Chocolate Truffles…. Yum Yum Yum!

Since Easter is fast approaching and some of us are probably at that age when we really are too old for Easter eggs (Never!! I refuse to grow up!) I thought I would share my recipe for chocolate truffles. I really is the easiest recipe ever and very versatile too. Beautifully boxed, they make the most well received gifts.

There are two varieties of truffles shown above, dark chocolate and orange rolled in icing sugar and milk chocolate rolled in vermicelli and chocolate flakes. Both were made by tweaking the same recipe.

Basic Ingredients:

150g good quality milk or dark chocolate

150ml double cream

25g butter.

Basic Method:

  1. Place broken up chocolate pieces into a food processor and pulse until the chocolate resembles rumble. A couple of blasts should do it.
  2. Bring the cream and butter to a boil then carefully pour it through the liquid funnel of the food processor whilst the machine is running. BE CAREFUL!
  3. Transfer the truffle mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (milk chocolate truffles often require leaving overnight)
  4. Remove from the fridge and form into small balls. It should make approximately 24 truffles.
  5. Roll in your chosen coating.

Flavour variations to the truffle mixture:

  • add 0.5 tsp orange oil or the grated zest of half an orange
  • add 1 tsp of espresso powder
  • add 0.5tsp peppermint oil
  • add 1 tsp chai tea powder
  • add 1 tbs of alcohol or liqueur e.g. whiskey, rum, brandy, Cointreau, Drambaui

Coating variation

  • icing sugar (simple but effective)
  • melted chocolate (make sure your truffle mixture is very cold before you coat them)
  • vermicelli
  • Toasted chopped nuts
  • Edible gold leaf (very decadent!)

  As I said this is a very simple, versatile recipe. I have only discussed milk and dark chocolate because I am not sure how well white chocolate will work in this recipe. I know when I have made white chocolate ganache in the past it can be temperamental so I have tended to steer clear of using it. If you can get it to work please let me know.

Hope you have fun experimenting!

Let me know how you get on!

Ali x

A little drop of the black stuff! – Guinness Cake!

My intention with my blog has always been to have some kind of theme or relevance to the time of year. So with St Patrick’s Day fast approaching I was wracking my brain for culinary treats with a celtic edge.  All I could think of was soda bread and colcannon.  So I asked myself what to I think of when I think of Ireland and St Paddy’s day? The answer was drinking far too much Guinness and being thrown around the dance floor in Flanagan’s Irish pub in Liverpool when I was a student! I’ll say no more for fear that my son may read this!

I vaguely remembered reading a recipe for a cake using stout so ploughed through my trusty recipe books and stumbled across Green & Black’s Chocolate Recipe book (the unwrapped version).  This cake is not overly sweet and not particularly chocolately for all the large amount of cocoa and dark chocolate added. It does, however,  taste distinctly of Guinness!

As I have said I cannot take any credit for this recipe although I have altered the method slightly. I also added a mascarpone topping which not only looks aesthetically pleasing but also adds texture and a smoothness to the overall feel of the cake in the mouth.

 Ingredients

 225g softened butter

350g soft dark brown sugar

4 large eggs, beaten

225g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 bottle of Guinness (the recipe called for 400ml but I used a 300ml bottle and it was fine)

100g cocoa

150g dark chocolate, grated (I use chocolate drops so just blasted them in the food processor of a minute or two)

1 small tub of mascarpone cheese

2 tbsp icing sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Grease and line an 8 inch round deep cake tin.
  3. Pour the Guinness into a glass or jug and allow the head to settle
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  5. Gradually add in the beaten eggs
  6. Sift together the flour, raising agents and cocoa then stir in the grated chocolate
  7. Into the butter mixture add a little flour then Guinness
  8. Repeat until everything is combined.
  9. Turn into the prepared tin and bake for  1 – 1.5 hours. You may need to cover with foil partway through the cooking time to prevent the cake from browning.
  10. Allow to cool for 10 mins in the tin then turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
  11. Mix the mascarpone and icing sugar. DO NOT BEAT it as the mixture will become runny
  12. Cover the cake top with a mascarpone head!

 Happy St Patrick’s Day!

 

P.S. I have been reliably informed by my friend, Lal, that the following Nigella Recipe is very good too!

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/chocolate-guinness-cake-3086

 

Homemade Swiss Roll with jam and Chantilly Cream

My son has recently discovered a passion for, of all things, Swiss Roll. Unfortunately his idea of a treat is one of those cardboard, synthetic monstrosities that you can buy for 60p from any supermarket. I blame myself because he has been my guinea pig for so many cake recipes that he no longer sees homemade cakes as a treat. All that was about to change!

I didn’t intend to write this blog but having just made this cake, I felt it was too nice a recipe not to share.

Ingredients:

6 free range large eggs.

6 oz caster sugar

6 oz self rising flour (sifted)

Jam of your choice

1/2 pt double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp icing sugar

Method:

  1. Crack the eggs into a spotlessly clean food mixer bowl and whisk for 2 mins with the balloon whisk attachment. If you are doing this by hand, the bowl must be placed over a pan of boiling water.
  2. Add the caster sugar and continue to whisk until the mixture is very pale in colour and double in volume.
  3. Fold in the flour gently using a large metal spoon.
  4. Turn into a lined swiss roll tin and tilt the tin to ensure the mixture is evenly distributed.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degree C (180 degree fan oven) for 10-12 minutes or until golden and slightly firm to the touch.
  6. Turn out onto greaseproof paper dusted in caster sugar and gently peel off the lining paper.
  7. Trim away the edges, cover with another piece of greaseproof paper and roll up into the traditional swiss roll shape.
  8. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to cool completely.
  9. Whisk together the cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract until thick.
  10. Unroll the cake, spread a layer of your chosen jam and then the whipped cream.
  11. Reroll the cake using the paper to help you. Dust with icing sugar.
  12. Enjoy!!!

Variations:

  • Replace 1 oz of the flour with cocoa to produce a chocolate swiss roll
  • Use lemon curd instead of jam and leave out the cream
  • Replace jam with fresh fruit such as strawberries, raspberries or cherries.
  • Make the chocolate sponge as discussed above, fold melted chocolate into the whipped cream and replace the jam with mini marshmallows for a Rocky Road Swiss roll.

The variations are limited only by your imagination!