be judged and a mass gift exchange will occur this Friday at Fortnum and Mason. I cannot wait. I just need to decide which gifts to take...


For the peppermint creams:
100g icing sugar
2-4 tbsps condensed milk
Half a tsp peppermint extract

For the orange creams:
100g icing sugar
2-4 tbsps condensed milk
Half a tsp orange extract

For the decoration:50g dark chocolate, melted

NB: make the two separate flavours in separate batches
  1. Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl.
  2. Add the extract (see below) and condensed milk, a little at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon as the dough comes together
  3. Place the dough onto a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Knead gently for a minute or so until the dough becomes smooth
  4. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 5mm and stamp out star shapes using a star cutter
  5. Leave to dry on baking parchment overnight before drizzling the dark chocolate over the star shapes

Baker's notes....
  • Store in an airtight container and these will last for a week or two
  • The quantities above make 20-30 mini star shapes, but this will depend on the size of the cutter
  • Good quality extracts will make a big difference. I spotted the Peppermint Extract in Waitrose and the Orange Extract I picked up on holiday in France.
  • I then popped a selection of each flavour into a small gift box:

  • Before tying a pretty ribbon around it:

  • The Great Christmas Chocolate Debate. Twitter spoke: Quality Street was the preferred chocolate of choice. But I think more research is required. I'll have to just buy a tin of each.


  1. Oh I'm more of a Roses girl myself, although I'm also fond of Heros (you didn't mention them!) prefer cadbury choc. But I never buy them we usually get given several boxes of biscuits and a big box or tin of chocs.

    Your mints look so sweet and I'm sure they beat the pants off any of those commercial brands of sweet.

  2. I am a toffee penny gal and also the purple Brazil nut chocolates too!
    LOVELY looking peppermint creams and so prettily boxed too!
    See you next week!

  3. Oooh love these! I made peppermint creams last Christmas and loved them, will definitely have to give the orange ones a try this year. They look gorgeous in the little gift box! Just to add more confusion to the choc tin debate - Chocolate Orange segments? Probably a much less popular choice but I love them! Failing that then Quality Street a close second!

  4. Quality Street for me. Lovely peppermint creams and I love the box they are in.

  5. I am with Janice and am a bit of a Roses fan myself! Your star shaped peppermint & orange creams look wonderful, the chocolate drizzle is a very clever addition....can't wait to see what you bring on Friday ! X

  6. Haha this post is bang on the money...malteser celebrations are ALWAYS the first to go :-) Buying tins of chocolates at Christmas is a bit of a tradition, but I reckon making your own might be the way forward - these look gorgeous!

  7. I wish I could go to this but I have to work :( Have fun!

    Stars look fab!

  8. These look so beautiful. Am really gutted I can't make Friday. For me, it would have to be celebrations :)

  9. these look gorgeous. I do hope I get to taste one of them on Friday!!

  10. Ha ha, love your great chocolate debate - couldn't possibly comment, but if ever we get a tin of celebrations at work, the milky way don't languish ;-) Your starry creams look really pretty.

  11. Quality Street for me, because it's what my gran and grandfather have every year so they just mean festivities to me!

    Your peppermint creams look great - I must try them as I love peppermint, but am not keen on the recipes with raw eggs in them. I love the artistic drizzle of chocolate too!


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