If you've got an incurable sweet tooth, try your hand at making your own sweets. This way, you can customise the recipes to suit your taste buds, and you've also got cheap, personalised presents for any occasion.
The following recipes are incredibly easy to follow and practically fool proof. Once you've mastered the basics, you can start experimenting with different flavours and textures
* Beat the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy, then add the icing sugar, slowly, until a stiff dough has formed. Add peppermint essence and knead well.
* Roll the dough to a desired thickness. Use a small cookie cutter, egg cup or similar to press out small rounds from the dough. Cover the rounds with a tea towel and leave to dry overnight.
* Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl suspended over boiling water. Dip the mounds into the melted chocolate, then place in the refrigerator to set.
A little harder
You will need:
225 grams dark chocolate
175 millilitres double cream
Nuts, dried fruit, fruit essence, liqueur or anything else you wish to use for flavouring
* Place chocolate into a mixing bowl and set aside.
* Pour cream into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat immediately and pour over the chocolate. Mix to form a smooth liquid. If you are making flavoured truffles, now is the time to add your nuts, essence, etc.
* Cover and leave to set at room temperature for one to two hours.
Spoon out balls of the mixture. Dust your hands with icing sugar and roll the mixture into balls. Coat with cocoa powder.
You will need:
1 cup caster sugar
10 grams butter
2 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoons vinegar
* Combine butter, sugar, water and vinegar in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil.
* For hard toffees, boil without stirring for about fifteen minutes. To test if it is ready, drop a spoonful into cold water – the mixture should crackle.
* For softer toffees, boil without stirring for five to ten minutes. To test it if is ready, drop a spoonful into cold water – the mixture should for a soft ball.
* Pour mixture into a muffin or cupcake tray lined with patty cake liners and refrigerate until the mixture has set.
Be warned – once your friends and family discover that you can make your own sweets, you might find yourself a little too popular!