The Best Chocolate Truffles

This is my take on a fabulous truffle recipe found in ‘The Good Housekeeping Complete Christmas’. Having tried many truffle recipes over the years, this has proven consistently to be the best. The truffles will keep in the fridge for about 3 weeks. They can also be made ahead and frozen. It’s fun to make several batches at once, with different fillings.

Basic Ingredients (makes about 20 truffles) • • • 225 g (8 oz) good quality chocolate (usually plain, but milk or white chocolate will give different effects) 75ml (3 fl oz) double cream 45 ml (3 tbsp) good quality spirit or liqueur (e.g. brandy or rum)

Coating Ingredients (Optional) • • For dipped truffles... you will need extra dark, milk and white chocolate For rolled truffles... you can use cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, chocolate flakes or vermicelli, ground Amoretti biscuits and edible gold leaf

1. Finely chop the chocolate using a heavy knife then put it into a heat-proof bowl. 2. Pour the cream over the chocolate

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The Best Chocolate Truffles

3. Stand the bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat gently until the chocolate begins to melt. 4. Be patient, stirring gently now and then to mix the chocolate and the cream. Do not let the mixture overheat – it should melt without becoming hot! 5. As soon as the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat and leave to cool for about 30 minutes (the mixture should thicken a little) 6. When it is cool, add 3 tablespoons of your chosen alcohol and stir in 7. Now beat the mixture with an electric whisk until it is thick, fluffy and paler in colour. It should be firm enough to stand in peaks. (If you find the mixture fails to thicken, stand it in the fridge for an extra 10 – 20 minutes and try again – it will thicken when cool enough). 8. Spoon the thickened mixture into a shallow dish or tin and refrigerate for a couple of hours, to set. 9. Now for the messy bit... you may need to wash your hands frequently during this stage. 10. When the mixture comes out of the fridge it will be quite firm. Scoop up a heaped teaspoon and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands (approx 1-inch ball) (Dusting your hands with cocoa powder helps to prevent melting.)

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The Best Chocolate Truffles
11. If you plan to roll your truffles in a dry coating, do so immediately, while the ball is soft and melting on the outside. (See ingredients for suggested coatings) 12. If you plan to dip some or all of your truffles in melted chocolate, lay the rolled balls onto a tray or a plastic container and freeze overnight. Chocolate-Dipped Truffles 13. Chop up several different types of chocolate and melt each batch separately (gently) in a bowl suspended over simmering water. 14. When the chocolate is melted, dip the frozen truffles quickly into the chocolate. 15. A good technique is to use a cocktail stick to hold the frozen truffle, and use a teaspoon to help spread the chocolate over the ball. The other end of the cocktail stick can be stuck into a potato half, to hold the truffle upright while it sets. 16. Refrigerate the coated truffles until the chocolate has set. 17. To decorate the truffles, drizzle fine lines of contrasting melted chocolate over them with a piping bag.

18. The truffles can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. If frozen, they defrost quickly at room temp. 19. Serve in petit four cases (if you have trouble getting these, a tin lined with vivid tissue paper looks just as nice).

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