It’s that time of year again – I’m making Christmas presents. Chocolate truffles tonight.
I started out with the Edmonds cookbook chocolate truffle recipe, but since when do I follow a recipe? With a bit of adjusting, I’ve ended up with a range of variations using the same basic formula. Here are a few of my recipes.
100g dark chocolate
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/2 cup chopped macadamia and hazelnuts
1/2 cup ground almonds (and a bit more)
1/2 – 1 cup icing sugar
Melt butter and chocolate (I’m sure you are supposed to use a bain Marie, but I just use a heavy pot on the stove). Stir in cocoa, chopped nuts, ground almonds and some of the icing sugar. Keep stirring in icing sugar until the mixture is quite stiff. Shape into balls (not too big, as these are quite rich) and then roll them in ground almonds. Keep refrigerated.
Makes about 30-35, and should keep for a few weeks. But really, what are the chances of them lasting that long?
50g white chocolate
1-2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger (I use fresh ginger that has been frozen, but ground ginger will give a different taste)
1-2 tablespoons dark rum
1 cup icing sugar (or might be 1 1/2)
Melt butter and chocolate. Stir in grated ginger and rum, then add the icing sugar gradually until the mixture is quite stiff. Shape into balls and then roll them in coconut. Keep refrigerated.
Makes about 18.
2 tablespoons Turkish coffee (with cardamom)
4 tablespoons boiling water
100g dark chocolate
1 tablespoon cocoa (and about 1/4 cup more for later)
1 – 2 cups icing sugar
Add Turkish coffee and boiling water to a plunger, plunge and leave to stand (if you want to, you can make proper Turkish coffee in a pot, but I don’t bother for this recipe). Melt butter and chocolate. Add cocoa and 2 tablespoons of the coffee. Add about a cup of icing sugar. Taste test and add more coffee if you want it stronger. Add more icing sugar until the mixture is stiff. Roll into balls and then roll in pure cocoa. Refrigerate. After an hour or so, remove from fridge and re-roll in cocoa. Keep refrigerated.
A note on ingredients
Good ingredients make good truffles. I assume the opposite applies too: bad ingredients = bad truffles. Don’t substitute butter for margarine in these recipes; it won’t melt and set properly. Use a good strong dark chocolate, although don’t use top quality eating chocolate, because it’s simply a waste to mask the flavour with butter, sugar and flavourings. For white chocolate, use something that actually contains cocoa butter. A lot of the stuff that masquerades as white chocolate doesn’t contain anything at all that came from a cacao tree. Check the label. Nuts are better fresh. I shell the hazelnuts myself, but I draw the line at shelling the macadamia nuts, instead buying them already shelled from my local farmer’s market. If you don’t have Turkish coffee with cardamom, you could probably make really strong, fine-ground coffee and add cardamom, but I’ve never tried that.
A further note about taste testing
Taste testing is essential. One thing that I have found is that flavours usually intensify once the truffle has cooled and sat in the fridge for a day or two.
Last note, I promise
Recipes can be doubled or halved quite successfully. I tend to do a smaller batches when I’m trying something a bit more risky, like rum and fresh ginger (I really wasn’t sure that would work, but I’m very pleased with it).