John Adams Chocolate Coin Making Kit

It’s nearly December, and, if you are a small child, that means only one things – advent calendars.  Unfortunately, the Allergy Brothers can’t eat the chocolate in most advent calendars.  Last year, we bought them very sophisticated advent calendars from Hotel Chocolat, which they could eat, but didn’t like!  This year I thought I would bring out the fabric advent calendar we have had since they were small.  I had the bright idea of making chocolate coins to fill the pockets, as the Allergy Brothers can’t eat the shaped chocolate available in most shops.

I was pleased to see this kit in a local toy shop.  As I am a good three decades over the recommended minimum age (6 years), I thought this would be a doddle.  I was wrong.

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I got out all the bits, and discovered that I needed chocolate chips.  I decided that this didn’t matter.  The kit includes a chocolate melter; it’s a small, solid hot water bottle/bowl.  You fill it with warm, not boiling, water (the instructions were in bold for this bit), and then rest the chocolate chips in the bowl to melt.  I didn’t even bother trying this.  This is the method you put, if you are a toy manufacturer who is more concerned with not being sued when a child scalds themselves than in making a product that might work.  Allegedly, their method takes 10 minutes to melt enough chocolate for one coin.  I just put a load of chocolate chunks in a bain marie, which always works.  You then have to pour the chocolate into fiddly three part chocolate moulds.  There are enough moulds to make four coins at a time.

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The chocolate then needs to go in the fridge or freezer to set.  This took 30 minutes in the freezer.  Now comes the wrapping in gold foil bit.  I thought this might be fun.  I was wrong.  You have to use a cutter to make the foil circles.  This bit of the kit actually worked.  Then you have to put the gold foil and a chocolate coin held in a circular plastic clamp in a spring-loaded plunger.  The idea is that foil gets wrapped around the coin, which you then lift out with the clamp.  Except it doesn’t.  The plunger gets stuck so the coin is stuck inside the machine.  I ended up using kitchen scissors to pry the coins out, and the whole thing got very messy.  You have to repeat the process to cover the other side of the coin in foil.

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Then you have the chance to emboss the coins.  The kit came with a wide variety of plates.  I chose the two Christmas designs.  Unfortunately, it didn’t really work.  The press just didn’t press equally across the coin so some parts of the design came out and others didn’t.

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I had planned to make each Allergy Brother a coin for each day of Advent.  This means I would need forty eight coins.  It took me one hour to make four coins, which looked rubbish (this is rarely the case with my photos, but they actually look better in the photo than in real life).  This is the most you can make in one go as there are only four moulds.  There is only enough gold foil included in the kit to make twelve coins.  The kit costs £18.99 and it doesn’t include the chocolate.

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In conclusion, I would recommend this kit if you need to buy a present for a family you hate.  It will seem like a thoughtful gift, but it will just cause frustration and disappointment.  Happy Christmas!

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Star Wars hero shaped chocolates

Gepofte Chocolates!

After the disappointment of the Maize and Amaranth Dark chocolate cakes, we decided to make our own version.  Allergy Little enjoyed the “Gepofte Amaranth” (popped Amaranth) in the original product so we thought we would incorporate Amaranth in these very easy chocolates.

Choclate bars, a boc of cereal and a chocolate mould

We used a Star Wars heroes chocolate mould that we bought from Lakeland Limited.  The chocolate we used is Kinnerton’s Luxury Dark Chocolate, which is nut, dairy, egg, wheat, and gluten free, and is suitable for Vegans.  We used Alara’s Into The Garden Organic muesli, and we used the Active variety.  This muesli has a high proportion of puffed Amaranth (20.5%), which Allergy Little really likes.  Don’t forget you can win a box of this cereal in our giveaway.

Our method was very simple as this was a fun activity for Allergy Little and I, while Big was at school.  We carefully melted the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  We found that one 85g bar was just the right amount to fill one mould with twelve chocolates.  When the chocolate was melted, we took the bowl off the heat.  We vigorously shook the cereal box so that the heavier pieces of the muesli sunk to the bottom and the very light Amaranth settled on the top.  Then I sneakily used a spoon to scoop up just the Amaranth, but we didn’t get stressed if a few stray other bits added in.  Allergy Little meanwhile mixed it in the chocolate.  We stopped adding more Amaranth (plus extra bits) when there was still plenty of chocolate to coat the bits.  We wanted this to be chocolate with bits in, rather than coated bits!  Allergy Little spooned the melted chocolate into the mould.  We put the mould in the fridge and the chocolates took about an hour to set solid.

a chocolate mould filled with melted chocolate

Allergy Little enjoyed this as an activity, he was very proud of his chocolates, and he was pleased to share some with Big as a snack after school.  It was also a good chance to talk about the changes from solid to liquid to solid caused by heating and cooling.  Cooking is such a useful and yummy way to learn science!

Star Wars hero shaped chocolates