Controversially, I haven’t knitted any Christmas presents this year. My family and friends probably have enough hats, gloves and scarves for the moment. Also, I felt like a year off; knitting to a deadline has a tendency to take the fun out of it.
I normally make edible gifts of some kind and this year I’ve made chocolate truffles. I’m planning to start a recipe blog in the new year, and my truffle recipe will be going there, along with plenty more of my culinary inventions. But, since this one’s definitely seasonal, I thought you might like it sooner. Unlike most truffles, these contain no cream. I am allergic to dairy products and I don’t cook with them, the net result is that they’re a little less bad for you.
Plain truffle mix (per batch of about 20)
- 1 x 150 g bar Green & Blacks dark cooking chocolate
- 5 x level tbsp icing sugar
- 4 x tbsp whisky, brandy or dark rum
- Petites fours cases
- 75 g dark, milk or white chocolate, or
- Good quality cocoa powder
Cherry and almond filling (per batch)
- Maraschino or cocktail cherries, I used about 1/3 small jar, chopped
- 2 tbsp ground almonds
- 1 x Milky Bar melted with some red food colouring to decorate
Honey and ginger filling (per batch)
- 3 x lumps of stem ginger in syrup, drained and finely chopped
- 1 x heaped tbsp dark honey
Dessicated coconut, toasted nuts, dried fruit, coffee beans, anything that goes with chocolate! You could also use flavoured liquors like Cointreau instead of the spirits suggested.
- Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. As soon as the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat.
- Sieve the icing sugar into the chocolate and mix.
- Slowly add the alcohol, stirring continuously. At this point it might seem like the liquid is not going to mix in, but keep going, it will.
- Add the filling if you’re using one, mix in well.
- Leave the mixture to stand somewhere cool (outside is good this time of year) until firmly set.
- Scoop some of the mixture using a tablespoon and roll it into a ball between the palms of your hands. The warmth of your hands will soften the mixture. I made mine just over in inch in diameter, but make them smaller or bigger depending on how much you like your friends! If you’re planning to coat them in chocolate, remember to take that into account as it will add to the final size. This stage gets fairly messy, do not be alarmed.
- If you’re dusting your truffles in cocoa, put some cocoa in a small bowl and roll each truffle in it until they’re no longer sticky.
- If you’re covering them in chocolate, place the truffles on a tray covered with greaseproof paper and leave to set somewhere cold (if you’re planning to coat them in chocolate, freezing them is not a bad idea).
- Melt the chocolate using the same method as before. Turn off the heat but leave it in the pan. Using two teaspoons, quickly roll each truffle in melted chocolate and drop straight in a petit four case.
- To decorate (optional), melt chocolate of a different colour and flick it across the truffles.
- Lick the bowl, you deserve it
Store them somewhere cool but not cold (a fridge is too cold and will cause the surface to look powdery).
I like to present them in bundles made from cellophane and tissue paper, tied with ribbon.