This Christmas we were trying to think of a nice gift to send to my sister (who lives halfway across the country). What we came up with was a collection of baked goods, since Melissa and I love cooking and baking. So we made some Chocolate Crinkles, a whole bunch of Whoopie Pies, and, our crowning achievement, a batch of Chocolate Truffles. They all turned out brilliantly and were well received by both of our families, including my sister. Thankfully, there was plenty of leftover goodness for us! The truffle recipe came from Jamie Oliver, and the only adaptation we made was presentation: we rolled them in crushed walnuts, chocolate sprinkles, and melted chocolate, along with the recommended cocoa powder. Icing sugar, unfortunately, didn't work so well, since the truffles were so wet they dissolved it all. These were absolutely delicious, and beautiful, and I'm very glad I followed the advice to use extra-dark (at least 70% cocoa) chocolate; it's a fantastic flavour.
• 1 1/4 cup double cream
• 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
• finely grated zest from 1 clementine
• 300g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
• a pinch sea salt
• a splash of brandy
• a handful of crushed nuts: walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.
• 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, to serve
• 3 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles, to serve
• 1 cup semisweet chocolate
• 1 tablespoon butter
Put the cream in a pan over a medium heat and let it heat up. You don’t want it boiling, just hot. As soon as tiny bubbles start to appear add the knob of butter and the clementine zest. Once the butter has melted pour this hot mixture over the chocolate pieces whisking as you go so the chocolate melts nice and slowly. If the mixture splits slightly, don’t worry, you can bring it right by adding a splash of boiling water.
Add a pinch of salt to the mixture. Stir in a splash of brandy.
Once completely melted and smooth, pour your melted chocolate mixture into a dish. Pop this in the fridge for about 2 hours to set.
Melt the semisweet chocolate with the butter in a stainless steel bowl over boiling water, or in the microwave. Get some little saucers or bowls and put the nuts in one, your cocoa powder in another, chocolate sprinkles in a third, and the melted chocolate in the fourth. Use teaspoons dipped in boiling water to scoop the chocolate. Roll the spooned truffles in any of the garnishes, or whatever you feel like. Pop them back in the fridge to let the melted chocolate solidify. Then get them all back out and enjoy the decadence!