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Homemade chocolate truffles – meltingly good

December 6, 2014

Chocolate truffles - MyCustardPieJust in time to wish you a Happy St Nicholas day. My Polish Aunt and Uncle would appear every 6th December bearing sweets for us children; in fact even while I was temping at jewellers one Christmas during my late teens, my Aunt appeared holding a bag and uttered the familiar phrase “A strange man stopped me in the street and said give this to Sally,” – the strange man being, of course, St Nicholas (or Santa Claus). So today has to be about something sweet.

I was given a box of shop bought truffles the other day. Fair enough they were from a supermarket not a specialist chocolate shop but one bite into the waxy, sweet, cloying ball of confectionery was enough and I threw the whole lot in the bin. Such a shame as really good chocolate truffles are divine, and this is from someone who doesn’t worship at the altar of chocolate very often.

The party season is just kicking in and unless you’ve bought costly, scented candles in bulk, you may be scrabbling round in the next few weeks to find the perfect little something for the hosts along with the obligatory bottle of plonk. Fresh cream, butter, chocolate and alcohol combined with love and care into moreish morsels. Who could resist that? You’ll be welcomed with open arms.

Cradled in tissue paper, housed in a pretty box, they make luxurious gifts. Also good dotted about the Christmas dinner table prior to the entrance of the pudding (for pudding haters or just to go with coffee).

A word of warning though: Do not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES be tempted to make them (or anything in fact) with cooking chocolate. You might as well make them with lard they’ll taste so bad and you’ll never gain entry to a party ever again.

Homemade chocolate truffles - two ways of lacing them, with options

  • Servings: makes 40-50
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 300ml fresh, extra thick double cream (or the heaviest thickest cream you can buy)
  • 300g dark (plain) chocolate minimum 58% cocoa solids*
  • 300g good quality milk chocolate*
  • 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2-3 tablespoons Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
  • 25g cocoa powder or cacao

Method

  1. Pour the fresh cream into a small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthways, scrape the seeds into the pan with the tip of a sharp knife, then add the whole pod too. Bring just to the boil then turn off the heat and leave to cool for about 20 minutes.
  2. Break 200g of the dark chocolate into small pieces and put in a heatproof bowl. Melt the chocolate. I find this easiest by microwaving on medium power for 4 minutes. Alternatively sit the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water making sure the base does not touch the surface of the water. As soon as the chocolate has melted, take off the heat and beat in 25g of the butter with a wooden spoon until smooth. Repeat with 300g of milk chocolate (check after 3 minutes in the microwave) and the remaining butter.
  3. Remove the vanilla pod from the cream (you can rinse, dry and add this to caster sugar for homemade vanilla sugar). Measure half the cream into each bowl of chocolate mixture and stir in thoroughly. Add brandy to the dark chocolate mix and Frangelico to the milk chocolate.
  4. Pour each bowl into a separate shallow tray lined with greaseproof paper or baking parchment (a square cake tin is ideal). Leave to chill in the fridge overnight. Alternatively you can pour each mixture into freezer proof containers and freeze for a month or two.
  5. Put the cocoa or cacao powder in a shallow dish. If you are in a warm climate, like Dubai, whack your air conditioning up high. Shape the dark chocolate mixture into balls and roll in the cocoa. Chop or grate the remaining dark chocolate into small fragments. Shape the milk chocolate mixture as before and roll in the grated chocolate. Place them on greaseproof lined trays and chill for about 8 hours (or overnight). If you are in a cold climate, remove from the fridge for an hour before serving so they soften slightly. If giving as a gift in Dubai, I would put the finished truffles in the freezer and transport in a cool box to the recipient.

Variation: Replace the brandy with Disarrono and roll the truffles in ground almonds. You could also leave out the alcohol and add a few drops of real almond essence (don’t overdo it).

*Good quality chocolate is expensive but don’t be tempted to skimp. Read the labels for the cocoa solid content (the higher the figure the better it is). Go for 85% Lindt (or more) if you like a really rich, dark taste. Good quality supermarket own brands can be cost effective – I use Carrefour or Waitrose when needing a lot of chocolate. Lindt is not very much more in price and far superior – especially for the milk chocolate. And I repeat – cooking chocolate is an aberration and never to be used….never, ever.

Pretty jars from Bonne Maman on My Custard Pie

You could put your truffles in jars like this pretty idea from Bonne Maman

For more sweet inspiration to give as gifts or serve up as Christmas treats try Neapolitan Marzipan Chocolates (on Fab Food 4 All), Chocolate Hazelnut and Raspberry fondants (Franglais Kitchen), Cardamom-flavoured Cranberry Christmas cookies (Fuss Free Cooking) and White Christmas fudge (The Hedonista). Chef and Steward has a great idea for an edible present here too.

Is there a festive ritual from your childhood that you remember?

37 Comments
  1. December 6, 2014 8:03 pm

    I love the story about your Polish aunt and uncle and what a great gift these truffles will make. Lucky friends!

  2. December 6, 2014 9:23 pm

    I totally agree, Sally. Homemade truffles are almost always far superior to bought ones (unless from a very good chocolatier perhaps), and quite fun to make. I always make the biggest mess, but that’s probably just me! I’m not a chocolate person either but I make exceptions for homemade, bite-sized truffles.

  3. December 6, 2014 9:25 pm

    How wonderful growing up with such a wealth of traditions! We had Nikolaus filling our boots this morning, which we left near the chimney, a nod to local customs πŸ˜‰ In Germany, they are placed outside the door.
    I love your truffles – when I worked in a bank in Germany we were given food vouchers for lunch; I saved mine up and on the last day of the month would exchange them for a whole bag of hand-made truffles from the local patisserie (who happened to be in the scheme). My family would be sitting at home, a right welcome committee, for the bag πŸ˜‰

  4. Sanderella's Crochet permalink
    December 6, 2014 10:13 pm

    I need to try these!! The recipe is fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

  5. December 6, 2014 11:46 pm

    Lovely Sally! I’ve taken to cutting mine into cubes – much less messy than rolling, but I do wonder if they can still be called “truffles” then. πŸ™‚

    • December 7, 2014 9:23 am

      That’s such a good idea. I need all the shortcut tips I can get before Christmas.

  6. December 7, 2014 12:21 am

    I love homemade chocolate truffles! I’ve never heard of frangelico but it sounds like a GREAT addition!

  7. December 7, 2014 1:21 am

    Oh wow! Your chocolate truffles with Frangelico look gorgeous.

  8. December 7, 2014 2:29 am

    Compounded chocolate has no place in my kitchen either! Your photos are beautifully tempting Sally, as are silky smooth rich home made truffles. I love simple traditions, those that hark back to our roots. Do you continue with Saint Nicholas sweet giving?

  9. December 7, 2014 3:58 am

    These truffles sound so creamy and decadent. They make wonderful gifts too.

  10. December 7, 2014 4:12 am

    Your truffles look simply beautiful. Love making these but think I probably prefer receiving them!

  11. December 7, 2014 5:15 am

    Those truffles must taste amazingly good! I love the idea of putting fudge in jars. I will have to remember to do that this year…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  12. December 7, 2014 9:12 am

    A very lovely story about your aunt and uncle! Perfectly made homemade truffles apt for this festive/ party season.

  13. therealgeordiearmani permalink
    December 7, 2014 9:44 am

    Recently I have been using Marks and Spencers chocolate for chocolate cakes, I really should get a bit more creative in the kitchen though. These look fabulous!

  14. December 7, 2014 11:27 am

    Your aunt and uncle sounds like special people and I adore your truffles.
    Have a wonderful week ahead Sally.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy xo

  15. December 7, 2014 2:51 pm

    These would make lovely gifts and mhmm they look and sound so good I am going to cheat and make some for myself too πŸ˜€

  16. December 7, 2014 3:07 pm

    Ha – I love your warning! Homemade truffles are the best. gift. ever.

  17. December 7, 2014 3:34 pm

    Nothing beats homemade, you can adjust the flavours to suit and of course there’s something lovely about giving you made yourself.

  18. December 7, 2014 9:10 pm

    Very good idea it looks great !
    Please can you check our blog and post comments, it’s for a school project, thank you.

  19. December 7, 2014 10:54 pm

    Congratulations on your Peace and Harmony Award.

  20. December 7, 2014 11:56 pm

    Gorgeous truffles Sally, one of my all time favourite ways to eat chocolate:-) Thanks for including my recipe:-)

  21. December 8, 2014 12:09 am

    I am going to make these for my Christmas Cookie Swap! Hope they come out as yummy as your’s. Thank you for sharing!

  22. December 8, 2014 12:16 am

    Oh I wish I had embarked on these this afternoon and not Macarons!

  23. December 8, 2014 9:37 am

    These look so tasty – have you tried the new 90% Lindt dark? It tastes completely different from the 85% and would work so well in this recipe…..

  24. December 8, 2014 10:37 am

    I so wish I could have a few of these right now! Nothing compares to properly made truffles with decent chocolate πŸ™‚

  25. December 8, 2014 12:49 pm

    I am with you on the non-chocoholic front; I struggle to eat chocolate and I have tried it a dozen times. The only ones I came close to loving are the artisanal handmade chocolates that I bought from a little shop in London on a corner street of Brick Lane, called Dark Sugars. This recipe looks like its for me. Will try it and let you know πŸ™‚

  26. December 9, 2014 3:21 am

    I think I will try this – how long in advance can I make them? I mean how long do they keep?
    Will make a good secret Santa gift!

  27. December 9, 2014 10:21 am

    gorgeous! these are so good for holiday entertaining/gifts. I am with you on not being a chocolate worshipper, give me lemon curd & fresh raspberries over chocolate any day!

  28. December 9, 2014 3:37 pm

    I don’t know about a “ritual” but we used to make chocolates every Christmas too. Though in the height of summer in Australia we convinced ourselves we had to eat them quickly, otherwise they would melt πŸ˜‰

  29. December 10, 2014 1:46 am

    I agree with the chocolate note. I will take that as the eleventh commandment!

    • December 11, 2014 5:58 pm

      I wish it was banished from the shelves!!

      • December 11, 2014 6:06 pm

        Haha. Food dictator. They need to make good chocolate with affordable prices

  30. December 10, 2014 4:59 pm

    Hi Sally, you are so right, this all depends on the quality of the chocolate you use as there is nowhere to hide with these truffles. I love making them and of course eating them. Your photos do make me want to get truffle making again this year, they also freeze well too I have found!

    • December 11, 2014 5:58 pm

      I think the freezing element might be very useful in this climate Laura

  31. December 11, 2014 7:11 pm

    Thanks for sharing our homemade vanilla, Sally! You know how crazy we are about homemade food gifts πŸ™‚

  32. December 13, 2014 11:48 pm

    *drool*

  33. December 26, 2014 9:41 pm

    Chocolate truffles are the perfect Christmas treat. These look delicious!

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