It was the birthday of a friend at work – the one that introduced me to the high quality chocolates – and I thought I could make her something special. A birthday cake was a little out of my league, so I hit upon an alternative idea. When I was young, my mum used to make these absolutely incredible truffles as Christmas gifts for friends. While I don’t know the exact recipe she used, I thought a box of homemade truffles would be perfect for my friend.
A little casting around found this recipe:
…and then a little later I used this one as well:
So both of them are pretty easy to follow and all that was left was to think of combinations.
I initially thought about going to Montezuma or Hotel Chocolat for the basic chocolate but unfortunately my bank balance was…sub optimal…being the end of the month. It’s a shame in a way, because I was planning to use some of this stuff:
I’ve tried some in the past – it’s not spicy, per se but it has a wonderful feeling of heat that goes fantastically well with ginger. Then again, if I had gone with it, I’d have needed to get my hands on some candied ginger from somewhere, which would have driven up the price.
My final selections were:
- Brandy & dark chocolate dusted with milk chocolate
- Dark chocolate coated with chopped hazelnuts
- White chocolate with Malibu dusted with desiccated coconut
All fine ideas in theory but as with most things, what I see in my head doesn’t always correlate with real life. After making the two dark chocolate ganaches, I thought the white chocolate would essentially follow the same pattern.
The net result turned out like runny custard, even after a couple of hours in the fridge. This was extremely frustrating as I wanted to try to make a variety of different sorts for my friend rather than dark chocolate, dark chocolate and more dark chocolate. That’s when I found the River Cottage recipe. The finished white chocolate truffles were worryingly soft to begin with and didn’t really hold their shape; for a moment I wondered whether I’d overdone the Malibu and the jam. A little extra time in the fridge and they were solid enough. =)
Measuring the truffle mixtures out into appropriate amounts proved rather fun. A lot of recipes I’ve looked at suggest using a melon baller to cut out perfectly spherical truffles that look amazing. While getting the mixture into a melon baller is easy enough, persuading it to let go afterwards was considerably more difficult. Often I ended up with half-truffles or small sections that broke off. After 15 extremely annoy minutes, I eventually gave up and just used a spoon to carve off a chunk and then rolled it in coating. The net result was that I had truffles of all different sizes; little nests of three brandy truffles, individual white chocolate truffles and gargantuan hazelnut truffles:
The truffles went down extremely well with her, although another colleague didn’t believe me when I mentioned I’d made them myself. Best of all though, I even had a few left over for myse-
I’m aiming to update this blog every weekend or so, depending on things like work and holidays, etc. As with most other blogs, I’m always welcome to feedback, whether it’s on the blog itself or any of the recipes used.
See you next week!