Winter Chocolate Truffles

Here’s a simple recipe for making Chocolate Truffles. While a little fiddly, there’s something very satisfying about offering friends at a dinner party a homemade truffle. You can experiment with using different coatings and even insert treats in the middle, such as a roasted coffee bean, a few fresh cocoa nibs or a bit of dried fruit.

These are really yummy. They have a lovely chocolaty-brandy taste and are great eaten with an after-dinner espresso.

Ingredients:

• 150 g good quality dark chocolate, 70%-85% is the best
• 150 ml double cream or extra thick whipping cream if you are in the States (I prefer Extra Thick Brandy Cream available in London over the Christmas period)

Toppings:

• 25 g desiccated coconut, or
• 10 g ground espresso, or
• 30 g finely chopped nuts (pistachio, or lightly toasted almond), or
• 10 g cocoa powder

Method:

Melting chocolate

1. Fill a medium-sized saucepan half way with water. Bring water to a very slight boil.
2. Chop the chocolate into chunks and tip into a medium-sized metal bowl.
3. Place the bowl with chocolate on top of the sauce pan (see pic) and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally with a pair of chopsticks.
4. Meanwhile measure out the double cream or thick whipping cream into a mixing bowl.
5. Pour the melted chocolate over the cream and mix well.
6. Cover and chill for at least 4 hrs.
7. Remove from fridge when chilled and start to shape the truffles.
8. Dip a teaspoon or a melon-baller in hot water and scoop up balls of the chilled mixture, then drop the balls onto greaseproof paper. You can shape them by lightly rolling each one between your palms.
9. Coat the truffles in your favourite toppings immediately after shaping into balls. Just roll them in either lightly toasted desiccated coconut, freshly ground espresso powder, chopped pistachios, cocoa powder or any other topping of your choice. *
10. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 days, or freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge overnight. To give as presents, place 8-10 truffles in individual paper or foil cases inside small, lined boxes decorated with ribbon. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to give them as presents.

*Alternatively, you can coat the truffle with melted chocolate. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Melt 100g dark or white chocolate for 10 truffles. Allow chocolate to cool slightly. With a fork, pick up one truffle at a time and hold over the bowl of melted chocolate. Spoon the chocolate over the truffle until well-coated. Place on the baking tray, then chill.

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