OK, so it isn’t July anymore, but I still wanted to share these gorgeous truffles with you all. My brother, Luke, was going to a Christmas in July party last weekend and wanted to take a plate of goodies along. Remembering the truffles that I made as Christmas gifts for everyone last year, he asked me to help make some to take with him. I agreed, on the provision that I get to keep some for myself for all of my ‘hard work’.
Then came choosing the flavours! Last Christmas I made Eggnog (white chocolate with nutmeg and brandy), Walnut, Cherry, Coconut (with malibu liqueur, rolled in coconut), Peppermint (peppermint essence, rolled in crushed candy canes), Vanilla (rolled in hundreds and thousands) and gluten-free dark chocolate and orange ones especially for a girl at work who can’t tolerate gluten. The ones that were rolled in things were a different recipe that used cream cheese and instead of being coated in chocolate, they were rolled in their respective toppings. This time around, Luke and I stuck with the chocolate dipped kind and went with Cherry, Hazelnut and Macadamia as our flavours. I will post the cream cheese truffle recipe at a later date – probably at Christmas, so I can get some photos to go with it.
The great thing about truffles is that you can make whatever flavours you want, the sky really is the limit. Also, apart from a little bit of time, they really aren’t hard to make – but they look like they are, especially when they’re all grouped together. I mean you could go and buy a box of chocolates as a present, but this is much more thoughtful, and you can tailor the flavours to match your friends tastes, or just give them a selection of your wonderful creations.
So, for our truffles I used the Eggnog Truffle recipe that I got from the December 2005 Issue of Australian Good Taste magazine as a base recipe for our flavours.
Base Truffle Recipe (Makes approx. 30)
Melt together 360g chocolate & 1/3C thickened cream in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and return for 20 second bursts until it is completely melted and smooth. Add in 1Tbsp liquid flavouring (such as vanilla essence or brandy) and nuts &/or spices (see below for suggestions). Cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge for an hour to firm up.
Once firm, roll teaspoonfuls into balls and place on a baking paper lined tray. Return to the fridge for another 1-2 hours to firm again as the mixture will melt while in your hands.
Melt another 360g chocolate with 40g copha, the copha will help to keep the outer shell of chocolate softer and stop the chocolate from cracking as it sets. It isn’t completely necessary (it isn’t part of the original recipe), but I just like my truffles to be slightly softer and to have a professional look, rather than being cracked. You probably won’t use all of this chocolate, but you need it to be deep enough to dip the balls in. I’m sure you will find other uses for it though – like drinking it straight out of the bowl!! Or sprinkle it with any leftover toppings you have and set it in a big block… even better!
Using a skewer, pick up one ball at a time and dip in the melted chocolate, drain for a few seconds to remove extra chocolate – you just need a thin layer. Place back on the baking tray lined with baking paper and remove skewer. Sprinkle with crushed nuts or other topping to cover up the skewer hole. If you are just topping with spices, as with the eggnog truffles, use the tip of the skewer (or your finger) to cover up the hole with extra chocolate and then sprinkle with the spice.
Return to the fridge until set and serve.
Hazelnut Truffles (left) – Use milk chocolate for the inside and dip in dark chocolate. Flavour with hazelnut liqueur or vanilla essence and use 60g crushed hazelnuts in the mixture (you will need around the same amount again for the topping).
Macadamia Truffles (middle) – Use white chocolate for the inside and dip in milk chocolate. Flavour with vanilla essence and use 60g crushed macadamia nuts in the mixture (you will need around the same amount again for the topping).
Cherry Truffles (right) – Use dark chocolate for both the inside and outside. Flavour with cherry liqueur or vanilla essence and use 100g chopped red glace cherries in the mixture (you will need around the same amount again – halved instead of chopped – for the topping).
Eggnog Truffles (not pictured) – Use white chocolate for both the inside and outside. Flavour with brandy and use 1/2tsp ground nutmeg in the mixture. Top with extra ground nutmeg.
Remember, your flavour combinations are only limited by your imagination. Use whatever nuts, spices, fruit, liqueurs, etc that you like, or if you want to do plainer ones you can omit the flavourings, the recipe will still work that way too, but where is the fun in that??