#Ad #Gifted We see enough fun activities for kids online – at least I do, but there don’t seem to be so many companies selling kits with fun things to do for adults (and possibly for older teenagers who like to think they are adults).

One exception to this is Mad Millie. According to its catalogue, Mad Millie specialises in “do-it-yourself gourmet, artisan, health food and drink kits that teach people how to create their own delicious, handcrafted products at home

They have kits to make all kinds of delicious homemade healthy treats from kombucha to kefir, all kinds of cheese, sourdough to put it on and ginger beer and gin to wash it down with.

Christmas Liqueurs – recipe and photo from Mad Millie

The company is based in New Zealand but they ship to the US and UK.

The nice folks from Mad Millie sent me a lovely Raw Cacao Chocolate kit to review. I had a little giggle that this is found in the Health Foods section of their website, but I am happy to imagine that I am making something healthy for myself here…

The kit ships with raw cacao, cocoa butter and coconut sugar, and it comes with a recipe book for making several types of chocolate and also a few chocolate recipes like truffles and brownies.

You also get a silicone mould to make chocolate bars and some lovely waxed paper wrappers and stickers to make your offerings special if you want to give them as gifts.

Mad Millie has vegan options in a lot of their kits and this is no exception. There is a recipe for non-dairy chocolate which is made with nut milk (they also have a kit for making your own nut milk if you are interested!).

In my case, my children don’t have the normal typical allergies, and we are not vegan, so I planned to make plain chocolate and milk chocolate.

However my daughter is allergic to coconut, so I asked the Mad Millie folk if I could replace the coconut sugar with ordinary sugar in the syrup and they said yes – there is even a recipe in the accompanying book to make it, if coconut syrup is not your thing.

I was smiling even as I opened the box – I love it when you find little quirky elements on packaging, and this one made me giggle… The photography is lovely too!

So, I got on with the job, mixing up the ingredients for the plain chocolate first. I must admit I was a little bit hasty, and maybe didn’t follow all instructions to the letter, but it all seemed to go OK.

The chocolate making process is relatively simple, but it does involve a Bain Marie and so might not be suitable for very small children. The cocoa butter was melted in the Bain Marie and then I added the cacao and sugar syrup.

I used my own silicone moulds for the plain chocolates – I made some that were just plain, and some others flavoured with peppermint essential oil (this is not provided with the kitalso please note that not all brands of essential oil are suitable for food flavouring)

After that I made a second batch, this time of milk chocolate – this is basically the same process, but using a substantial amount of milk powder and less cacao in the mixture. With this I made some individual chocolates, some chocolates flavoured with orange essential oil and a couple of chocolate bars, using the mould which came in the kit.

I put the whole lot in the fridge to cool, following the instructions.

The results were a bit hit and miss for my first attempt. The plain chocolates separated a bit, so the bottom of each chocolate was just white cocoa butter. I’m not quite sure what I did to cause that, but I have to say they tasted just fine. They were fine for me and my family – but maybe not for gifting.

The milk chocolate was a little bit lumpy and not as smooth in consistency as the plain chocolate.  Again though it tasted delicious, so it’s wasn’t really a problem.

I thought the wrappings were really lovely, and I would be happy to perfect this recipe and make bars which I could gift to my friends. The brown paper makes them look wholesome I think.

All in all, although my first attempts were not perfect, I am keen to have another go at chocolate making, and this has definitely given me food for thought and a base to experiment from. I will probably buy the raw ingredients directly from the internet next time, but I would certainly buy this kit for somebody else as a gift, because I think it’s really good fun and beautifully put together.

The Mad Millie website has some lovely ideas for chocolate you can make with the kit – so I would love to have another go and get good at this.

A Mad Millie kit would perhaps make an interesting Father’s Day gift if you have a man who likes to experiment in the kitchen – and then you would get the delight of sampling what he made. The Sourdough kit has been reduced especially for Father’s Day

I would also very much love to try the Kefir, Kombucha and cheese making kits from the Mad Millie range, so look out for further experiments on this blog.

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