Once it hits November, I always have this memory of my dad preparing for the festive season by starting his Christmas bakes and chocolate making. I should probably also mention that these cookies and truffles, were made solely for Christmas. It’s because of this scarcity that whenever I receive a parcel from my parents containing cookies or truffles, they rarely got shared around. Rather than scoff them all at once, I always made sure that they lasted me into the New Year. I know, Christmas is meant for sharing and all that, but these were too precious to share. That being said, they are a great gift idea.
The truffles my dad makes are purely based on good quality ganache and a dash of liqueur. A bite of one of these little chocolate spheres are all you need to keep you going on a cold day. My personal favourite? Amaretto.Best eaten at about room temperature, the ganache melts willingly as if giving your mouth a hug. The liqueur comes in at the end, but it’s not like one of the liquid chocolates you get, no, the liqueur slowly makes its way around your taste buds, unlike the standard chocolate liqueurs that tend to force its way onto your taste buds.
You’ll find that for some liqueurs, you’ll need to add more for the flavour and might want to adjust the ratios accordingly so your ganache can still come out quite solid when set. You want the ganache to harden enough to be manageable without it melting in its entirety when you’re handling it, but you also want it to be soft enough to shape into balls.
BASIC TRUFFLE RECIPE
Makes about 24 medium-sized truffles.
200g good quality dark chocolate (50%+ cocoa)
140g double cream*
20g Liqueur to taste (such as amaretto, brandy, grand marnier) – optional**
* when it comes to hand rolling ensure that double cream is 60-70% of the total weight of chocolate – keep this ratio to hand and you can scale this recipe up or down as required.
** any liqueur used to flavour should be 10% of the chocolate weight.
Part 1: Ganache
Make this a few days ahead or the night before shaping.
- Measure the chocolate into a heatproof mixing bowl and set aside.
- Heat the double cream in a saucepan on the stove on medium heat until it just about boils. Remove from the stove and pour on top of the chocolate.
- Using a whisk mix the chocolate and cream mixture until it turns thick and glossy – if the chocolate has trouble melting, you can put the bowl in a double boil (on top of a saucepan of boiling water) to help until everything is incorporated.
- Add liqueur of choice (optional) and mix.
- Cover the bowl with cling film so that it touches the surface. Place in the fridge and chill for at least 3 hours or solidified.
- When ready to use, remove from fridge for 15 minutes.
- Using a teaspoon, scoop the ganache into the size of a cherry and roll between your hands to form a ball. If too soft for finishing, place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
- Finish as desired – see below for variations.
Part 2: Finishing
Dark brandy truffles
100 g cocoa powder
- Take the rolled ganache balls and coat in cocoa powder.
- Roll lightly in hands to give it a rustic finish.
150g almond slices, toasted
150g dark chocolate, melted (make sure not too hot – you can check the temperature by putting some chocolate on your bottom lip, if it’s slightly warm it’s okay to use)
- In a lined baking tray, toast almond slices in the oven at about 120℃/225℉ for 10 minutes, until light brown and fragrant.
- Once cool enough crush slices with hands until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- Dip the ganache ball into the melted chocolate, using a fork, scoop out and onto the toasted almonds.
- Roll around until fully coated.
100g dark chocolate
75g milk chocolate
- Melt chocolate in one heatproof bowl over a double boil, remove from heat once fully melted.
- Wait until chocolate temperature isn’t too hot – it’ll melt the ganache otherwise! Check by placing a bit of chocolate on your bottom lip, if it’s just slightly warm it’s okay to use.
- Dip a ganache ball into the melted chocolate, and scoop out with a fork.
- Place on wire grid/rack, wait until the chocolate has cooled slightly more – you will know when it’s time by touching the chocolate with the edge of a fork, if the chocolate covers the area quickly wait a bit longer. If it resembles a “soft whip” then using two forks, roll around the grid to create a spiky coating.