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Photo by Ellen Silverman

Shards of chocolate embedded with surprising flavors and crunchy elements make terrific gifts for much less expense than pricey "artisan-made" chocolates.

View full chocolate shards recipe here.

Sally Schneider highlights the joy of
Holiday Gifts From the Kitchen
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Photo by Ellen Silverman

Line a baking or cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper (or simply place the paper on the work surface). With a chef's knife or in a food processor, chop the chocolate into 1-inch or smaller pieces.

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Holiday Gifts From the Kitchen
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Photo by Ellen Silverman


Place half of the chocolate in a heavy saucepan and place on a flame tamer over a low flame. Alternatively, use a double boiler, making sure that the bowl of chocolate is suspended over NOT in the simmering water. It is essential that no water get into the chocolate or it will seize up and turn to unusable clumps. Stir the chocolate frequently with a rubber spatula until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate until completely melted.

Pour the melted chocolate onto the wax paper and spread it about 1/8-inch-thick with a cake icer. Let the chocolate set about 5 minutes. This is your palette for improvising really fun and interesting combinations.
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Holiday Gifts From the Kitchen
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Photo by Ellen Silverman


Scatter or arrange your desired embellishments over the chocolate. To dust with ground spices, let the chocolate sit until the surface has firmed up and the chocolate is still pliable, from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how cool the room is. (This way, the spices will stay visible.) Place the spice a fine strainer and gently sift evenly over the chocolate. Sprinkle coarser herbs or sea salt over the chocolate with your fingers.

Let the chocolate set 1 to 2 hours until firm.
Sally Schneider highlights the joy of
Holiday Gifts From the Kitchen
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Photo by Ellen Silverman


Break the chocolate into shards.
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Holiday Gifts From the Kitchen
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Photo by Ellen Silverman


The chocolate will keep up to two weeks in a sealed container at room temperature.
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Holiday Gifts From the Kitchen
chocolate-packaged_vertical.jpg

Photo by Ellen Silverman

There are many ways to package chocolate a as gift: Pack into cardboard candy boxes (lined with wax or parchment paper), bought or saved from a local bakery; antique or repurposed tins (available at flea markets, yard sales and Ebay); or paper or clear cello bags bought from your local market (they will often sell them by the piece) or online at Paper Mart .

View full chocolate shards recipe here .

Sally Schneider highlights the joy of
Holiday Gifts From the Kitchen