If you have left it too late, or have an unexpected guest arriving tomorrow here are some ideas for quick, easy sweet gifts that you can throw together. Or may be you have superpowers and somehow have some free time to whip together some sweets for the hoards about to descend. Either way, here are my favourite sweet recipes!
Tag Archives: sweets
These Chocolate Truffles need to come with a warning. You may make them as gifts but you will want to keep them!!!! They are so tasty! These Truffles consist of a silky smooth ganache in the centre and a crisp chocolate shell around the outside. They are also incredibly versatile, you can change the flavours up as easy as anything and you really can use any chocolate here, I’ve gone for a simple milk chocolate with either milk or white shells but so long as you grasp the underlying principles they you should be able to do just about anything with this!
What is important is to choose the best chocolate you can and get one with the simplest list of ingredients. You have more wiggle room for the ganache but for the outsides you do not want any weird ingredients at all, you want cocoa solids (or mass), cocoa butter, sugar and milk along with the regular stabiliser and vanilla if it’s white chocolate. That’s it. No vegetable fat, certainly no hazelnut paste! That stuff is a nightmare to try and work with. Working with chocolate doesn’t have to be complicated and you really don’t need any special equipment at all, just a few tricks!
The way to mix up the flavours is to maintain the ratio of chocolate to liquid. I’ve specified cream, and you probably want the majority of the liquid to remain cream, but you could use orange juice, jam, Baileys, Cointreau, etc! Just keep the liquid to half the quantity of chocolate and you’re safe. Then for the outsides you want just a little bit more than went into the insides. If you’re frugal you can do exactly the same but I’d rather this be easy for you so go a little over! You can scale the recipe up or down, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to work with less than 200g of chocolate as it’s much harder to maintain the temperature with a small amount.
That’s what working with chocolate is all about, manipulating the temperature. Chocolate behaves in certain ways at certain temperatures and we want to get it to exactly the right temperature to make it do what we want! Too hot or too cold and you run the risk of the chocolate blooming, forming white blobs and streaks, or just not setting for hours. If you get it right then your chocolate should set again, shiny and smooth in around 5 minutes at room temperature.
Makes ~40 truffles
300g milk chocolate
Making Your Ganache Filling:
– Weigh out your chocolate into a plastic bowl. Pyrex or similar retain the heat, which makes things hard, so work with plastic bowls if at all possible.
– Break it up into small chunks.
– Measure out the butter and cut it into small pieces, add to the chocolate.
– In a small saucepan measure out the cream and then bring to a boil. You want plenty of room in your pan as that cream is going to rise up considerably! Watch it like a hawk and when you get to the “Oh Shit!” point take it off the heat and pour straight over the chocolate and butter.
– Very gently poke the chocolate so that it is all below the level of the cream and gently wiggle it so that it works its way into the bottom of the bowl. DO NOT STIR YET!
– Leave the bowl to sit for a few minutes to allow all of the chocolate to soften.
– NOW you can stir it!
– To get all of the lumps out, gently work them against the side of the bowl with the back of the spoon and keep mixing until you have a silky smooth ganache.
– Pour the ganache into a piping bag ( or two if necessary, leave enough room to secure the end with a twist.
– Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes (up to 48 hours) to allow it to harden.
– Once they have chilled cover a baking tray with foil and snip the end off your piping bag leaving about a 1cm hole.
– Pipe out portions of your ganache into blobs, spacing them apart. They don’t have to be pretty at this stage, just about equal.
– Put the tray back in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.
– Once cool pick up each truffle and very quickly roughly shape into a round ball using the tips of your fingers. Don’t use your palms and work quick as the warmer your chocolate gets the messier and more slippery this gets!
– Place the truffle back down as soon as its done and move on to the next.
200g white chocolate
200g milk chocolate
Tempering Your Chocolate:
– Put your covering chocolate in a bowl (work on each kind of chocolate separately) and very gradually microwave it for 20 second intervals, stirring each time between. You want to stop heating your chocolate when it is about 80% melted, 20% lumpy. Then you simply work the lumps out by squishing them against the side of the bowl with the back of the spoon until it is all smooth. You do not want your chocolate to get too hot. In fact, if you touch a drop of melted chocolate to your lip it should feel cool!
– When you have all of your chocolate smooth it should still be liquid but not moving too fast. Our first test to see if it is the correct temperature (called tempered) is the ribbon test:
– Take a spoonful of chocolate and drizzle it over the bowl. The drizzled chocolate should stand proud on top of the melted chocolate in a ribbon. When you give the bowl a little shake it should disappear back into the smooth pool of melted chocolate.
– The second test is to take a cocktail stick or coffee stirrer and dip it in to the chocolate. Place it on the worksurface and check it in 5 minutes. It should be set solid without any streaks or spots. If it is still liquid, your chocolate is too hot, test it again. This test allows you to see how your chocolate is behaving and make sure that you are ready to work with it.
– If your chocolate starts to cool and isn’t very liquid anymore then give it another 20 second blast in the microwave to raise the heat a little and give it a good stir. Check again using the tests above each time you do this to ensure your chocolate is ok to work with.
Dipping Your Truffles:
– When you know your chocolate is tempered take a truffle, drop it into the chocolate and gently use a fork to scoop underneath it, move it about until it is fully coated and then scoop it out, allowing the excess chocolate to drain off. DO NOT STAB THE TRUFFLE, SCOOP IT!
– Gently tip the truffle back onto the tray.
– Apply any decorations you might like while the chocolate is wet.
– Repeat with each remaining truffle.
– By the time you are finished the first truffles should be set hard with a lovely shiny finish. Allow them all to stand until they are all hard.
– Simply pick them up and package them as gifts or set on a tray to serve to guests!
(I’m not going to lie, my chocolate was a little too cool to be working with here, hence the swirls, but it was late and I was in a hurry!)