Enjoy tasty festive treats

Fruit and Nut Buttons. PA Photo/Handout.
Fruit and Nut Buttons. PA Photo/Handout.

They say it’s the thought that counts, and what could be more thoughtful than going to the trouble of making your own Christmas gifts this year?

Not only will it save you some hard-earned cash, you’ll earn lots of brownie points from your appreciative loved ones in the process.

In her new book, Gifts From Your Kitchen, Deborah Nicholas writes: “I truly believe that each gift given should mean something, both to the creator and the recipient.

“Anyone can buy a CD or a movie but it means something special when you take the time to create a batch of cupcakes.”

Here is one of Deborah’s gift ideas for you to try at home, along with suggestions for how to present it.

Fruit and nut buttons (makes 24)

Ingredients - 200g good-quality dark chocolate; 150g freeze-dried fruits; 100g chopped mixed nuts.


Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water. Stir until melted.

Remove from heat and stir in half the freeze-dried fruit and three-quarters of the mixed nuts.

Stir until all the fruit and nuts are covered in chocolate and spoon into button or sweet moulds. Whilst the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle the remaining fruit and nuts over the top of each button. Allow to set completely before removing from the button tray.

Deborah Nicholas’ top tip: Drop a handful of the buttons into a gift bag and embellish the finished product with a customised bag topper.