simple chocolate truffles.

shopping list.
♥ two 284ml pots of double cream,
♥ two 280g 70% dark chocolate bars (or perhaps a bit more if like me you eat chunks when you think noone is looking) 

♥ a pinch of salt
♥ a drop of vanilla extract
♥ nuts, chocolate, coconut, alcohol etc to decorate and flavour.

although not the ideal recipe for those new year's resolutions, these tasty treats make a thoughtful gift, an after dinner delight or even a fun idea for a date.

i came across the inspiration to make these for christmas presents, looked through various online recipes and sort of jigsawed them together. there was an online video i found which was rather helpful in showing me the consistency of the mixture, though unfortunately it casually forgot to inform me of the ingredients, let alone their measurements. my personal fave ended up being good old jamie oliver's, which i sort of doubled/swapped around.

i used flaked almonds, desiccated coconut, white chocolate and cocoa powder. use whatever you like. if it's cheaper, go for it, you can always crush/melt/play around with them to get the desired effect. i probably spent no more than a fiver on the whole lot.

note: many recipes suggest using unsalted butter. in my experience, this wasn't needed.

yes, i did forget to buy it and then spent about half an hour googling "can i use i can't believe it's not butter to make truffles?" after forgetting to buy it in the supermarket.

no, it didn't make them any less yummy.

so, to make the ganache, break up the dark chocolate and put it in a bowl, sat over a saucepan of boiling water, until melted. i found a pinch of salt took the edge off the bitterness and read that it brings out the chocolately, um, ness of the chocolate. this is also the part where you add vanilla extract or essence and if wanted you could add a drop of your favourite liqueur.

when melted, allow to coo
l to room temperature. leave the double cream out of the fridge for a bit too, the more the two reach the same temperature, the better.

next, slowly pour the cream into the melted chocolate bit by bit, at times using a hand blender. or if you've been eating your spinach, just stir it in yourself. just as long as you're quick so that the mixture get lots of air in them to make them as light as possible. don't worry we aren't talking aero quality.

the mixture should start to look a little like nutella, and probably not taste much different either. but, resist! put the mixture in the fridge for a few hours, i put mine in whilst at work but most recipes suggest four.

now the fun part. the ganache mixture may be a little hard. (unless, of course, you've been si
tting by the fridge waiting for it to look even slightly ready). do not panic, the mixture can be left out again until it gets a little softer.

get your nuts, cocoa powder etc all set up and ready to roll. literally.

i then got a teaspoon and scooped out little balls of the ganache. it 
doesn't have to be a perfect circle, it may even come out in chocolate flakes. once it is in your hand just roll it into a ball and the heat of your palms will make them into perfect spherical bites.

in between making the balls, it's a good idea to wash your hands with cold water as this prevents the ganache from sticking to your fingers.

for the toppings, i crushed some flaked almonds in a sandwich bag, which then gave a sort of ferraro rocher effect to my truffles. the coconut ones looked a little like snowballs and the cocoa powder ones looked the most classic.
yet they were rather bitter and i would consider using drinking chocolate powder in future.
if you're feeling brave, a white chocolate coating is a must. for these, i melted a small white chocolate bar in the same way i had for the dark chocolate in the ganache. i then let this cool. THIS IS IMPORTANT. if you get over excited and roll the chocolate balls in the warm white chocolate, the whole thing will melt.

this, however, can be used as a great tactic for eating the mixture early because you "ruined one."

at first i put the uncoated chocolate truffle on a fork and dipped it in the white chocolate in an attempt to be less messy. this soon become irrelevant and i came to the conclusion that my chocolates would be rustic, as can be seen in the pictures. these set really quickly aswell and give quite a pretty marble effect. i'm sure these could again then be rolled into/dipped in/throw at something. but i'll leave that to you.

and so i made probably about sixty chocolates in all from this mixture as i wanted them for family occasions over christmas and boxing day. again, i did tweak and double other recipes and
so likewise this could be halved if you didn't want to much. be warned, your hands/patience does start to ache after a while.

i can see why this would make a great date/dinner party activity as you get to pick you
r own flavour as you go along, rather than delving in a box of roses and crying when you find there are simply no green triangles left.

in all, the diy chocolate boxes went down really well, luckily i'd had my fair share whilst testing all the possible combinations in the making of.

well, it had to be done.

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