When it comes to Christmas time, I don't know about you but, dieting or any ounce of healthy eating more or less gets forgotten about in my household. If there's any excuse for a cheeky bit of chocolate, we'll take it. This year, I decided to try something different that I've never made before for the family to enjoy. I will warn you, these two delicious, easy treat recipes are very indulgent but, hey, it's Christmas!

First of all, both of these recipes are completely a cheats recipe. A few of the items that can be made at home were shop bought and I did this because A) damn this girl needs a break, and B) lots and lots of people want easy, simple recipes at Christmas time that they can rustle up for guests or simply add into a stocking filler. If that's you, then you're in luck.

First up is these super easy Salted Caramel Chocolate Pretzels. These treat bites are easy to make and add a great sweet twist on your ordinary pretzel.
For this recipe I actually used shop bought Pretzels from my local Holland and Barrett which were already salted. You can make your own pretzels but this is a quick way to save time. Next up is the caramel. There are easy ways to make caramel yourself at home which require very little ingredients but I actually used a tin of Carnation Caramel. Now, here's the thing, learning from this experience, I would make my own caramel next time. This is because, once you've dipped your pretzels into the caramel and placed them on a flat, grease proof board (I simply lined an old table mat with greaseproof paper), you will need to pop them in the freezer. By my understanding, making your own caramel makes freezing it easier - the carnation caramel that I used didn't set or freeze in the freezer, despite being in there for around 36 hours.
Anyhow, that was not going to stop me. For the chocolate coating, I melted down simple plain chocolate and dipped the caramel side into the bowl. By dipping in the same place, you are securing in that lovely caramel.

So here's that simplified:

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It just wouldn't be 'indulgent treats' with Chocolate Orange Millionaire's Shortbread. This festive twist on the tasty classic is bound to go down well with the family and, if I were you, I'd make two batches at once because they will be eaten before you can blink. They're sweet, delicious, and just all round naughty.
For this one, it's very important to have a loose-bottom tin because, otherwise you will be giving yourself an almighty task when it comes to getting this out to serve. Line the bottom of the tin or, if you're feeling particularly lazy or unlucky, you can cover the inside walls of the tin too, with greaseproof paper.
After this, you should crumb the flour, butter and sugar together. From the recipe that I interpreted from, they used just slightly lower measurements for these ingredients but I actually wanted a thicker biscuit base so added 25g more for each item. Crumbing these took about 10 minutes - I wanted to make sure that there were no lumps of butter left to avoid getting any large air bubbles in the base. Once complete, the mixture got compacted into my tin, making sure to go to all of the edges, and placed in the oven (180ÂșC Fan) for 10 minutes.
When that was out of the oven, I poured over my left over Carnation caramel from the pretzels and placed it in the oven for a further 6 minutes. Again, I would recommend using your own homemade caramel for this as, yet again, Carnation caramel did refuse to show any kind of emotion and received no difference from the 6 minute bake in the oven. As I knew that the caramel wouldn't set, I pored the melted chocolate on top of it (a medley of plain and Terry's Chocolate orange) and, unfortunately, some of the chocolate sank into the caramel making it harder to spread across to the outsides. Nevertheless, I tried my best, being gentle and tentative, and then let the tin stand to cool down before placing it in the fridge.
Just before the tin went into the fridge to completely set, I placed some slices of Terry's Chocolate Orange on the top for decoration.
To serve, I cut the edges off (and kept them in the fridge - no waste, kids!), removed all greaseproof paper, and sliced the bar into 6 pieces. I didn't focus on the slices being too perfect because, if you know me, you'll know that I love that traditional 'home-made' appearance.

Anyway, here it is simplified:

And there they are - the ultimate chocolate Christmas treats! 

Which one was your favourite?

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